Voting Basics: Casting a Ballot

Click on a question below to find answers about Casting a Ballot:

Check your voter
registration status
by using the
Alameda County
Registrar of Voters

"My Voter Profile" tool

 


How Do I Vote?

You can vote in person at your polling place on Election Day, vote early in person at the Alameda County Registrar of Voters Office and other eligible early voting locations before Election Day, or vote by mail.

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How Do I Vote at the Polls on Election Day?

Alameda County polling places are open from 7 am – 8 pm. Find your polling place here.

  • The basic steps for voting at the polls are:
    • Go to the registration table
      • Say your name and address and sign the list of voters
      • A poll worker will give you a ballot
    • For paper ballots:
      • Fill out your ballot by following the instructions
      • Tear off the stub at the top of the ballot. You may use this stub later to check that your ballot was counted
      • Place your ballot in an envelope or folder, or fold it if instructed (this will preserve the secrecy of your ballot)
      • Cast your ballot by following the instructions
    • For touchscreen voting machines
      • The poll worker will give you either a unique passcode or a computer memory card to access the touchscreen voting machine
      • Follow the instructions on the machine to fill out and cast your ballot
  • If you have any questions, ask a poll worker!

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How Do I Vote Early in Person?

You can sign up to vote early (prior to election day) in person at the Alameda County Registrar of Voters Office and your ballot will be ready for you the next business day at the Ballot Will Call Window. Find a list of dates and times to vote early here.

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How Do I Vote by Mail?

Voting by mail allows voters to cast a ballot without going to a polling place. If a registered voter has applied to vote by mail, the Registrar's office mails a ballot to the registered address of the voter beginning 29 days before an election. The voter completes the ballot and returns it to the election office by mail or in person to the office or to any polling place on Election Day to be counted. Any voter can apply to vote by mail permanently in every election.

You can request a vote-by-mail ballot up to 7 days before an election from the Alameda County Registrar of Voters by filling out and mailing in a Vote-By-Mail Application. The basic steps for voting by mail are:

  • Follow the directions to fill out your vote-by-mail ballot and envelope
    • Don’t forget to sign the back of the envelope
  • Make sure to use the right amount of postage on the envelope
  • Return the ballot
    • By mail (your vote-by-mail ballot must be postmarked on or before Tuesday, November 6, 2018 and received by the Alameda County Registrar of Voters no later than 3 days after election day)

Return in person—to our office, any 24-hour drop-box, or any polling place in Alameda County before 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.

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Do I Have to Show ID to Vote?

To register to vote, you will need to provide your California driver’s license or ID card number or the last four digits of your Social Security number.

  • Most of the time, on Election Day you are not required to show identification at the polling place unless:
    • You are voting for the first time after registering to vote by mail and did not provide your driver license number, California identification number or the last four digits of your social security number on your registration form. In this case you may be asked to show a form of identification when you go to the polls. A copy of a recent utility bill, the sample ballot booklet you received from your county elections office or another document sent to you by a government agency are examples of acceptable forms of identification. Other acceptable forms of identification include your passport, driver license, official state identification card, or student identification card showing your name and photograph.
  • Visit the California Secretary of State for more information on acceptable identification

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