Election Night is not "Official"
The vote counts recorded in the Live Election Night Returns area of this site are not final or official but represent what is known as the "Semi-Official Canvass".
California state law requires the fifty-eight California counties to begin counting ballots and reporting the results to the Secretary of State within two hours after the polls close. As these results are received and compiled, the Secretary of State's Office releases them to the press and other interested parties and posts them to this web site approximately every five minutes. This process continues throughout the night and into the next morning until the counting and reporting is substantially complete.
There are always several hundred thousand ballots that are not counted during the election night Semi-Official Canvass. This may be because they are:
- Bent or otherwise damaged and cannot be read by the card readers
- Absentee ballots turned in at the polls or election center on election day that must be verified before processing
- Provisional ballots cast by voters whose eligibility must be verified before their votes can be counted
The counties are not required by law to report these additional ballots to the Secretary of State during this period. Some counties do - others do not. Therefore, the Live Election Night Returns area does not reflect the final, official results of the election.
Official Statement of Vote
Ensuring the Integrity of Elections
The final, official returns for each election are published by the Secretary of State in a formal document called the "Statement of Vote".
Following the election night Semi-Official Canvass, county election officials must conduct a complete canvass of the ballots cast in their counties. Among the various measures taken to ensure the integrity of the election, this process includes:
For this election, the county officials are required to begin their canvass by November 4, complete it by December 1, and forward the certified results to the Secretary of State by December 8. The Statement of Vote for the California November 1998 General Election will then be published by the Secretary of State by December 12, 1998.
- manually recounting one percent of the ballots processed on election night,
- resolving and counting certain absentee ballots,
- resolving and counting provisional and damaged ballots, and
- reconciling the number of ballots issued with the number of ballots cast.
Documents Available Here
Printed copies of the "Statement of Vote" and the "Supplement to the Statement of Vote" may be obtained from the California Secretary of State Elections Division at:
- Live Election Night Returns
- The "Semi-Official Canvass" posted to this site on election night
- Summary of the
Statement of Vote
- Statewide totals in in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format. Extracted from the "Statement of Vote".
- Statement of Vote
- The full "Statement of Vote". Links to files in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format.
- Supplement to the
Statement of Vote
- Contains links to detailed vote counts by county, district and party.
1500 11th St., Fifth Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814-5701
Phone: (916) 657-2166
Fax: (916) 653-3214