Immigration Institute of the Bay Area’s (IIBA’s) Civic Engagement Toolkit 2020

The IIBA team encourages you to share this guide with your friends, family, and colleagues. 

How to Register to Vote & Confirm Registration

Make Sure  You Are Registered To Vote

To check if you are registered to vote, visit www.vote.org/am-i-registered-to-vote/ and check your registration (it takes less than 30 seconds!)

California Voter Registration Deadline: Monday, October 19, 2020

Register to Vote! 

If you are not registered, you can register in less than 2 minutes: https://www.vote.org/register-to-vote/ 

To register in California you must:

  • be a United States citizen, be a resident of California
  • be at least 18 years old or older on Election Day
  • not be currently in state or federal prison or on parole for the conviction of a felony
  • not be currently found to be mentally incompetent to vote by a court

If you have recently moved within California to a new permanent address, or you have changed your name, or you want to change where your ballot is being mailed, you can update your address by re-registering to vote here: https://registertovote.ca.gov/


If you miss the October 19th deadline, you can still conditionally register to vote and cast a provisional ballot in person at your County Elections Office at any time up to and including Election Day. Elections Offices by County in California can be found here. You can also go to Early Voting Stations for the Same Day Voter Registration Process, or you can register and vote provisionally on Election Day at your polling place.

Your provisional ballot will be counted when your County Elections Official verifies your voter registration. For other states voter registration deadlines, please visit: www.vote.org/voter-registration-deadlines/

WHY VOTE? 

The right to vote is the foundation of our democracy. Don’t take it for granted! In addition to electing politicians that represent your values, your communities, and your priorities, voting gives you a seat at the table in deciding a multitude of issues that affect you and your loved ones every day. Policies that shape our healthcare system, immigration, education, jobs, the environment, and taxes are determined by your vote and your fellow citizens’ votes! By voting, you get to have an active role in determining how you want your city, your state, and your country to be run. 

Voting by Mail & Checking Your Polling Place

CALIFORNIA RESIDENTS: For the November 3 General Election, every registered voter will receive a ballot in the mail. This is the result of an Executive Order Signed by Governor Gavin Newsom in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

Remember: You Must Sign the Outside of the Ballot before you mail it. 

  • Turn over the ballot return envelope and Sign your name by the red “X”, print your address and the date on the back of the return envelope.​
  • Your signature must match the signature on your voter registration card.


Example:

     For other states’ COVID-19 election information, please visit www.vote.org/covid-19/

You may return your voted ballot by mail, in person, or to a drop box (County Elections Offices will provide special secure boxes for voters to drop off their completed ballot).

  • If you are returning your ballot by mail, it must be postmarked on or before Election Day November 3rd and received by your county elections office no later than 17 days after Election Day. If you are not sure your vote-by-mail ballot will arrive in time if mailed, bring it to any polling place in your county between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.
  • Vote-by-mail ballots that are personally delivered must be delivered no later than the close of polls at 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.
  • Anyone may return your ballot for you, as long as they do not get paid on a per ballot basis. In order for your ballot to be counted, you must fill out the authorization section found on the outside of your ballot envelope. 

GET YOUR BALLOT IN EARLY: A list of Early Voting and Vote-By-Mail Drop Off Locations can also be found here

Finding your polling place:

Californians who may need access to in-person voting opportunities – including individuals with disabilities, individuals who speak languages other than English, individuals experiencing homelessness, and others – will still be able to access in-person voting opportunities. –CA.Gov

To find your polling place, please visit: https://www.vote.org/polling-place-locator/

Troubleshooting: What if I don’t receive my ballot in the mail?
  1. Track your ballot – when it is mailed, received, and counted- here: https://voterstatus.sos.ca.gov/
  1. Contact your County Elections office and alert them of the issue. 

In California, any registered voter can go to a county elections office in person to request and receive a vote-by-mail ballot.


  1. If you don’t receive your mail-in ballot in time, you can still vote! 
    • On Election Day, Go to Your Polling Place and Let Them Know You Never Received Your Mail-In Ballot. 
    • You will be able to vote provisionally on Election Day at your polling place. Your provisional ballot will be counted when your County Elections Official verifies your voter registration. 

Protect Your Vote

Election Protection Guide (vote.org)

You have the right to vote. If anyone tries to stop you, call the Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-687-8683. 

