SAN FRANCISCO ANNOUNCES EFFORTS IN PLACE TO HELP RESIDENTS VOTE SAFELY IN NOVEMBER ELECTION

Contact: Mayor’s Office of Communications, mayorspressoffice@sfgov.org

*** PRESS RELEASE ***

SAN FRANCISCO ANNOUNCES EFFORTS IN PLACE TO HELP RESIDENTS VOTE SAFELY IN NOVEMBER ELECTION

Early voting in San Francisco will begin on October 5, with several options for voting including 588 polling places, ballot drop boxes, and a Voting Center in Civic Center

San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced how San Franciscans can vote safely in the November 3, 2020 election and encouraged residents to have a plan for voting. Mayor Breed, the Department of Elections, and community leaders held a press conference today at San Francisco’s outdoor Voting Center, located at 99 Grove Street, in front of the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. The Voting Center is one of more than 588 locations in San Francisco where people can vote in the upcoming election.

“We want everyone to feel comfortable voting this November, which is why we have adapted our Voting Center and polling places to make sure San Franciscans still have a safe and accessible place to cast their ballot,” said Mayor Breed. “While voting in the November election will look mostly the same to voters as in years past, there are some differences because of this pandemic. First is the outdoor voting center on Civic Center Plaza instead of inside City Hall. Second, all registered voters will receive ballots in the mail, not just those who request them.  But what hasn’t changed is that every vote matters. Make your plan now for making sure your ballot gets in on time and is counted. And for those who haven’t registered yet, you can register now online or at our Voting Center. So many have given so much to ensure that we all have the right to vote, so let’s do our part by voting this November.”

“If you vote early in person or by mail, you will avoid possible wait times and crowded public spaces, and your ballot will be reviewed and counted well before Election Day,” said John Arntz, Director, Department of Elections. “Voters can track the status of their ballots using the Voter Portal on the Department’s website and know when their ballots are counted.”

All registered voters in San Francisco and California will be sent a vote-by-mail ballot for the November 3, 2020 election, and should expect to receive their ballot in the mail the week of October 5. The deadline to register to vote is October 19, 2020. Register to vote online or in person at the Voting Center. Those who miss the voter registration deadline but are still eligible can visit the Voting Center or a polling place to register and cast a provisional ballot.

Over the last few months, the Department of Elections has been working diligently to safely reach voters and potential registrants with a wide range of multilingual, multi-format informational resources about the November 3 election. In collaboration with its non-profit outreach partners and City agencies, the Department is distributing digital presentations and print materials designed to inform all residents, including members of the City’s vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations, about upcoming election dates and deadlines, vote by mail, and the new health and safety protocols implemented at in-person voting sites. The Department of Elections has also been informing the public about the November 3 election through several informational mailings, digital notices, and Public Service Announcements.  

There are several ways to vote in the election:

–          By Mail – This is the safest way to vote. The Department of Elections recommends voters return their ballots using a United States Postal Service blue mail collection box. The USPS provides nearly 1,400 collection boxes in the City. Find your nearest mail box here.

–          At the Voting Center – October 5 through November 3, and open weekends starting October 24.

–          At a Polling Place on Election Day. There are 588 polling places in San Francisco. Find your polling places on San Francisco’s Voter Portal

–          At Ballot Drop-Off Sites – Starting October 5 and through November 3, voters can drop-off ballots at the Voting Center.

o   Starting October 31 and through November 3, the Department will provide drop-off sites at the Chase Center, Bayview/Linda Brooks-Burton Library, Excelsior Library, and Portsmouth Square.

–          Accessible Vote-by-Mail System – allows voters to mark screen-readable vote-by-mail ballots using common internet-connected devices. After marking an AVBM ballot, a voter must download and print the ballot and return the ballot printout by mail or in person in a timely manner, just as vote-by-mail voters who use official paper ballots must do.

–          Authorizing another person to pick up your ballot – Beginning October 5, any registered voter may authorize a spouse, child, parent, grandparent, sibling, or person residing in their household to pick up a vote-by-mail ballot from the Voting Center and deliver it to them, provided the authorized person is at least 16 years old.

Health and Safety Measures

In compliance with current guidance from public health officials, the Department of Elections has adopted several new health and safety protocols at its in-person voting locations. The Department will offer hand sanitizer, gloves, and facemasks to all voters and post notices asking voters and observers to observe health guidelines, including those regarding facial coverings, hand hygiene, and social distancing rules, at all in-person voting locations.

The Department will also introduce new sanitation and disinfection protocols for the voting supplies and equipment used at all in-person voting locations. The Voting Center and 588 polling places will be set up to maintain 6 foot distances between people in line, computer workstations, voting booths, and ballot return boxes. Although all voters will receive ballots by mail, voters can still use in-person services at the Voting Center or polling places. San Franciscans are reminded to wear a face covering when voting in person or dropping off their ballot to protect public health.

Voting Center

The Voting Center will provide ballots and services to all City residents who wish to pick up or drop off vote-by-mail ballots, register to vote (before or after the registration deadline), obtain personal assistance, use accessible voting equipment, obtain replacement ballots, or cast their ballots in person.

To protect the health of voters wishing to obtain in-person voting services during the 29-day early voting period, the Voting Center will be set up in the area outside of Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on 99 Grove Street, between Polk and Larkin Streets.

The Voting Center will be open during the 29-day early voting period during these times:

  • Every weekday, October 5 through November 2, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Two weekends, October 24 and 25, and October 31 and November 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. (same voting hours as polling places).

To make their voting experience faster and safer, voters can use the Voting Locations and Wait Times Tool to check wait times at the Voting Center as they are planning their trip. With early voting opportunities available 29 days before Election Day, San Francisco encourages residents to vote as early as possible.

The Voting Center will also offer accessible voting tools such as page magnifiers, pen grips, and seated voting, as well as accessible ballot-marking devices with touchscreen/audio format and personal assistive device compatibility. Any voter may request to vote “curbside” at the Voting Center by calling (415) 554-4375 or by asking a companion to enter the voting center to request delivery of voting materials to the voter.

“By voting, we voice out our opinions; we choose the person to represent us; we give the direction for our country!” said George Chan, Executive Director, Chinese Newcomers Service Center. “Please register now and vote in November.”

“This year, your vote will be one of the most important decisions you make. So get educated. Make a plan. And vote,” said Jackie Flin, Executive Director, A. Phillip Randolph Institute San Francisco.

General Voting Information

San Franciscans can review their registration information, find their polling place, track their ballot, and more, using San Francisco’s Voter Portal. For more information, go to https://sfelections.sfgov.org/

For questions, email: SFVote@sfgov.org or reach the Department of Elections by phone: 

English: (415) 554-4375
TTY: (415) 554-4386

中文: (415) 554-4367
Español: (415) 554-4366
Filipino: (415) 554-4310