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Voter at polls during presidential election, using paper ballots. (Photo: Rob Crandall/Shutterstock)

Retaining and Preserving California Election Records

Elections Code requires the elections official to preserve all canceled original affidavits of registration for a period of five years

By Chris Micheli, February 4, 2022 6:59 am

California’s Elections Code requires the retention and preservation of specified election records pursuant to Division 17. Chapter 1 deals with Affidavits of Registration and Voter Registration Indexes. Section 17000 requires the elections official to preserve all canceled original affidavits of registration for a period of five years, after which they may be destroyed.

Section 17001 requires the elections official to keep a copy of the roster on file as a public record for election, political research, and governmental purposes for a period of five years.

Chapter 2 deals with Nomination Documents. Section 17100 requires all nomination documents and signatures in lieu of filing fee petitions to be held by the officer with whom they are filed during the term of office for which they are filed and for four years after the expiration of the term. Public access to the documents is limited to viewing the documents only. The public may not copy or distribute copies of the documents that contain signatures of voters.

Chapter 3 deals with Initiative and Referendum Petitions. Section 17200 provides that elections officials are required by law to receive or file in their offices any initiative or referendum petition and preserve the petition until eight months after the certification of the results of the election.

Chapter 4 deals with Precinct Supplies and Ballots. Section 17300 requires the elections official to preserve all rosters or combined rosters and voter lists until five years after the date of the election, after which they may be destroyed by that official.

Section 17301 requires specific provisions to apply to those elections where candidates are for President, Vice President, United States Senator, and United States Representative. If a content is not commenced within a 22-month period, or if a criminal prosecution involving fraudulent use, marking or falsification of ballots, or forgery of vote by mail voters’ signatures is not commenced within a 22-month period, the elections official is required to have the ballots destroyed or recycled.

Section 17302 requires specific provisions to apply to all state or local elections. In addition, packages containing the ballots and identification envelopes must be kept by the elections official, unopened and unaltered, for six months from the date of the election.

In addition, if a contest is not commenced within the six-month period, or if a criminal prosecution involving fraudulent use, marking or falsification of ballots, or forgery of vote by mail voters’ signatures is not commenced within the six-month period, the elections official is required to have the packages destroyed or recycled.

Section 17303 specifies that specific provisions apply to those elections in which candidates for are voted upon: President, Vice President, United States Senator, and United States Representative. The elections official is required to preserve the package or packages containing specified items for a period of 22 months.

In addition, if a contest is not commenced within the 22-month period, or if a criminal prosecution involving fraudulent use, marking, or falsification of ballots, or forgery of vote by mail voters’ signatures is not commenced within the 22-month period, the elections official may have the packages destroyed or recycled.

Section 17304 specifies that specific provisions apply to all state or local elections not provided for. An election is not deemed a state or local election if votes for candidates for federal office may be cast on the same ballot as votes for candidates for state or local office. The election official must reserve the package or packages containing specified items for a period of six months.

In addition, if a contest is not commenced within the six-month period, or if a criminal prosecution involving fraudulent use, marking or falsification of ballots, or forgery of vote by mail voters’ signatures is not commenced within the six-month period, the elections official is required to have the packages destroyed or recycled.

Section 17305 specifies that certain provisions apply to those elections where candidates for one or more of the following offices are voted upon: President, Vice President, United States Senator, and United States Representative. All ballot cards must be kept by the elections official for 22 months from the date of the election or so long thereafter as any contest involving the vote at the election remains undetermined.

Chapter 5 deals with Recall Petitions. Section 17400 requires the elections official or, in the case of the recall of a state officer, the Secretary of State, to preserve in his or her office all recall petitions filed for eight months after the results of the election for which the petition qualified or, if no election is held, eight months after the elections official’s final examination of the petition.

Section 17400 requires the elections official or, in the case of the recall of a state officer, the Secretary of State, to preserve in that person’s office all recall petitions filed for eight months after the results of the election for which the petition qualified or, if no election is held, eight months after the elections official’s final examination of the petition.

Chapter 6 deals with Miscellaneous Provisions. Section 17501 requires, following each general election, the county elections official to file copies of all precinct maps with the Secretary of State. If there is no change in the precinct maps from those maps that are currently on file, the elections official may submit a written statement informing the Secretary of State of that fact.

Section 17506 requires the elections official to preserve the list of new resident voters voting for 22 months from the date of the election.

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2 thoughts on “Retaining and Preserving California Election Records

  1. RUH ROH!!! Better watch this one closely!!! Dominion’s “Trusted Build” supposedly WIPES THE HISTORY files – see Griswold, Jenna (Colorado Secretary of State) who’s under fire for her prosecution of those County Clerks that made backup copies of these records before our friends at DVS came in with their (ironically named, but hey, what do you expect from a company with that name?) “Trusted Build” updates….

    Go to the CA Secretary of State website and look into the PDF’s that are stored there from the user-acceptance security testing performed by a Wheat Ridge, CO consultancy – they disclose in detail the “security exploits” that are baked into these systems, requiring (paraphrasing) honest operators and procedural training to prevent mis-counting during adjudication and tabulation of votes & transfer to the central tabulation count….

    These systems have security holes big enough to drive trucks through, which is why Texas PASSED on them, and California, Colorado and a bunch of other blue states SNAPPED em up to enable their mismanagement of vote tabulation and reporting…

    They never should have been purchased in the first place… this was Powell & Giulani’s tactical mistake – they should have sued the SOS’s, not the company itself… they just built the platform with the trap-doors, it’s the USERS that ABUSE the features that stole the 2020 election….

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