Everyone has been trying to scare voters about the validity of voting by mail. There is reason for concern, but probably not to the degree some suggest, and certainly less so in California. However, you do have to be mindful; you need to methodically follow each step to avoid invalidating your ballot.
By now (or within a day or so), you should have received your ballot in the mail. (If you haven’t received your ballot by October 16, check out our earlier posts on how to check if you’re registered correctly, and where to get more information).
Review your ballot before marking it up. We at Pa’delante like to complete our Sample Ballot first; once we know that, we can focus on following the ballot directions. There are directions on the top of each ballot page. Take note which ballot pages are two-sided.
You won’t be able to correct a ballot if you make a mistake. This is where the mindfulness comes in. If you do make a mistake before October 28, you can get a replacement ballot by going to: https://sfelections.org/tools/portal/ or calling (415) 554-4375.
Use a black or dark blue pen to complete your ballot. Please don’t add any marks other than those that designate your voting choices. When you have filled out your voting preferences for each candidate race and local and state initiatives, you are ready to prepare your ballot for mailing. Place the ballot pages in the return envelope and peel off the strip to seal the envelope.
Here is the important part: The first and biggest mistake most people make is forgetting to sign the envelope. If you do not sign the envelope, your ballot will not be counted.
Some have suggested that taking time to write your signature is also important. If, for some reason, there are questions about your ballot, they may compare your signature to the in your voting record. If you are like us, your signature has gotten less legible over the years, so we encourage voters to slow down when writing to increase legibility.
The hardest part is done! You don’t need postage to turn in your ballot. But please be sure to turn it in. You can do this in several ways. First, turn it in as you would any other piece of mail by putting it in the mailbox (making sure it will be postmarked by November 3rd) or taking it to the post office. You can bring your ballot to the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, which has been set up as the Voting Center. You can also turn in your ballot at one of 588 polling places on November 3rd. Finally, if you are unable to travel to a polling place or voting center, you can authorize a family member or housemate to take your ballot to the Voting Center on your behalf.
Pa’delante encourages you to turn in your ballot as early as possible. This is likely to be a very high turnout race. The earlier we are able to get our ballots in and validated, the sooner we may learn the results of various races.
Here is where the fun begins! With strange goings-on at the post office and stories of voter suppression, most of want to know our ballot has gotten to where it needs to go and will be counted. California has a great new tool that allows voters to track their mailed ballots. Go to: https://california.ballottrax.net/voter/ to find out the status of your ballot.
Vote to support your needs!
Vote to support the needs of your family and community!
Vote for equity, justice, and change!