Decision 2020

What Happens After You Mail a Ballot? See Inside LA County's Giant Processing Center

Live cameras provide a look inside Los Angeles County's ballot processing center, which was temporarily relocated to an enormous building at the Fairplex in Pomona.

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What to Know

  • The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder relocated its ballot processing center from its headquarters in Norwalk to a hangar at the Fairplex in Pomona.
  • The spacious building allows workers to social distance as they process a record number of mail-in ballots for the Nov. 3 election.
  • Ballots and signatures are verified at the center, allowing for an expedited tabulation on election night.

Inside a spacious hangar at the Fairplex in Pomona, workers wearing gloves and masks carefully sort through boxes holding stacks of envelopes containing election ballots.

The process is a familiar one that plays out in every election, but the cavernous setting and health safety precautions are pure 2020.

Want to take a live look inside the processing center? Click the play button on the video below.

In the weeks leading up to the Nov. 3 election, mail-in ballots have been arriving at a record pace in Los Angeles County and throughout the country. Los Angeles County moved its ballot processing center from its elections headquarters in Norwalk to the Fairplex in Pomona -- site of the LA County Fair, which was cancelled this year -- to handle the dramatic increase in early voting via mail-in ballots and provide for social distancing among election workers. 

Photos: See Inside LA County's Vast Election Ballot Processing Center at the Fairplex in Pomona

The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder also provides live cameras with views of ballot transport, the ballot inspection room, the tally room and main entrance.

After arriving at the processing center, the ballots are sorted. Signatures and ballots are verified, allowing for an expedited tabulation on Nov. 3 along with ballots cast on Election Day.

Ballot tabulation begins when polls close on Election Day. The ballot count doesn’t end on election night, but continues during a 30-day period called the Official Election Canvass. 

Results must be complete and certified by county elections officials within 30 days.

County elections offices were ordered by the state to send mail-in ballots to every registered and active voter in California due to the coronavirus pandemic. Voters can still cast ballots in person at vote centers, mobile pop-up voting stations and drop boxes.

The sweeping order was a first, but voting by mail is nothing new to many Californians.

More than 72 percent of California voters cast vote-by-mail ballots in the March 3 primary election, which was before the state's first-in-the-nation stay-home order. In the 2016 General Election, 69 percent of California voters cast mail-in ballots, a 12-percentage point increase from the 2010 election.

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