How Vote-By-Mail Ballots Are Counted
Vote-by-mail ballots are counted in the same way as other ballots; only the advance processing is different.
When VBMs arrive in the Elections Office the signature on each envelope is checked to make sure that the person who signed the envelope is the same person who is registered. After the signatures are verified, the ballots (still in their envelopes) are sorted by precinct and stored until processing begins.
Ten business days before Election Day, we begin processing the VBMs. The ballots are removed from their envelopes and placed in precinct-specific bags ready for scanning.
The first vote counts that are announced on election night are the VBM ballots that were processed and scanned the week before Election Day.
Vote-by-mail ballots returned to polling places are not included in the election night results because they must processed before they can be scanned and counted. Before we process these ballots, we first verify that the voters who submitted them did not also vote at a polling place in Yolo County.
These votes are tallied and the totals reported when everything has been checked. This process is usually finished several weeks after the election.