Remote Accessible Vote-by-Mail System

Remote Accesible Voting

 

A remote accessible vote-by-mail system is a ballot delivery option that allows voters with disabilities to access their ballot using any computer with internet access. Voters can use their assistive devices to read and mark the ballot outside of a polling place, and then print and return it to the Department of Elections. Watch this video for more information.

If you are already a vote-by-mail voter, you can access the system beginning October 9 through the ballot portal.

To apply for a vote-by-mail status, use the online vote-by-mail application or call (415) 554-4375 or TTY: (415) 554-4386.

Remote Accessible Vote-by-Mail System: What How When

What

Voters with disabilities can access and mark a ballot in a screen-readable format from any computer with internet access. Marked ballots must be printed and returned to the Department of Elections by mail or in person. To ensure the privacy of the voters’ selections, the remote accessible vote-by-mail system does not store or transmit the voters’ selections over the internet.

How

You must be registered as a vote-by-mail voter to access your ballot through the Remote Accessible Vote-by-Mail System. If you are not already a vote-by-mail voter, apply by October 30 by using the online vote-by-mail application or call (415) 554-4375 or
TTY: (415) 554-4386.

When

You may access your ballot between Tuesday, October 9 and Election Day, Tuesday, November 6 (until 8 p.m.) through the ballot portal.

We're here to assist!

Telephone: (415) 554-4375 or (866) 325-9163 toll free, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
TTY: (415) 554-4386, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In person: City Hall, Room 48, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Email: sfvote@sfgov.org

Frequently Asked Questions on Remote Accessible Vote-by-Mail System

  1. What is a remote accessible vote-by-mail system?
  2. Who is eligible to use a remote accessible vote-by-mail system?
  3. Which web browsers and screen readers can I use with a remote accessible vote-by-mail system?
  4. When will a remote accessible vote-by-mail system be available?
  5. Will I still receive my vote-by-mail ballot packet in the mail although I want to use the remote accessible vote-by-mail system?
  6. How do I access my ballot through the remote accessible vote-by-mail system?
  7. How do I return my ballot?
  8. When is the deadline to return the ballot for the November 6 election?
  9. How will the Department of Elections process my ballot?
  10. Is the remote accessible vote-by-mail system secure?
  11. Does the remote accessible vote-by-mail system identify and/or keep track of users of the system?
  12. What if I have questions or need help?
  1. What is a remote accessible vote-by-mail system?
    A remote accessible vote-by-mail system is a ballot delivery option that allows voters with disabilities to access their ballot using any computer with internet access. This system also provides the opportunity for voters with disabilities to use their assistive devices to read and mark the ballot outside of a polling place, and then print and return it to the Department of Elections. To ensure the privacy of the voters’ selections, the remote accessible vote-by-mail system does not store or transmit the voters’ selections over the internet.
     
  2. Who is eligible to use a remote accessible vote-by-mail system?
    Voters with disabilities who are registered as vote-by-mail voters are eligible to use a remote accessible vote-by-mail system. Voters must have access to the internet and a printer to mark, print, and then return their ballot to the Department of Elections for counting.

    To register as a vote-by-mail voter, complete a vote-by-mail application.
     
  3. Which web browsers and screen readers can I use with a remote accessible vote-by-mail system?
    A remote accessible vote-by-mail system is recommended for use with the screen reader and browser combinations listed below.
    Operating System Browser Screen Reader
    Windows 10 Edge 14+ Windows Narrator
    Windows 10 Internet Explorer 11 JAWS 16+,
    Windows Narrator
    Windows 10 Firefox 56+ JAWS 16+, NVDA 2017+
    Windows 10 Chrome 61+ Not Supported
    Windows 8.1 Internet Explorer 11 JAWS 16+,
    Windows Narrator
    Windows 8.1 Firefox 56+ NVDA 2017+
    Windows 8.1 Chrome 61+ Not Supported
    MacOS High Sierra Safari VoiceOver
    MacOS Sierra Safari VoiceOver
    MacOS El Capitan Safari VoiceOver

     
  4. When will a remote accessible vote-by-mail system be available?
    Ballots will be accessible through this system during the early voting period, Tuesday, October 9, through Election Day, Tuesday, November 6.
     
  5. Will I still receive my vote-by-mail ballot packet in the mail although I want to use the remote accessible vote-by-mail system?
    Yes. As in the previous elections, all vote-by-mail voters will receive a packet in the mail that includes a paper ballot, a postage-paid return envelope, and voting instructions. Voters with disabilities have the option to use the remote accessible vote-by-mail system to access and mark their ballot using any computer with internet access and their own assistive technology.
     
  6. How do I access my ballot through the remote accessible vote-by-mail system?
    To access your ballot, you need to be registered as a vote-by-mail voter. Beginning Tuesday, October 9, you may use the portal to access your ballot. You will need to affirm your eligibility and input your house number and ZIP code associated with your residence address in San Francisco, as last registered to vote, and birth date.
     
