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Paul Wellman

Last-Minute Voting Questions

A Few Questions Voters Might Want Answered


It’s not quite down to the wire yet. Chances are, however, that more than a few registered voters out there may have some lingering questions about how, exactly, they need to go about making their voices heard. We at The Independent hope the below information might clear up any confusion. And if you have any further questions, email them to news@independent.com.

I don’t know if I’m registered. What do I do?

You should be able to check at sbcvote.com. You can look up if you’ve registered at your current address and when you registered there. You can also call the South County Elections Office at (805) 568-2200 and the North County ones at (805) 346-8374 and (805) 737-7705.

Can I vote by mail?

Yes, anyone can, though you should have declared your intention do so by now. For future elections, keep the following in mind. California law allows any registered voter to become a permanent mail voter. If you would like to become a permanent mail voter, you must complete the Permanent Vote by Mail application which can be found at sbcvote.com. This must be completed, signed, and sent to your Elections Office: P.O. Box 159, Santa Barbara, CA 93102-0159. Any mailed requests must be received no less than seven days prior to any given election if you have not applied for permanent voter status previously. Be sure to give your registered address, and the address to which the absentee ballot is to be sent, as well as your signature.

If you wish to cancel your permanent status, complete and sign the Permanent Voter Status Cancellation form and send to the Elections Office, address listed above.

Should I have received my absentee ballot by now?

Yes. Your ballot should have been sent to the mailing address on your application three weeks prior to the election for which you are eligible to vote. If you have not received your ballot by Tuesday, contact the elections office at (800) SBC-VOTE, or you can request a provisional ballot at your assigned polling place.

Do I need to re-register when I change my residence?

Yes.

When must I turn in my absentee ballot?

This ballot can be mailed to the Registrar of Voters or delivered in person to your assigned polling place by 8 p.m. election day. It must be received by that time. In other words, if you have an absentee ballot for tomorrow’s election and you haven’t mailed it yet, don’t mail it. Just hand it in to your polling place. The County Elections Office recommends that, in general, people mail their ballots in three to five days before elections.

Can I drop off my absentee ballot tomorrow also? Will it be counted?

Yes. All absentee ballots signed and received by 8 p.m., November 4, will be processed and counted.

Where can I vote?

Your polling place is shown on the back of the sample ballot you should have received in the mail. Alternately, you can also go online to smartvoter.org and enter your address and zip code to find your nearest polling place. If you go to a polling place that is not assigned to you, you may ask to vote provisionally.

What if my name is not on the roster at the polling place?

If you are not on the roster, a provisional ballot will be provided. This ballot will be placed in a signed, special envelope which will be checked later to make sure you are registered. You can find out if this ballot was counted by contacting the elections office with your voting receipt number. There is no charge for this service.

When do the polls open?

Polls are open Election Day from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. If you are in line before 8 p.m., you have the right to vote. State law also allows voters to take up to two hours off to vote from work without loss of pay.

What should I bring to the polls?

If you are voting for the first time after registering by mail, you may be asked to show a form of identification. Be sure to bring ID with you with your vote-by-mail ballot; however, bringing some form of identification regardless of whether you’re voting for the first time, or by mail, is a good idea. Also, if questions or problems arise at the polls, be sure to take this number with you: 1-866-OUR-VOTE.

What if I make a mistake on my ballot?

A new ballot can be requested up to three times.

Anything I shouldn’t do?

You’re not allowed to bring any propaganda supporting or opposing a given candidate or cause within 100 feet of polling places. This includes buttons and shirts, so don’t be surprised if someone asks you to remove the illegal article once you reach your polling place.

Lindsey Cornish is an Independent intern.

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