Vote by Mail

Person dropping a completed vote-by-mail ballot into a postal service mailbox

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: On June 18, 2020, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 860, which requires California counties to mail ballots to all registered voters for the November 3, 2020, Consolidated General Election and permits all voters to use a remote accessible vote-by-mail (AVBM) system to access their ballots.

Accordingly, the Department of Elections will mail ballot packets and open its AVBM System to all registered San Francisco voters starting 29 days before the November 3 election.

This means the vast majority of voters will not need to take any action to receive a ballot in the upcoming election and any registered voter may vote using a vote-by-mail ballot instead of going to the polls on Election Day.

If you want to learn more about voting by mail, we invite you to explore this page and to contact the Department of Elections with any questions.

The Department will also offer in-person voting services at its voting centers and polling places, including conditional voter registration and provisional voting for voters who miss the registration deadline. If you want to learn more about in-person voting services, we invite you to visit Ways to Vote.

Receiving and Tracking Your Ballot

Registered San Francisco voters will begin receiving vote-by-mail ballot packets, as well as state and local voter guides, in early October.

Your ballot and election materials will be sent to your home address unless your voter record has a different mailing address.

Voters can check their registration status and track their ballots as they move through the steps of printing, assembly, delivery, and processing, using the Voter Portal.

Voters can also choose to receive automatic notifications on the status or their ballots via email, SMS (text), or voice call. Visit
wheresmyballot.sos.ca.gov to sign up for this service.

Ensure Timely Delivery of Your Ballot by Keeping Your Address Up to Date!

One action you can take today to ensure timely delivery of your ballot is to confirm information in your voter record on the California Secretary of State’s website at voterstatus.sos.ca.gov or by contacting the Department of Elections at (415) 554-4375 or sfvote@sfgov.org

There are three ways to update your home address or mailing address.

  1. Complete a Registration Update Form and return it to the Department.
  2. Re-register to vote at registertovote.ca.gov, or contact the Department for a paper application.
  3. Send a letter to the Department that includes your name, former residence, current residence, mailing address (if different), a certification by you, the voter, of the content of the written request as to its truthfulness and correctness, under penalty of perjury, and your dated signature.

If you prefer to receive your ballot at a temporary address for this election or need a replacement ballot, you can submit your request through the Voter Portal or by calling (415) 554-4375.

Voting Your Ballot

Your vote-by-mail ballot packet will contain an official ballot, an instructional insert, an official postage-paid return envelope, and an “I Voted” sticker.

Follow the instructions on the top of each ballot card to mark your selections, and be sure to check both sides of the cards for contests.

If you make a mistake and need a replacement ballot, submit your request through the Voter Portal or by calling (415) 554-4375.

When you are done voting, remove receipts from ballot cards, fold each card, put cards in the return envelope, and peel away the self-sealing strip to seal the envelope. You must sign the envelope for your ballot to be counted!

The envelope features signature line punch-outs to assist voters with visual impairments in locating the signature field. The envelope also provides instructions on how voters unable to sign may substitute a witnessed mark for a signature.

Upon receipt of your voted ballot, the Department will compare the signature on the envelope with your signature(s) in your voter record. If your signature has changed since you last registered to vote, be sure to reregister with your new signature as soon as possible.

Returning Your Ballot

To be counted, you must return your ballot on time!

If you return your ballot by mail, your ballot return envelope must be postmarked by Election Day, November 3 (check collection times if you use a blue USPS mailbox to mail your envelope on November 3).

If you return your ballot in person, you must do so no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day, November 3. All 588 polling places throughout the City will be open for vote-by-mail ballot drop-off from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3.

You may also return your ballot in any other county in California or authorize another person to drop off your ballot for you.

