General FAQs

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Are there circumstances under which a voter can be required to Vote by Mail?

If a city or district chooses to have a special election, it may choose to have it held by mail. The Registration & Elections Division office at 40 Tower Road in San Mateo will serve as a Vote Center for those who wish to vote in person, need a replacement ballot, would like language assistance or to use our accessible Ballot Marking Tablet.

How can I apply to work at a Vote Center?

Fill out the online Vote Center Representative application form.

What do I do if I move before the election?

If you move within San Mateo County 14 days or less before the election, go to any Vote Center to update your local address on your check-in form and vote.

I am disabled/physically challenged. Is there any assistance for me?

Our voting system is compliant with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). It has audio headphones, raised braille labeled keys and adaptive devices that provide large tactile buttons for motor issues as well as sip-and-puff capability. We also provide curbside voting if you cannot enter the polling place. A Vote Center Representative will bring your ballot and a paper ballot to your vehicle to enable you to vote.

Voters who wish to have a copy of the Sample Ballot & Official Voter Information Pamphlet provided to them in an audio format prior to the election may contact the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division by phone or text at 650.312.5222 and request assistance.

If a voter prefers to vote at home, he/she can use a Vote by Mail ballot or our Remote Accessible Vote by Mail system.

In 2017, the County of San Mateo introduced a home-based accessible system which allows voters with disabilities to vote privately and independently by accessing and marking an electronic ballot in a screen-readable format on any computer. Voters using this system will log in online and download their ballot to a computer, mark their choices and then print the ballot out. The ballot would then need to be returned to the Registration & Elections Division.

I would like to run for office. What are the qualifications and requirements?

Candidate qualifications and filing requirements are specific to each elected office. For general information regarding candidate qualifications, filing requirements, filing periods, campaign statement/financial disclosure reporting, call 650.312.5222 or review the Candidates & Campaigns section of this website. If you are interested in running for a City office, you should contact your City Clerk for more information.

May I sign a petition if I am not registered to vote?

No. You must be a registered voter for your signature to be valid on a petition. If you complete and sign a voter registration form on the same date or a date prior to signing the petition, your signature will be valid. The completed/signed voter registration form must be received by the Registration & Elections Division on or before the date the petition is filed with the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division.

How can I find out my districts and/or who my representatives are (congressional, legislative, supervisorial, etc.)?

Contact the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division at 650.312.5222, select “Am I Registered to Vote/Ballot Tracking” on our web site, or check your Sample Ballot & Official Voter Information Pamphlet.

How do I get election results?

Get election results online or call the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division at 650.312.5222. Election night results are published online simultaneously with their release. The first results are posted at 8:05 p.m. and can be found on our website. Thereafter, results are published every half hour beginning at 8:30 p.m.

Updates are posted online in the week that follows the election. The updates that are added include: Vote by Mail ballots returned in Drop Boxes, Vote by Mail ballots received through the mail at the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division on Election Day and eligible provisional ballots.

Can I receive advice on which candidates or ballot measures that I should support or oppose?

No. The San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division is prohibited from offering advice to voters regarding how a voter should cast their vote.

However, your Sample Ballot & Official Voter Information Pamphlet will contain submitted statements, analyses and arguments that can be used to help you make your decisions. You may also wish to review the nonpartisan online guide, Voter’s Edge California at votersedge.org/ca. It is a joint project of MapLight and the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund.

Does San Mateo use touch screen voting? What type of voting machines/technology does San Mateo County use?

Yes. San Mateo County uses Ballot Marking Tablets with touch screens.

The tablets offer numerous accessibility features, allowing people to vote privately and independently. To find out more about the Ballot Marking Tablets, please watch our YouTube video.