Questions and answers about how to vote

Curtis Park residents will have options in how they vote in the general election – by mail, by drop box or in person at authorized Vote Centers, including the Sierra 2 Center.

Still have questions? Here are some answers, based on information from the California secretary of state, Sacramento County and the League of Women Voters of California.

Who is eligible to vote?

To register, you must be a U.S. citizen and resident of California who will be 18 years or older on Election Day, Nov. 3. Pre-registration is available to 16- and 17-year-olds who will be automatically registered to vote on their 18th birthday. Currently incarcerated persons, those on parole following conviction of a felony, and those found mentally incompetent are not eligible to vote.

How do I register?

Visit RegisterToVote.ca.gov before midnight on Oct. 19. After that, you must register in person at a Sacramento County vote center and cast a conditional ballot, which will be counted only after elections officials verify your eligibility to vote.

Do I need to request a mail-in ballot?

No. Every registered voter in California will receive a paper ballot in the mail about four weeks before Election Day.

How do I complete my ballot?

After you receive your ballot in the mail, set aside time to vote. Read the instructions. Mark your ballot. Then put your completed ballot in the special return envelope provided in the mailing.

The final step is extremely important: You must sign and date the outside of the return envelope. If your signature doesn’t match your voter registration, elections officials are required to notify you, giving you an opportunity to verify your signature and have your vote counted. But if you do not sign and date the outside of your return envelope, your ballot will not be counted.

Can I mail in my ballot?

Yes. Postage is now prepaid so no stamps are required. Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 3 and must be received no later than 17 days after Election Day.

I’d rather return my ballot in person. Is that an option?

Yes, and advance voting is encouraged. Here are a few key dates:

  • Beginning Oct. 5, you may vote at the Sacramento County Elections Office at 7000 65th St., or deposit your completed ballot at a ballot drop box.
  • The nearest drop boxes to Curtis Park are:
    • inside Raley’s supermarket, 4690 Freeport Blvd., and
    • inside McKinley Library, 601 Alhambra Blvd.
    • The Raley’s drop box will be accessible from 6 a.m. to midnight every day through Nov. 2, and from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 3.
    • The McKinley Library drop box will be accessible from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays (except Oct. 8), and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 3.
  • Beginning Oct. 24, you may vote at some vote centers, including the Golden 1 Center and Oak Park Community Center.
  • Beginning Oct. 31, you may vote at Sierra 2 Center and other vote centers.

What if I prefer to vote on Election Day?

Sierra 2 Center and all vote centers will be open Saturday, Oct. 31, to Monday, Nov. 2, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for voting in person or depositing your marked ballot. On Election Day, Nov. 3, all vote centers will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. As long as you are in line by 8 p.m., you will be allowed to vote. In Sacramento County, you may vote at any authorized location – not just at your local precinct.

Should I take my ballot to the polling place?

Yes. If you received a ballot in the mail, take it with you. You may surrender that ballot and vote with a regular ballot if you choose. If you did not receive a ballot in the mail, a poll worker will find your name on the list of registered voters and you will be asked to sign your name before you vote. If the poll worker cannot find your name on the voter rolls, you may request a provisional ballot, which will be counted only after elections officials verify your eligibility to vote.

Will I need to show ID at the polling place?

First-time voters should be prepared to show identification, such as a driver’s license, passport, student ID or any document sent by a government agency, such as a recent utility bill.

Can I have a friend or family member return my ballot for me?

Yes, but you must fill out the authorization box on the return envelope.

Is there a way to track my ballot after I’ve voted?

Visit WheresMyBallot.sos.ca.gov to sign up before you cast your ballot. The Where’s My Ballot tool will send updates when your ballot has been mailed, received and counted. You will also be notified if there are any issues with your ballot.

Craig McCulloch contributed to this report. For a complete list of Sacramento County Vote Centers and ballot drop box locations, visit https://elections.saccounty.net/VoteCenters/pages/locations.aspx.

Written by Joan Cusick and posted on Friday, October 2nd, 2020

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