What Does the Voter's Choice Act Mean to Me as a Polling Place Voter?
The Voter’s Choice Act offers a new voting experience that makes it easier and more convenient to vote in person than ever before. Understanding how the voting process will change will help make sure you can cast your vote quickly and confidently.
What is a Vote Center?
One of the biggest changes of the Voter’s Choice Act is that there will no longer be assigned polling places. Instead, you will be able to vote in person at any vote center.
A vote center is a new, convenient option for in-person voting that replaces polling places. Vote centers will be larger than a traditional polling place with more staff to assist voters and more voting equipment. Instead of being assigned to go to one specific polling place, you have the option to choose any vote center in the County. Vote centers will also be open for several days before each election, giving you even more options to cast your ballot when and where it is most convenient for you.
Some of the benefits of vote center include:
- You can vote at any vote center in the County of Santa Clara, which means you can vote where you work, where you go to school, or where you run errands.
- You get to choose when you vote. All vote centers will be open for at least three days before the election in addition to Election Day. Some vote centers will open starting 10 days before the election. Vote centers will even be open on weekends to make it even easier to fit voting into your busy schedule.
- Vote centers will be located at convenient, accessible locations, including places close to public transportation routes.
- Each vote center will be supported by more staff members than a traditional polling place, offering better voting assistance and language assistance to ensure everyone has a chance to make their vote count.
- Vote centers will have more and updated voting equipment than a traditional polling place. This will ensure that each vote center can serve a larger number of voters quickly and efficiently compared to polling places. More voting machines also provides more accessible options for individuals with disabilities.
Can I Register to Vote at a Vote Center?
Yes, you can register to vote or update your voter registration at any vote center.
If you can register to vote by the deadline (15 days before Election Day), it will help ensure you have a faster, smoother voting experience when you go to the vote center. However, if you miss the voter registration deadline, you will have the option to do a Conditional Voter Registration at any vote center.
Conditional Voter Registration allows you to register to vote and cast a ballot at the same time. You will seal your ballot inside an envelope before dropping it in the ballot box. After the Registrar of Voters finishes processing your voter registration and confirms your eligibility, you ballot will be opened and counted. Learn more about Conditional Voter Registration.
Will I Be Sent a Vote by Mail Ballot?
Under the Voter’s Choice Act, every voter will automatically be sent a Vote by Mail ballot; however, you are not required to use it. Every voter also has the option to go to a vote center and vote in person instead.
When you vote in person, your mail ballot will automatically be void. You may either surrender your unused ballot at the vote center or you may destroy and dispose of it yourself. Only one ballot will be accepted and counted per voter per election.