  7. How do I return my ballot?
    After marking your ballot, you will need to print and return it to the Department of Elections, either by mail or in person, for counting.
    1. How to mail your ballot using a Department of Elections postage-paid return envelope
      1. Print your marked ballot.
      2. Place your marked ballot into the Department of Elections return envelope that you received in the mail.
      3. Sign the envelope. The holes on the return envelope indicate the edges of the signature section where you can sign.
      4. Note that for your ballot to be counted, your signature on the envelope must compare to the signature in your voter registration record. If you are unable to sign, make your “mark” and have a witness sign it.
      5. Seal and mail the envelope.
    2. How to mail your ballot using your own envelope
      1. Print your marked ballot.
      2. Download and print the Oath of Voter available through the remote accessible vote-by-mail system.
      3. Complete and sign the Oath of Voter. Note that your voted ballot—if you send it in your own envelope—cannot be counted unless the Oath of Voter is completed, signed and sent with the ballot. The Oath of Voter allows the Department of Elections to locate your voter registration record and conduct signature comparison required under state election law. In order to count your ballot, your signature on the Oath of Voter must compare to the signature in your voter registration record. If you are unable to sign, make your “mark” and have a witness sign it.
      4. Place both the Oath of Voter and your marked ballot into your envelope.
      5. Seal the envelope.
      6. Add postage to the envelope.
      7. Address and mail the envelope to:
          Department of Elections,
          (Vote-by-Mail Ballot Enclosed)
          1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place,
          Room 48, San Francisco, CA 94102
    3. How to return your ballot in person
      You can also return your marked ballot in person. Follow the same steps as mailing your ballot but instead of mailing, bring the envelope to the City Hall Voting Center.
      Voting Center is open Tuesday, October 9 through Election Day, Tuesday, November 6, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during weekdays, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during two weekends prior to Election Day, Tuesday, November 6.
      You may also bring the envelope to the drop-off stations located outside City Hall during the four days prior to Election Day or to any California polling place on Election Day, Tuesday, November 6, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
      If you are unable to return your ballot, you may authorize anyone to return your ballot by providing the required information on the back of your vote-by-mail return envelope.
  8. When is the deadline to return the ballot for the November 6 election?
    Ballots that are mailed must be postmarked or date stamped, before or on Election Day, Tuesday, November 6, and received by the Department of Elections no later than Friday, November 9, 2018. Ballots that are returned in person must be received by the Department of Elections no later than 8 p.m. Pacific Time on Election Day, Tuesday, November 6.
     
  9. How will the Department of Elections process my ballot?
    When the Department of Elections receives your ballot, your selections will be transferred (duplicated) onto a paper ballot for tabulation by the voting equipment, as required by state election law. During this process, to preserve the secrecy of the votes, the Department of Elections will remove and separate the ballot from the return envelope that has your name, address, and signature.
    The Department of Elections follows the duplication process authorized by state election law. To ensure the accuracy and integrity of the duplication process, multi-person teams handle both the transfer of votes and the subsequent quality-assurance comparison of each original and duplicated ballot. This process is open to public observation and live-streamed on the Department’s website to allow transparency.
     
  10. Is the remote accessible vote-by-mail system secure?
    Yes. The remote accessible vote-by-mail system provided by the Department of Elections through Democracy Live has been certified by the California Secretary of State for use in California. In accordance with certification, the portion of the process during which a voter marks selections on the ballot does not at any time interact with any remote server. This ballot marking process takes place solely on the device the voter is using to access the remote accessible vote-by-mail system.

    Although the remote accessible vote-by-mail system allows voters to access and mark their ballots using any computer and their own assistive devices, the system does not allow electronic voting. The system does not store or transmit votes over the internet. Voters must print and return their ballots to the Department of Elections for counting.
     
  11. Does the remote accessible vote-by-mail system identify and/or keep track of users of the system?
    No. The remote accessible vote-by-mail system does not identify or keep track of users of the system. The remote accessible vote-by-mail system documents that a voter has affirmed that he or she is eligible to use the system and confirms that a voter is a vote-by-mail voter, but does not store or save any identifying information. In accordance with certification by the California Secretary of State, all voters using the system are required to acknowledge they are eligible to use it before accessing their ballots.
    The Department of Elections has opted to have voters log in through the Department’s voter look-up site to access their ballot; as such, the voter-identifying information will be neither shared with nor communicated to any outside party.
     
  12. What if I have questions or need help?
    If you have any questions about the remote accessible vote-by-mail system or accessing, marking, or returning your ballot, contact the Department of Elections:
    1. Telephone: (415) 554-4375 or (866) 325-9163 toll free, 8 a.m. through 5 p.m.
    2. TTY: (415) 554-4386, 8 a.m. through 5 p.m.
    3. In person: City Hall, Room 48, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. through 5 p.m
    4. Email: sfvote@sfgov.org
    5. Website: sfelections.org