top of page

Election Q&A from Registrar of Voters




updated 8/3/20


Questions about mailing the ballots 

When do you plan to start mailing ballots?  When will you stop mailing the ballots? 

Registrar will start mailing ballots on Oct. 5. The last mailing date is October 27.

How will the ballots be mailed?

Ballots will be mailed via first class mail.  No postage is necessary for voters to return their ballots by mail. 

Can voters track their ballots?

Yes.  Voters can opt into the Secretary of State’s free Ballot Tracking system  Also, the USPS has a free  “Informed Delivery Service”  that voters can opt into to track and see the image of their mail pieces.

Will you contact voters whose ballots are returned as undeliverable or for some other reason? 

Yes.  Registrar will call or email voters if they have this contact information on their voter registration.  

What is your advice to voters who lose or don’t receive their ballots?  Can they call you to get a new ballot or will they have to come in person?

Voters can request a replacement ballot either on the Registrar of Voters website or by  calling the Office at 510-272-6973. They can either ask for the ballot to be mailed or pick it up at “ballot will call” at  the Registrar’s office, 1225 Fallon St., Room G-1, Oakland, CA 94612, or at an accessible voting site. 

Is it ok for a person to collect voted ballots from a senior or other facility and return them?  

Yes. Some senior facilities have designated an employee to collect ballots and take them to the nearest  ballot drop box.  There is a section on the flap of the VBM return envelope for voters to print the name of the person who returns their ballot and for that person to sign.

It is often difficult for people who are incarcerated to register to vote and to get mail.    Do you have a process to help them register, receive and return their ballots?  Who can we work with in your office on this?

The Public Defender’s Office has a voter outreach program at Santa Rita Jail. For juvenile facilities, Contact Lolita Francisco, Voter Services Manager: 510-272-6973/


Questions about checking signatures on the ballots

Will you let voters know if their signature on the ballot  is missing or doesn’t match their voter registration?  

Yes. The Registrar will contact voters via phone, email, or US mail and ask them to come to the office to “cure” their signature. The time period for voters to respond is 17 days after Election Day.  Voters can also check their My Voter Profile on the Registrar of Voters’ website to see if their ballot was challenged, or received and counted.  NOTE: The Registrar looks for at least one distinguishing characteristic in the signature to determine that it is valid.  If the signature doesn’t match the registration, various levels of staff check it.  When in doubt, they opt on the side of the voter.  The Registrar currently reaches out to voters whose signatures look like they are changing and asks them to re-register.  


 Questions about in person voting sites

How will you decide where the accessible voting sites and the ballot drop boxes will be located? Will they be near public transportation? In low turnout areas? Population centers?

The Secretary of State has issued guidelines to counties for setting up in person voting sites.  There must be 1 accessible in-person voting site per 10,000 registered voters and 1 ballot drop box for every 15,000 voters. Alameda County will have 100 accessible voting sites and 66 ballot drop boxes. Considers voting population, participation, language, location.

  • In person voting sites:   The main requirements are that the site must have one large room between 2000-2500 sq. ft. with an adjacent smaller storage room.  It must be accessible, have adequate parking, have internet access, sufficient power, and be secure.  The site must be available to the Registrar two weeks before the election for set-up and testing.  It must be secured from Saturday, October 31 through November 3. Registrar’s staff will survey the site for suitability. Contact if you can offer a site.


  • Ballot drop boxes:  Main requirements are accessibility and visibility from the street and on all four sides of the box.  The Registrar has been working with City Clerks to locate city owned property for the boxes and sites.  Suggestions from community organizations are welcome.  Contact: Prefers to be notified by site owner.


Can you identify areas of the city/county that have low vote by mail turnout and locate boxes or in person voting sites in these areas? 

Yes. The Registrar considers all of this information.

When will voters know the locations of these sites and drop boxes?  

The locations will be posted on the Registrar of Voters’ website and published in the Voter Information Pamphlet that is mailed to voters beginning on Sept. 24.  Site locations will also be included with the ballot that every voter will receive in the mail after October 5.


What are the days and hours of the Accessible Vote Centers?  

Accessible Vote Centers will be open from Saturday, October 31  through Election Day, November 3. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday and from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.


Can voters who missed the registration deadline register and vote at these sites?  

Yes, they can register “conditionally” and vote “provisionally”.  The ballot will be counted if the voter is eligible to vote.


What kind of voting equipment will you have at the sites? Will you also offer paper ballots at the sites?

There will be electronic poll books, touchscreen voting machines and at least two on-demand ballot printers and a back-up power source at each site. A limited supply of paper ballots will be available for emergency use.  The voting machine vendor is Dominion Voting Systems -  Democracy Suite.


Who will staff the sites?  

Registrar of Voters is recruiting poll workers from the community as well as county staff.  Approximately 3000 poll workers will be needed for this election. There will be one professional troubleshooter (the Captain) assigned to each site.


What is your plan in case there is an equipment malfunction at the sites?  

Troubleshooters will be trained and assigned to each site to handle equipment malfunctions.


Publicity Plan

What is your plan for letting voters know what to expect in this election?  What media will you use?

Registrar plans a marketing campaign on Google, social media, SF Gate and billboards.  Plans to mail post cards to voters alerting them to the changes in the election in mid August.  Voters will also get information about what’s new in their Voter Pamphlets, mailed Sept. 24, and in inserts in the ballot envelopes, mailed Oct. 5. There will be a Q and A section on the website. 

When will you start mailing the voter guides?  

The Registrar will begin mailing voter guides on September 24 to all voters registered as of Sept. 4.  Mailing continues until shortly after the close of registration on Oct. 19.


information about ballot measures and candidates

How and when can we get complete information about Oakland measures?

it is best to make an appointment and come in person.   August 7, 2020 is deadline for candidates to file and for county and district measures to be submitted to  the County Registrar.  City measures may come in later since they are handled by the City Clerk. 

Where is information about previous elections archived? Is it in a searchable database?

Only results information from past elections is available on the website.  Must  make an appointment and come in person to see candidate and measure information from previous elections. this information is not in a searchable database.


How does one order precinct lists of voters and maps?

 Order at Registrar of Voters’s website Individuals who request data with voter information must be from a political organization, campaign, or for scholarly research. The League qualifies as a political organization. Must fill out application and provide ID.


How can we help with your outreach efforts to voters?  

  • Recommend sites for in person voting and ballot drop boxes to Registrar in writing.   Eastmont Mall in Oakland is definitely a possibility for a site and box. Provide site address, contact person and contact information.

  • Help recruit election workers from the community to work at the accessible voting sites. Registrar needs 3000 workers and wants to have at least 15 workers at each site during open hours from Saturday, Oct 31 to Election Day, Nov. 3.

  • Invite the  Registrar to provide virtual presentations about the election at community events. The mulit-lingual voter outreach team can schedule these presentations as well as provide virtual training on voter registration.


Who is the person  in your office to contact if we need more information?

Contact Cynthia Cornejo, Deputy Registrar at 272-6973/               Rev. 8/3/20

bottom of page