Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Registrar of Voters
County of Santa Clara Agency Banner
Menu +

Election Observers

Published on: 4/14/2016 3:37 PM

Elections are a public process, and transparency is an important part of ensuring voters have confidence in the accuracy and integrity of the election results.

Below are some of the aspects of the elections election activities that are open for the public to observe. If you are interested in being an election observer, please e-mail

DRE Touch Screen Voting Machine Preparation and Testing (for ROV Office Voting only)

​This is the loading of election data and comprehensive election logic and accuracy testing that ensures that each machine is securely programmed and prepared properly. Testing is comprised of nineteen (19) major sequential steps to ensure the integrity of the vote counting on Election Day. Testing will occur approximately 1 month before Election Day. Contact the Registrar of Voters to confirm the actual dates for the next election.

Optical Scan Pre-LAT (Logic and Accuracy Testing)

The optical scan system is tested prior to each election by using a pre-marked set of test ballots. Ballots test the computer system's ability to detect over votes and account for under and invalid votes. Testing will take place approximately 1 month before Election Day. Contact the Registrar of Voters to confirm the actual dates for the next election.

Returned Vote by Mail Ballot Processing

In accordance with California Elections Code, the ROV will begin to open, process and count returned Vote by Mail Ballot Envelopes approximately 11 days before Election Day. Vote by Mail processing will continue after Election Day until all ballots received prior to 8:00 pm on Election Day are processed.

Polling Places

The public is allowed to observe the operation of the polling places on Election Day. The polls are open from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm.

Poll Watcher & Observer Guidelines

Ballot Counting & Canvass

Ballots cast at the polling places are counted on Election Night. The 28-day period following the election is called the Canvass, during which all outstanding ballots, such as Vote by Mail and Provisional Ballots, are processed and counted. The Canvass also includes a series of audits, such as a random 1% manual tally of ballots, to ensure the accuracy of the final certified election results.

More Information about Ballot Counting & the Canvass

Election Observer Guidelines​

Notice of Election Observer Opportunities​​​ - May 3, 2016 Special Mail Ballot Election​