Explore Outreach Efforts
The Department of Elections provides information about elections and voting, and facilitates registration opportunities year-round. The Department continuously engages with San Francisco residents to help increase voter registration and engagement while improving voter readiness and the overall voting experience.
The goals of the Department’s outreach programs include:
- Increasing community access to election information and services, including those with limited English proficiency and special needs
- Attracting first-time voters, specifically those between the ages of 18 and 24
- Engaging voters from neighborhoods with historically low voter turnout
- Involving the public in observing the election processes
- Recruiting poll workers to assist voters on Election Day
The Department works to meet the goals of its outreach programs through several strategies that include networking with community organizations to leverage community expertise, and marketing through various media and technology platforms, including citywide mailers, the Voter Information Pamphlet, social media, newspapers, television, and radio.
To engage voters with disabilities, the Department leverages community connections with trusted groups including the Mayor’s Office of Disability, representatives of Disability Rights California (DRC), and members of the Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee (VAAC). To reach voters with limited English proficiency, the Department leverages community connections with various City departments and agencies, including the San Francisco Public Library (SFPL), the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
To engage other hard-to-reach communities and attract first-time voters, the Department collaborates with the San Francisco Youth Commission, the Department of Children, Youth, and Their Families, SFPL, and SFUSD. Further, the Department works closely with the Reentry Council to inform parole officers and jail employees of the voting rights of those who are currently or formerly incarcerated, and to distribute educational materials explaining voting rights for people who are on probation or off parole.
The Department strives to maintain an open and transparent process that increases the public’s confidence in San Francisco elections. Throughout the year and during every election, the Department hosts interested members of the public and provides many opportunities for observing the election processes. For more information about observable activities, visit the Observing the Process page.
To get involved with the Department’s outreach efforts, or for more information, contact us using our contact form, or call us at (415) 554-4375.
Schedule an Event with the Department of Elections
The Department of Elections is always seeking new opportunities to increase voter engagement. If you are interested in having a member of the Department of Elections Outreach team conduct a presentation or participate in your upcoming event, please use the Invite SF Elections to Your Event: Request Form or call us at (415) 554-4375. Once you submit your request, a member of the Outreach team will contact you to complete the booking.
Voter Education Presentations
Voter Education presentations provide nonpartisan information about key election dates and deadlines, important voting information including how to register to vote, how to mark a ballot, how to vote by mail or at the polls, and specific details about participating in an upcoming election. In accordance with language access requirements, all presentations and materials are available in English, Chinese, Spanish, and Filipino, and vary in content, which allows community organizations to request information aligned with the needs of their clientele.
Register to Vote
Learn about how to register to vote in San Francisco, how to complete a voter registration application, and what circumstances require you to re-register to vote.
What’s on the Ballot?
Find out about what candidates and contests will appear on the next ballot and how to mark your ballot to reflect your choice. You will also learn what to do if you make a mistake marking your ballot or need to request a replacement ballot.
Voting Equipment Demonstration, including Accessible Voting Machine Demonstration
Learn about accessible voting options in San Francisco, including touch-screen and audio ballots, which allow voters to cast their ballots privately and independently. Whether you are a first-time voter or someone who has always voted in San Francisco, voting equipment demonstrations can be helpful to ensure voters are prepared for Election Day.
How Candidates and Measures get on the Ballot
Learn about the process of running for office, including how to become a qualified candidate, and how candidate names appear on the ballot. Learn about the lifecycle of a ballot measure, including the types of ballot measures that can be submitted, and how a measure makes it on the ballot.
Information for First-Time Voters
To help cultivate an engaged and informed voting population, the Department’s Outreach team provides presentations to public and private high school students about becoming a poll worker and information for first time voters, such as registration basics and the importance of voting. At the end of the presentation, students receive Voter Registration Applications and students 16 years of age or older will have the opportunity to pre-register to vote.
Non-Citizen Voting in School Board Elections
Find out how eligible non-citizens can participate in school board elections. This presentation includes the sharing of an important notice with potential school board voters, eligibility requirements, details about how to register and request a ballot, where to get information about candidates, and how to mark selections on the ballot. Along with this presentation, the Department’s Outreach team will also distribute relevant materials, including registration applications, which feature an important notice and eligibility checklist, and a Guide to assist voters in navigating the registration and voting process.
The Department’s Outreach team regularly attends naturalization ceremonies to welcome new citizens to register to vote. If you are participating in a naturalization ceremony soon, keep an eye out for Department’s Voter Outreach staff. You can register to vote, learn about your options as a first-time voter and get answers to your questions.
Open House at the Department of Elections
Join Department staff at our San Francisco City Hall office to learn about voting in San Francisco. Take a tour of the Department and learn about important election processes and Department procedures. Contact the Department to learn more about upcoming Open House events. The Department welcomes the public to observe election related activities year-round.
Voter Information Booths
Throughout the year, members of the Department’s Outreach team are available to provide election information, help potential voters with registration, and answer election-related questions. Invite the Department of Elections Outreach team to host an information booth at your next street fair, neighborhood party, or community event.
Register to Vote
The Department’s Outreach team can provide registration assistance at your next event, including assistance with completing a voter registration application, applying to vote by mail, and keeping registration up-to-date.
What’s on the Ballot?
The Department’s Outreach team hosts information booths to help educate members of the community about the upcoming election, distribute marketing materials, and answer questions about voting options in San Francisco.
Be a Poll Worker
Every election, the Department recruits about 3,000 poll workers to assist with Election Day activities and help voters cast their ballots. The Department’s Outreach team conducts recruitment events in the community to encourage San Francisco residents to participate in Election Day. Poll workers help administer voting at the polls, while earning a stipend for their service. If you would like to help the Department recruit poll workers, we would be happy to host a Poll Worker information booth at your next event.
Voter Education Materials in Print and Video Format
To facilitate voter education and engagement, the Department creates voter education and election materials that are available in print format and digital format on sfelections.org for individuals and community members to display. If you are interested in obtaining voter education or election materials, please use the Outreach and educational materials request form or call us at (415) 554-4375.
The Department also offers information in different video formats--the 30-second “Be A Voter” Public Service Announcements, two- to five-minute educational videos, and a digitized outreach presentation. Videos shown during in-person presentations may also be available on sfelections.org.
Guide to Conducting Your Own Registration Drive
If you are interested in conducting a voter registration drive, you are encouraged to download the Department’s Voter Registration Drive Training Guide (PDF). This guide will help prepare you to register voters in San Francisco, includes the legal requirements for conducting a registration drive, as well as procedures for obtaining and returning Voter Registration Applications, and provides tips for how to ensure Voter Registration Applications are completed correctly.