The General Election for 2022 will be conducted on Tuesday November 8th. In many years past, voters went to their local polling places to vote on Election Day. Today, however, most voters vote by mail. Things have changed over the years but understanding these changes may require a little guidance.
The following explanations are taken largely from:
VOTE ON ELECTION DAY
- Election Day is an exciting opportunity for your voice to be heard through your vote.
- To locate your designated polling place, use the MY VOTING INFORMATION tool or check the back cover of the Voter Information Guide mailed to you. The polls are open from 7AM until 8 PM.
WHAT TO EXPECT
- It helps to come prepared. Bring your Sample Ballot or Voter Information Guide to help you make your selections. Copies are also available at the polls and online.
- When you arrive, get in the line that corresponds to the first letter of your last name. When you get to the table, give your full name to the poll worker. Sign the roster to receive your ballot.
- Proceed to a voting booth and mark your ballot. When you finish, insert your ballot into the scanner. That’s it! Make sure to take your “I Voted” sticker and wear it proudly.
- If your name does not appear on the roster, you have the right to cast a provisional ballot.
- Provisional ballots are a safeguard to ensure all eligible voters are able to cast a ballot. You receive the same ballot, but instead of being counted immediately a ballot cast provisionally is put in an envelope and reviewed at our office to verify eligibility before being counted. Our office reviews 100% of provisional ballots cast.
- Your name may not appear on the roster for a number of reasons, but the most common reason is because you are not currently registered to vote in Contra Costa County.
- You can register on Election Day through the provisional process. Our office will use the information on the provisional envelope to register you and then count your ballot. There are two reasons your ballot would not be counted:
- you already cast a ballot in that election, or
- your envelope does not provide sufficient information to complete your registration.
- Approximately 85% of provisional ballots are found eligible and counted. Of those that were not eligible to be counted, the most common reason was that the voter was not a county resident.
- If you cast a provisional ballot, retain your provisional reference number to find out if your ballot was counted. Provisional ballot status will be updated and available 30-40 days after the election. If you have lost your receipt, please call (925) 335-7800 for assistance.
- Each polling place has an accessible ballot marking device with features to assist voters in reading and marking a ballot independently. Poll workers will assist you at your request and can also facilitate curbside voting.
- The ballot is trilingual in English, Spanish, and Chinese. Language tools in Korean, Tagalog, and Vietnamese are also available at polling places.
Ballots must be postmarked by Election Day or returned to a drop box before 8 PM on Election Day.
OFFICIAL BALLOT DROP BOXES
What is a ballot drop box?
- A ballot drop box is a secure drop box where voters can return their voted ballot. Voters can return their ballot to any box. Boxes are serviced by two deputized employees of the County Elections Office.
How often are ballots collected?
- Ballots are collected daily by a team of two employees. Each box can hold thousands of ballots. Ballots are sealed in secure containers during transport.
Is the box secure?
- The box weighs 500 pounds and is constructed from ¼” steel mounted on a heavy-duty steel post that is bolted into the ground with special security bolts. The design of the opening (snout) is narrow and the box contains internal baffles which will prevent tampering or retrieval of envelopes. Each box is inspected daily for damage or evidence of tampering.
When are drop boxes available?
- Drop boxes are opened 29 days before the election and will be available until 8 PM on Election Day.
How many drop boxes are there?
- The number of drop boxes varies by election. The locations of boxes in Richmond, San Pablo, El Cerrito and Kensington are:
- To make it easier to locate these boxes, photos of the boxes at each of those locations are below.
What are the hours of operation?
- Drop boxes are located outdoors and available 24/7.
VOTE BEFORE ELECTION DAY
- Not everyone can make it to the polls on Election Day, which is why you have the ability to vote early both in person and by mail.
VOTE EARLY BY MAIL
- Starting in 2022, every registered voter was automatically mailed a ballot. Voters can still choose to vote in-person at their polling place or a Regional Early
- Voting by mail gives you flexibility in casting and returning your ballot. It’s simple too. Ballots are mailed 29 days before Election Day along with voting instructions and information on how to return your ballot. Place your marked ballot in the return envelope and seal it. Be sure to sign the addressed return envelope. Without a signature the ballot cannot be counted.
RETURN YOUR BALLOT
- You have choices when returning your ballot. You can return your vote-by-mail ballot by:
- Mailing it prior to Election Day. The ballot must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received within 7 days of the election. (Election Code 3020)
- Delivering it to any of the ballot drop off locations.
- Dropping it off at any polling place within the county on Election Day.
DAMAGED OR LOST BALLOTS
- If your ballot is damaged or lost, email [email protected] or call (925) 335-7800 to request a replacement.
MISSING OR UNMATCHED SIGNATURES
- You will be notified if your return envelope is missing your signature or if the signature provided does not match the signature on file. You’ll be given a chance to provide or verify your signature so your ballot can be counted. Return the completed missing signature or unmatched signature statement form to our office via mail to PO Box 271 Martinez, CA 94553, by email to [email protected] or by fax to 925-335-7836.