Information for Those Who Plan to Vote at the Polls on Election Day, Tuesday, November 8

Department of Elections
City and County of San Francisco
John Arntz, Director

For Immediate Release
SAN FRANCISCO, Thursday, November 3, 2016 – The Department of Elections provides the following information to voters as they prepare to head to the polls on Election Day, Tuesday, November 8.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Any voter who is in line when the polls close at 8 p.m. is allowed to vote. There will likely be lines at many polling places at 8 p.m., and all poll workers have been trained to continue facilitating voting until all voters in line at 8 p.m. have voted.

Voting at the assigned polling place is important
Voters’ home addresses determine the content of their ballots. Therefore, it is important for voters to vote at their assigned polling place so that their ballot includes all candidates and contests for which they are eligible to vote. There are several ways for voters to check their polling place location: at, on the back cover of their Voter Information Pamphlet, or by calling (415) 554-4375.

The Official Ballot and other election information and assistance are available in English, Chinese, Spanish, and Filipino
Bilingual poll workers will be available to provide assistance in Chinese, Spanish, and Filipino at San Francisco polling places. Bilingual poll workers are easy to identify: voters can look for their name tags, which show the languages they speak.

All San Francisco ballots are bilingual, with content in English and another language: Chinese, Spanish, or Filipino. Voters who have provided a language preference to the Department will receive a ballot in English and that language. Voters who have not provided a language preference in advance can request a ballot in their language by asking a poll worker at their polling place.

In addition to official ballots in English, Chinese, Spanish, and Filipino, facsimile ballots in Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese will be available at every polling place. Facsimile ballots are exact copies of the official ballot with translated content, for voters to use as a reference.

Most California voters do not need to show identification to vote
In California, voters are not required to show identification when voting at the polls, except under certain circumstances. Only first-time voters who registered by mail without providing their California driver’s license, state identification number, or the last four digits of their Social Security number will be required to show identification; there are approximately 1,400 polling place voters in San Francisco who may be asked for identification, which is less than 1% of total poll voters. These voters will have an “ID-required” note printed in the Roster of Voters. Acceptable forms of identification include a utility bill or bank statement with the voter’s name and address or a photo ID such as a student ID card.

Some circumstances may require a voter to cast a provisional ballot
Occasionally, there are circumstances in which a person is not listed in the Roster of Voters for a precinct. Often, it is because the voter went to a different polling place from the one where he or she is assigned. In this situation, a poll worker will first offer to redirect the voter to his or her assigned polling place, based on the voter’s home address. However, if the voter declines redirection, the poll worker will issue a provisional ballot.

Anyone who believes that he or she is registered to vote and is at the correct polling place but whose name is not listed in the Roster is urged to call the Department of Elections immediately at (415) 554-4375.

There are other circumstances in which a voter will be issued a provisional ballot, such as when the Roster indicates that the voter was issued a vote-by-mail ballot but the voter is unable to surrender the ballot in exchange for a polling place ballot.  

After Election Day, Department staff will review all provisional ballots received from the polls. If a voter is determined to be eligible and has not cast another ballot, the provisional ballot will be counted. If the provisional ballot has the same contests as the ballots used in the voter’s assigned precinct, then all of his or her votes will be counted. If the voter casts a provisional ballot that has some different contests than the ballots used in the voter’s assigned precinct, he or she may not have been eligible to vote on all of the contests listed on the provisional ballot. In that case, the Department will count only the votes for the contests on which the voter was entitled to vote. Voters may check the status of their provisional ballots via the Provisional Ballot Status Lookup Tool on, by calling (415) 554-4375 or toll free (866) 325-9163, or visiting the Department’s office.

Voters are urged to contact the Department of Elections before or on Election Day with any questions or concerns
There will be nearly 3,000 volunteer poll workers manning the polling places and helping many people through the voting process on Election Day. With a high voter turnout expected, poll workers could find themselves especially busy this election. For that reason, voters with questions or concerns are urged to contact the Department as soon as possible so that staff can provide assistance while the polls are open and there is still the opportunity to vote. Telephone assistance is available in English, Chinese, Spanish, Filipino, and via interpreter in many other languages.



Department of Elections
City and County of San Francisco
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place,
City Hall, Room 48
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 554-4375

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