Protect your vote. The lines may be long, but as long as you are in line when the polls close, you will be allowed to cast your ballot. If you leave the line, you may not be able to vote.

If you experience: intimidation, harassment, false information about voting requirements, or people impersonating poll workers or election officials, call the Election Protection (866-687-8683) immediately. 

If you are told you are not on the voter roll:

  • Confirm that you are registered to vote, and confirm that you are at the right polling place.
  • If you registered and are not showing up on the voter roll, call the Election Protection Hotline (866-687-8683).
    • Did you recently move? If so and you didn’t update your registration, you are likely on the voter roll of your old polling place.
    • Check with a poll worker to see if you can update your registration and vote a regular ballot where you are. Otherwise, you may need to vote at your old polling location or at a central polling place.
    • Make sure the poll worker is spelling your name correctly and is looking in every place that you could be listed. Ask a poll worker if there is a separate “inactive” or “suspense” list of voters that you may be on. Many states maintain similar lists of voters who have not recently voted. If you are on this list, you can still cast a regular ballot.

If you are being turned away from voting for not having the proper ID:

  • Confirm which forms of ID your state accepts
  • Figure out if you have anything on you that qualifies. Some states accept documents you may not think of as ID, like a paystub or utility bill with your address.
  • Do you have something at home that qualifies that you can go back and get? If you can’t come back the same day, some states may allow you to come back and show your ID following Election Day. Ask a poll worker if this is an option.
  • In several states where ID is required (CT, ID, IA, LA, MI, MT, NH, SD, TN), you may be able to vote without proper ID by signing something under oath.
  • Cast a provisional ballot if that is your only option. In some states that require ID, your provisional ballot will be counted if your signature matches what is on file in the voter registry.

If you cast a provisional ballot:

  • Ask for written instructions about what you must do to ensure the provisional ballot will be counted.
  • Ask for a phone number you can call to confirm if your vote was counted.

IMPORTANT: In 27 states, if you cast a provisional ballot at the wrong polling location, your vote will not be counted. In California, You need to vote a provisional ballot at any polling place in the county in which you are registered to vote. 

———————————

  1. SEND IN YOUR BALLOT ASAP
  1. If you live in California and are registered to vote, you will automatically receive your ballot in the mail at the mailing address included in your registration. You can check your voter registration here and track the status of your ballot here. 
  1. Please see our Troubleshooting section if you have any issues in receiving your ballot. 
  1. For other state’s absentee ballot rules, please see here. 
Other Ways to Make a Difference

Educate yourself and others on the candidates and the issues

Vote411.org is a great nonpartisan resource for educating yourself on state and general election candidates and issues.

See what will be on your ballot on November 3rd today! 

Volunteer Opportunities 

It is feared that the United States will face a massive shortage of poll workers on Election Day. As a result, civic engagement coalitions like Power the Polls, are “reaching out to healthy, low-risk candidates to ensure that workers most susceptible to the coronavirus are given the space to take care of their health, while still keeping polling sites open and available for efficient in-person voting.”

For those interested in volunteering as a poll worker on Election Day or on Early Voting Days, please visit here. 

Furthermore, 411vote.org is a great resource to see what candidates and issues will be on your ballot and gives you the links to candidate websites where you can sign up for volunteer opportunities. 

Ways to Get Out the Vote

  • Encourage your friends and family to register to vote if they haven’t already and to send their ballots in ASAP! 
  • Visit Rock the Vote, a civic engagement nonprofit, for a Get Out The Vote Toolkit! 
  • Take Rock the Vote’s Voting Pledge, and then remind three friends to vote as well! 
  • Post on social media once you’ve mailed in your ballot and encourage others to get their ballots in! 

Help Save the United States Postal Service (USPS) 

The United States Postal Service is in danger of going bankrupt without action from Congress. USPS has been decimated by the COVID-19 Pandemic, and federal aid will be crucial in keeping USPS running efficiently.

Millions of Americans rely on USPS for essential medication, supplies, and communication. 

Furthermore, with an expected surge in Mail-In Voting Ballots in this year’s election due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is absolutely critical that USPS has the resources it needs in order to help ensure a free and fair election. 

Steps you can take to help protect the United States Postal Service (USPS) 

  1. Call your Senators!
    1.  On August 22nd, the House of Representatives passed 25bn in aid for the USPS to help ensure ballots arrive in time to be counted during the coronavirus pandemic. 
  1. Sign a petition voicing your support for the United States Postal Service
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