Santa Clara County certifies election results

Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — The Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters (ROV) has now certified the results of this year’s presidential general election. 

The final turnout this year totaled 863,964 ballots cast — representing 84.76 % of the 1,019,309 Santa Clara County registered voters.

“We are very excited to see record-breaking voter participation and applaud Santa Clara County voters for their participation in our democracy,” ROV’s Shannon Bushey said.

For months the ROV planned to implement the COVID-19 precautions and the Voter’s Choice Act voting model — sending a ballot to every county voter as voters chose to mail in their ballots, place them in a drop box, or vote in-person. 

To meet all the election requirements the ROV hired hundreds of additional employees — working as much as 12 hours a day, seven days a week. 

“It was a lot of effort, it takes a lot of months to put on an election any year and this presidential year along with the pandemic was a little harder but we did have to adjust and we were prepared for it,” Evelyn Mendez, Public and Legislative Affairs Manager for the ROV office said. 

“There is a lot of pressure but a lot of staff are seasoned election staff, they are familiar with the process and they’re familiar with what we need to do to check.”

The ROV officially certifies election results once the canvass of the vote is completed in the 30 days following an election. 

During the process all ballots collected by mail, paper and electronic ballots collected at the ROV, as well as at the Vote Centers are added to confirm the semi-official vote totals.

According to the ROV — a 1% manual tally is then conducted to confirm the accuracy of the machine-counted results. 

“Our voters made sure their voices were heard November 3rd,” Bushey said.

With results now certified — the ROV switches its focus on the two automatic recounts in the city of Mountain View and Los Altos Hills Council races — both falling within the threshold of the county’s policy triggering a mandatory second tally of votes. 

A manual recount is triggered by the County of Santa Clara Policy — when the margin of victory is either less than 0.25% of the ballots cast, or less than 25 votes. 

The ROV tells KRON4 News recounts are a complicated process requiring several stages — of the over 3,444,237 million ballot cards cast they will retrieve approximately 165,068 ballot cards across the two districts involved in the recounts. 

Once ballots are retrieved —  a hand tally is conducted of the nearly 115,336 votes cast in the contests involved — then individual tally sheets are created and compared with machine-counted results, a reconciliation of any difference between the hand and machine counts is performed before extensive final auditing is completed before release.

“It’s going to be a little rough but we’ve already had to certify the election, so we have to go in and we have to pull all the ballots for those two recount races,” Mendez said. “That’s happening starting on Monday, so our office pulled all the ballots already.”

All costs for the automatic recounts will be paid by the county. 

ROV staff will work on the recounts six days a week until both recounts have been completed which are expected to take a couple of weeks. 

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