Article 5. Manual Vote Count In The Precinct of California Elections Code >> Division 15. >> Chapter 3. >> Article 5.
This article applies to all elections in which ballots are
counted by hand.
As soon as the polls are finally closed, the precinct board
shall commence to count the votes by taking the ballots cast,
unopened, out of the box and counting them to ascertain whether the
number of ballots corresponds with the number of signatures on the
roster. The precinct board shall make a record upon the roster of the
number of ballots in the ballot box, the number of signatures on the
roster, and the difference, if any.
The count shall be public and shall be continued without
adjournment until completed and the result is declared. During the
reading and tallying, the ballot read and the tally sheet kept shall
be within the clear view of watchers.
Unless otherwise provided in this code, the precinct board
members may not constitute themselves into separate squads in an
attempt to conduct more than one count of the ballots at the same
The members of the precinct board may relieve each other in
the duties of counting ballots.
Those ballots not rejected shall be placed in one pile, and
the board shall proceed to count by tallying the vote for one or more
offices or measures at a time.
The precinct board members shall ascertain the number of
votes cast for each person and for and against each measure in the
One precinct board member shall read from the ballots. As the
ballots are read, at least one other precinct board member shall keep
watch of each vote so as to check on any possible error or omission
on the part of the officer reading or calling the ballot.
(a) Two of the precinct board members shall each keep a
tally sheet in a form prescribed by the elections official. Each
tally sheet shall contain all of the following:
(1) The name of each candidate being voted for and the specific
office for which each candidate is being voted. The offices shall be
in the same order as on the ballot.
(2) A list of each measure being voted upon.
(3) Sufficient space to permit the tallying of the full vote cast
for each candidate and for and against each measure.
(b) The precinct board members keeping the tally sheets shall
record opposite each name or measure, with pen or indelible pencil,
the number of votes by tallies as the name of each candidate or
measure voted upon is read aloud from the respective ballot.
(c) Immediately upon the completion of the tallies, the precinct
board members keeping the tally shall draw two heavy lines in ink or
indelible pencil from the last tally mark to the end of the line in
which the tallies terminate and initial that line. The total number
of votes counted for each candidate and for and against each measure
shall be recorded on the tally sheets in words and figures.
On completion of the canvass of the returns for each
election, the elections official shall compare the vote by mail
voters' list with the roster of voters in each precinct to determine
if any voter cast more than one ballot at that election.
No precinct board member may make any tally of votes in
any other manner than is provided in this article, nor in any place
other than on the tally sheets provided for that purpose.
The ballots, as soon as all of the names and measures marked
on them as voted for are read and tallied, shall not thereafter be
examined by any person, but, as soon as all are counted, shall be
carefully sealed in a strong envelope. The signatures of each member
of the precinct board shall be written across the seal.
The precinct board shall complete, sign, and return to the
elections official all furnished forms requiring its signatures.
When votes are counted at the precinct, all members of the
precinct board, upon the completion of their duties, shall sign the
following certificate of performance, which shall be substantially in
the following form:
Certificate of Performance
for ____ precinct, for the ____ election, held on the ____ day of
We hereby certify that the total number of votes received by each
candidate for each office and the total number of votes cast for and
against each measure is as indicated on the tally sheets.
We further certify that the results of votes cast forms posted
outside the polling place and transmitted to the county elections
official show the total number of votes received by each candidate
for each office and the total number of votes cast for and against
each measure is as indicated.
Assistant Inspector Clerk
The precinct board shall sign and post conspicuously on the
outside of the polling place a copy of the result of the votes cast.
The copy shall remain posted for at least 48 hours after the official
time fixed for the closing of the polls. To protect a person's right
to cast a secret ballot under Section 7 of Article II of the
California Constitution, in cases where fewer than 10 voters cast
ballots and the precinct board tallies the results at the precinct,
the precinct board shall post only the total number of people who
voted at the precinct.