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Registrar of Voters assures voters that ballots are secure

Maintaining cybersecurity and the integrity of elections is always a top priority. The Registrar of Voters has brought in state and federal agencies to evaluate our systems, including prior to this election. As a result, we have implemented stronger cybersecurity measures and continually evaluate and upgrade our systems.

Secure, accessible and locked ballot boxes are available to voters through 8 p.m. on Election Day. Mail ballot drop boxes will be bolted to concrete. Ballots will be picked up within 48 hours as required by State regulations.

Registrar of Voters staff and temporary staff (hired for each election) are responsible for counting mail-in ballots. All personnel handling this process must pass background checks and receive training.

At polling places, voters will be able to mark their choices on a paper ballot. Voters who cannot mark a paper ballot without assistance may use an accessible ballot marking device that will print the voter’s ballot after the voter makes their choices. Either way, all votes will be cast on paper ballots.

Some voters have asked the Registrar why Sharpie pens are being made available at polling places for marking ballots, expressing concern that a bleed-through pen would void a ballot. Our voting system vendor recommends the use of Sharpie pens and the ballots are readable and the votes are counted. That is because ballot scanners read marks in the oval voting target areas on the ballots. The ovals on one side of a ballot card do not align with the ovals on the other side of the card so the bleed through ink is not read by the ballot scanner.

The voting instructions on the ballots, in the County Voter Information Guide, and in the FAQ on our website all advise voters to mark their ballot with a blue or black pen. We do not specify a kind of pen.

If you have additional questions about the upcoming election, please visit or read answers to our frequently asked questions. You are also welcome to share our Communications Tool Kit.

5 thoughts on "Registrar of Voters assures voters that ballots are secure"

  1. Betty A Worthington says:

    When I log in to the “Where’s my ballot” website, it says that my ballot was received and WILL BE counted. How will I know when it actually IS counted?

    1. Your individual ballot is secret so you won’t be notified that it was counted. After the election is certified, the secretary of state will indicate that you voted in this election on their website if you go check your status there.

      1. Heather says:

        I turned in my mail in ballot and voted in person. How and when will I be able to know if my vote was counted in San Bernardino County?

        1. After the election is certified, you can check to see that your ballot was received. The envelope tracks your ballot, but the ballot itself is secret and does not carry a barcode on it to track. But after the election is certified you can check that your ballot was received by the Registrar on My Elections Gateway at

    2. Frederick E Grimm III says:

      Based on recent election uncertainties, San Bernardino County should:

      1. Require voter ID with proof of residency before entering a polling place
      2. Eliminate any and all electronic processes pertaining to the tally of votes. All votes should be hand counted by multiple objective observers that are under oath as we’ve done for many decades.
      3. Establish clear criteria for Mail In ballots that would require most voters to vote in person with a proper ID.

      San Bernardino County should never, under any circumstance, yield any election policy or rule making authority to a “voting system vendor”. Only sworn authorized County officials should establish election rules and procedures according to the law.

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