Make Sure You Are Registered to Vote – Everyone’s Voice Matters!
The thought of more than 150,000 Californians with developmental disabilities using their voice to vote on election day is incredibly powerful! Full participation in the political process for Americans with disabilities is a civic right. Justin Dart, father of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), said “Vote as if your life depended on it, because it does.” But before you vote, you must register!
2020 is a presidential election year with two major election days: 1) The primary presidential election on March 3, 2020 where you will be voting on statewide ballot measures, as well as many candidates and local measures. 2) The presidential election on November 3, 2020, where the next President of the United States will be determined.
You may register to vote at any time, but to be eligible to vote in an upcoming election, your Voter Registration Form must be submitted online by midnight no later than 15 days before that election. If you are mailing a Voter Registration Form, it must be postmarked no later than 15 days before that election and received by the close of the polls on Election Day.
The first Election Day of 2020 is Tuesday, March 3, 2020 and the deadline to register is February 18, 2020.
You may register to vote if you meet all the following requirements:
- Citizen of the United States
- Resident of California
- At least 18 years of age on or before Election Day
- Not in prison or on parole for the conviction of a felony
You can register by visiting California’s Online Voter Registration page or by completing a registration form and mailing it to the Registrar of Voters. Registration forms are available at libraries, the Department of Motor Vehicles, government offices, and US post offices.
In San Mateo County your completed registration form is sent to:
San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division
40 Tower Rd, San Mateo, CA 94402
In Santa Clara County your completed registration form is sent to:
Registrar of Voters
P.O. Box 611300, San Jose, CA 95161
Once your registration form is received and processed, you will receive a Voter Notification Card indicating that your registration was successful.
The Registration and Elections Division in both counties are committed to working with voters with disabilities to help them exercise their right to vote. All voting locations are ADA accessible to voters with disabilities and in compliance with guidelines set by the Secretary of State of California.
A registered voter with a disability may request an Accessible Vote by Mail Ballot. The Accessible Vote by Mail system allows voters with disabilities, overseas voters, military personnel and military spouses to vote privately and independently by accessing and marking an electronic ballot in a screen-readable format on any computer at any time. Voters using this online system will log in and download their ballot to a computer, mark their choices, and then print the ballot. The ballot must then be returned to the Registration and Elections Division via mail or at any Vote Center. San Mateo County Voters can go online to www.smcacre.org/MyElectionMaterials and enter their information to find a link to their ballot and Santa Clara County Voters can go to https://eservices.sccgov.org/Rov?tab=ra.
In San Mateo County a registered voter with a disability can request to have a Vote by Mail paper ballot personally delivered to their home at a convenient time by Elections Division staff, who will assist them in marking and returning the ballot. San Mateo County Elections Division staff will even bring an accessible version of the County’s electronic voting machine to a convenient location, to cast an electronic ballot privately and independently. This system includes audio ballot reading technology, uniquely shaped large buttons with Braille descriptions, a low height to permit wheelchair-based use, and use of adaptive interface devices such as sip-and-puff and tactile input switches to control the input.
And finally, San Mateo County Registered Voters with a disability can request that the Elections Division staff arrange free transportation for the voter to and from a Vote Center during the early voting period, where the County’s accessible electronic voting machine may be used by the voter.
Both counties also have a Voter Accessibility Advisory Committees (VAAC), a committee designed to provide guidance and information on accessibility matters related to the conduct of elections. As a member of San Mateo County’s VAAC I have had the opportunity to review Vote by Mail envelopes, research alternative voting options, advocate for increased public transportation options during Election Day, and have contributed to several other Registration and Elections Division initiatives.
If you need support registering to vote or completing your ballot, please contact the office of the Chief Elections Officer.
San Mateo County Chief Elections Officer
555 County Center
Redwood City, CA 94063
Santa Clara County Chief Elections Officer
1555 Berger Drive, Building 2
San Jose, CA 95112
PO Box 611360; San Jose, CA 95161
Fax: (408) 998-7314