A contentious general election in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought rise to another issue: casting a ballot. Here's what you need to know about voting by mail this fall.
All registered voters in San Mateo County will be sent mail-in ballots for this election. Ballots were mailed out starting Oct. 5.
The ballot will come with a prepaid envelope so the voter can send it back. Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Election Day. Read our story on the various ways to vote this year here.
For people who prefer not to send their ballot through the U.S. Postal Service, San Mateo County has set up drop boxes throughout the county. County staff will collect those ballots and bring them back to be counted.
Drop boxes inside buildings are open during the building's business hours. Outside drop boxes are available at any time until the close of voting at 8 p.m. on Election Day.
In addition, voters can go now to any of three in-person vote centers which will be open through Oct. 30, weekdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. These three vote centers are located at: Redwood City Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder, 555 County Center; San Mateo Registration & Elections Division, 40 Tower Road; and the South San Francisco Main Library, 840 West Orange Ave.
A total of 45 in-person vote centers throughout the county will be open from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. All vote centers will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3. (See locations for Atherton, Menlo Park, Woodside and Portola Valley below).
The San Mateo County elections office will also be providing curbside ballot drop-off at all 45 vote centers on Election Day, allowing voters to safely deliver their ballots without leaving their vehicles.
The county's event center in San Mateo will also serve as a "super vote center" due to its large facilities and acres of parking. The county set up 20 voting booths 6 feet apart inside Sequoia Hall via the west parking lot entrance on Delaware Avenue, according to a press release. The event center will also have drive-thru voting, where elections staff will bring people a vote-by-mail ballot.
There are also two more ways to vote. Send a completed ballot by mail, postmarked on or before Nov. 3. For voters who are disabled or visually impaired, there is also the county's Remote Accessible Vote by Mail System, in which voters can fill out a screen-readable ballot, print it out, and either mail or drop off the ballot at the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division.
Anyone voting in person in San Mateo County will be asked to wear a face covering, maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from others and use hand sanitizer before and after voting. To track your ballot, subscribe to "Where's My Ballot?" at wheresmyballot.sos.ca.gov. People also can come to vote in person at a vote center if they've misplaced their mailed ballots, need language assistance or require accessibility accommodations.
If you have any questions about voting, go to the county's website.
Voters can drop off their vote-by-mail ballots at Atherton City Hall, 150 Watkins Ave., in a drop box on weekdays through Oct. 23, 8 a.m. to noon. From Oct. 26 to Nov. 3, those hours expand to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For questions, contact Deputy City Manager/City Clerk Anthony Suber at [email protected]
An in-person vote center will be located at El Camino Hall at Menlo College, 1000 El Camino Real, beginning Oct. 31.
Voters can drop off their ballots anytime at two outdoor drop box locations: Menlo Park City Hall at 701 Laurel St., and the Onetta Harris Community Center at 100 Terminal Ave. Drop box locations will be accessible through 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Menlo Park will have three in-person vote centers, open Oct. 31 through Election Day: Arrillaga Family Recreation Center, Sequoia Room, 700 Alma St.; Onetta Harris Community Center, Multipurpose Room, 100 Terminal Ave.; Residence Inn, Menlo Atherton Room, 555 Glenwood Ave.
For questions, contact City Clerk Judi Herren at [email protected]
Voters can drop off their ballots anytime at the outdoor drop box location at Woodside Town Hall, 2955 Woodside Road.
From Oct. 31 through Election Day, voters can go to the in-person vote center at Woodside Village Church, 3154 Woodside Road.
For questions, contact Town Clerk Jennifer Li at [email protected]
Voters can drop off their ballots anytime at the outdoor drop box location at Portola Valley Town Hall, 765 Portola Road.
From Oct. 31 through Election Day, voters can got to the in-person vote center at Portola Valley Town Center, Community Hall, 765 Portola Road.
For questions, contact Town Clerk Sharon Hanlon at [email protected]
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