Vote Centers will be open throughout San Mateo County starting 29
days prior to the Election. You will find Vote Center locations
on the back of your Sample Ballot & Voter Information Pamphlet or
online here. Registered
voters may vote in person at any San Mateo County Vote Center,
request a replacement ballot or drop off their voted ballot.
Vote Center Representatives will be on hand to help voters
When are the Vote Centers open for voting?
You will find Vote Center locations on the back of your Sample
Ballot & Voter Information Pamphlet or online here. In addition, Vote
Centers are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day. By law,
you have a right to vote if you are in line at the Vote Center by
the close of the polls.
Why was my Vote Center changed?
In California, there are no permanent Vote Centers. Locations may
change from election to election. Sometimes a facility that was
used previously may not be available for a particular election.
Changes to precinct boundaries may sometimes occur when precincts
are consolidated or realigned, especially for local elections
that are not statewide.
Can I take my Sample Ballot or my own written voting choices into
the voting booth?
Yes. It is recommended that you mark your voting choices in your
Sample Ballot and take it to the Vote Center on Election Day. You
can refer to your Sample Ballot to make your choices. Remember to
take your Sample Ballot out of the voting booth after you have
If I do not know what to do when I get to the Vote Center, will
someone help me?
Yes. Ask the Vote Center Representatives to help you with the
voting process. Vote Center Representatives cannot, however, help
you in making decisions on your voting choices.
I only speak limited English, is there oral assistance or are
written voting materials available in languages other than
Yes. In accordance with federal law, San Mateo County provides
voter registration information, election materials and oral
assistance in English, Spanish and Chinese. Additionally,
Vote Centers that have been identified as requiring oral language
assistance are staffed with bilingual Vote Center Representatives
whenever possible. Signs are posted in those locations
identifying the minority languages spoken.
Can I vote for someone whose name is not listed on the ballot?
Yes. You may vote for a write-in candidate whose name is not
printed or displayed on the ballot. Only votes for qualified
write-in candidates will be counted. Ask Vote Center
Representatives or call the San Mateo County Registration &
Elections Division at 650.312.5222 for a list of qualified
write-in candidates. Elections Officials can also assist you with
write-in voting procedures.
If a candidate that I voted for drops out of the election, can I
change my vote or vote again for a different candidate?
No. Once you vote (cast your ballot), you cannot change your vote
or vote again regardless of whether a candidate drops out before
Why don’t I see my city council/school district on my ballot?
San Mateo County’s election landscape is changing. Most scheduled
local elections will no longer occur in odd-numbered years
beginning in 2017. Senate Bill No. 415 (SB 415), also known as
the California Voter Participation Rights Act, mandates
jurisdictions with odd-year elections to move to even-year
elections by November 2022 if voter turnout falls below a
threshold established by law. The new law aims to increase voter
participation and lower costs in local elections since
even-numbered year elections have higher voter turnout. More
information can be found at Senate
Bill 415: Elections Moving from Odd to Even Years.
I have to work and therefore have no time to vote, what should I
According to California Elections Code, employees are eligible
for paid time off for the purpose of voting only if they do not
have sufficient time outside of working hours to vote. Employees
can be given as much time as they need in order to vote, but only
a maximum of two hours is paid. Alternatively, all registered
voters will receive a Vote By Mail ballot. Ballots can be dropped
off through the mail, at any Vote Center, as well as at Ballot
Drop Off Box locations.
How do I vote if I can’t get to a Vote Center?
ALL registered voters will be mailed a Vote by Mail ballot
beginning 29 days prior to Election Day. You can complete the
ballot and return it by mail in the included postage-paid
envelope. You can also drop off your completed ballot at ANY
Vote Center or Ballot Drop Box Location.
You also can go to any Vote Center to
cast your ballot in person either on paper or on a ballot marking
Please note – there is no online voting. You
have a choice of either completing your Vote by Mail ballot and
returning in the mail or dropping it off OR voting at a Vote
If you do not receive your Vote by Mail ballot by 20 days before
the election, contact the Registration & Elections Division by
text or phone at 650.312.5222 to request another ballot.
The County of San Mateo has added a translation feature developed by Google Translate to assist web visitors in understanding information on this website in a variety of foreign languages. Please be aware that Google Translate, a free third party service which the County does not control, provides automated computer translations that may not give you an exact translation. The County cannot guarantee the accuracy of translations through Google Translate so translations should not be considered exact and only used as a rough guide. Anyone relying on information obtained from Google Translate does so at his or her own risk. The County disclaims and will not accept any liability for damages or losses of any kind caused by the use of the Google Translate feature.