Presidential General Election Canvas, Ballot Tracking, & Ballot Marking

Presidential General Election Canvas, Ballot Tracking & Ballot Marking
Date: November 13, 2020
Contact: Cathy Darling Allen, Shasta County Clerk/Registrar of Voters, 530-225-5730

The November 3, 2020 Presidential General Election had unprecedented challenges, yet Shasta County saw over 80% voter turnout. The office received 14,447 vote by mail ballots on Election Day. Those ballots were processed before 11:00am on November 4, 2020, thanks to our new ballot sorter and dedicated staff.
Shasta County voters have increasingly favored voting by mail, but the ability to vote in person is highly valued by many in our community. The office thanks the poll workers and polling places that served the community, through a pandemic, to ensure that all voters had the ability to cast their ballot
The many options for casting a ballot during this election helped the community vote safe, but also posed unique challenges. The ballot tracking services, during this election, functioned differently depending on how a voter cast their ballot.
Shasta County is currently in the canvas period, certifying the election results. Please visit for updated Election Results, as of November 12, 2020. The next update will be on November 20, 2020.

The Canvas
The official canvasing period started November 5, 2020 and will end on November 30, 2020. This is when votes are counted, signatures from polling places are verified, and the elections office certifies the results of the election.

  • The 1% manual tally is a random sample of the voting precincts. Election staff manually count these ballots to ensure the tally equipment worked properly. View the live stream at
  • The polling place rosters signed on election day are reviewed, giving voters credit for voting and ensuring poll workers collected a signature for every ballot cast.
  • Voter registration is processed for over 2,000 provisional ballots received on Election Day. After the registration for these voters is verified, the elections office can determine if those ballots are counted in the finally tally.

Sharpie Use for Ballots
The voting equipment used at the polling places and for early voting includes both a ballot box and a scanner. This scanner takes an image of the voter’s ballot as it is tabulated. Shasta County provides Sharpie markers at the polling places because it is recommended by the voting system vendor. There have been many hours of testing done at both the federal and state levels to determine what works best with the voting system equipment. Not only do Sharpies dry faster, they also help ensure that officials can properly see the voter selection on the scanned image, if needed.
If you want to learn what it takes to get voting equipment certified for use in the State of California, please feel free to check out this information on the Secretary of State’s website.
Page 131 of the Dominion voting system use procedure manual lists recommendation to use the Sharpie.

Ballot Tracking
Ballot tracking was offered to all California voters during this election. Ultimately, the California Secretary of State decides how these notifications are administered. They contracted a third-party vendor, BallotTrax, to send voters notifications via email, SMS, and automated voice messages.
If you cast your ballot at the polling place on election day, BallotTrax will not reflect your current voting status. Ballots scanned into the voting machine on election day are tabulated as soon as they are scanned. These ballots are included in the election night result totals at Voter credit is applied, manually, by office staff during the canvass process. The office expects to balance and finalize this step on or before November 24, 2020.
Ballots returned in a sealed return envelope are run through a ballot sorter to verify voter signatures. When a signature is verified, the voter receives a message from BallotTrax indicating the ballot was accepted. The elections staff then opens the envelope and separates the ballot. Once a ballot is removed from the return envelope, it is then placed in a batch with other ballots to be scanned and tallied. Ballots do not have any identifying information on them (the California Constitution guarantees your right to a secret ballot). By law, Shasta County cannot, and does not, link the selections made by a voter to their voter profile.
If you want to confirm that your voter record was properly labeled as voted, please contact us after November 24, 2020 or check out your voter history on the California Secretary of State’s website
If you have questions or concerns about the messages you received or didn’t receive from BallotTrax, please contact the California Secretary of State at 800-345-8683 or visit their website