General FAQs


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

Yes. There are circumstances under which a voter can be required to Vote by Mail. If a precinct has fewer than 250 registered voters on the 88th day before an election, that precinct can be declared by the Elections Official to be a “Mail Ballot Precinct.” All Mail Ballot voters are notified of the change in status and mailed an official ballot.

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 moved within San Mateo County 14 days or less before the election, go to the polling place for your new address or to the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division. If you go to the polling place for your new address, you will be asked to vote provisionally. When we process your provisional ballot, your address will be updated. 

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 voting device 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 at 650.312.5222 and request assistance.

Finally, if a voter prefers to vote at home, he/she can sign up to Vote by Mail.

In 2017, the County of San Mateo introduced an Accessible Vote by Mail 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.

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 Election Office must receive the completed/signed voter registration form on or before the date the petition is filed with the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division.

How can I find out my districts (congressional, legislative, supervisorial, etc.)?

Contact the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division at 650.312.5222, visit our website homepage 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 dropped off at the polls, Vote by Mail ballots received 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. 

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

No. San Mateo County uses a fully electronic voting machine called an eSlate, but it is not a touch screen.

Voters navigate the ballot by turning the dial on the eSlate. A voter makes ballot choices by pressing the “Enter” button. The eSlate gives the voter many different ways to correct or change a voting choice before the ballot is cast. The eSlate produces a printed paper record of all the choices made; this lets the voter verify that it is correct before they press the “Cast Ballot” button to make it official.

Because of the eSlate voting machine’s numerous accessibility features people are able to vote privately and independently. To find out more about the eSlate please watch our YouTube video.