You may also return your ballot to one of the ballot drop-off stations that will be open as follows:

Location Date/Time
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium,
99 Grove St
Monday-Friday, October 5-November 2, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday/Sunday, October 24-25 and October 31-November 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Bayview/Linda Brooks-Burton Library,
5075 3rd St
Saturday/Sunday: October 31-November 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Monday November 2: from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Chase Center,
1655 3rd St
Excelsior Branch Library,
4400 Mission St

Voting by Mail FAQs

  1. How can I be sure my ballot is mailed to my current address?
  2. Do I need a stamp to mail my ballot?
  3. Do I need to sign the return envelope?
  4. If I mail my ballot on Election Day, will it arrive on time to be counted?
  5. How can I find the closest USPS blue box to mail my ballot?
  6. Can I return my ballot in person?
  7. How can I track my ballot?
  8. What if my ballot does not arrive in the mail?
  9. How can I help make sure all the selections on my ballot are counted?
  10. How can I get a replacement ballot?
  1. How can I be sure my ballot is mailed to my current address?
    If you are registered to vote in San Francisco, the Department will mail your ballot to the address in your voter record. Check your information at voterstatus.sos.ca.gov and if necessary, update your registration at registertovote.ca.gov. (The post office cannot forward official ballots.)
     
  2. Do I need a stamp to mail my ballot?
    No, the ballot return envelope is postage-paid.
     
  3. Do I need to sign the return envelope?
    Yes. If you do not sign the envelope or if the signature on the envelope does not compare to one in your voter record, the Department will not be able to count your ballot unless you provide additional information. If your signature has changed, please re-register.
     
  4. If I mail my ballot on Election Day, will it arrive on time to be counted?
    It depends. To be counted, your ballot must be postmarked on or before Election Day. If you mail your ballot on Election Day, be sure to check the pickup time on the blue USPS collection box, home letterbox, or business mail drop. If the last pickup has already occurred, the ballot envelope will be postmarked late and will not be counted. The Department encourages voters to return their ballots as early as possible!
     
  5. How can I find the closest USPS blue box to mail my ballot?
    You can search for locations of USPS boxes and pickup times at usps.com/locator.
     
  6. Can I return my ballot in person?
    Yes. On Election Day, you may return your ballot to any of the 588 polling places in San Francisco or any voting site in California. You may also return your ballot to one of the ballot drop-off stations that will be open as follows:
    Mon-Fri: Oct 5-Nov 3 | Sat/Sun: Oct 24-25 and Oct 31-Nov 1
    • Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, 99 Grove St
    Sat/Sun: Oct 31-Nov 1 | Mon-Tues: Nov 2-3
    • Bayview/Linda Brooks-Burton Library, 5075 3rd St
    • Chase Center, 1655 3rd St
    • Excelsior Branch Library, 4400 Mission St
    Drop-off station hours
    • Weekdays: 8 am – 5 pm
    • Weekends: 10 am – 4 pm
    • Election Day: 7 am – 8 pm

     
  7. How can I track my ballot?
    Go to sfelections.org/voterportal to track your ballot, from assembly up through delivery, verification, and counting. To sign up for notifications via email, text, or voice message, visit wheresmyballot.sos.ca.gov.
     
  8. What if my ballot does not arrive in the mail?
    If your ballot does not arrive by October 13, contact the Department as soon as possible.
     
  9. How can I help make sure all the selections on my ballot are counted?
    Follow the instructions printed on each ballot card carefully. After marking your ballot, double-check you have not made a mistake, such as only partially filling the selection ovals, making too many selections in a contest, or making unintentional marks. If you make a mistake, you may request a replacement ballot.
     
  10. How can I get a replacement ballot?
    On or before October 28, you may go to sfelections.org/voterportal or call (415) 554-4375 to request a mailed replacement ballot. After October 28, contact the Department as soon as possible to review your options.
     

Questions? Need more information?Please contact the Department of Elections at (415) 554-4375 or sfvote@sfgov.org.

It is not too late to do the 2020 Census! Count yourself in today at my2020census.gov.