Ways to Vote


Ways to Vote

How to Vote

Voting is the fundamental right of every U.S. citizen. The San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division strives to uphold and preserve this right through voter registration, voter education and accessible voting options.

Here you will find information on where, when and how you can vote.

As a voter, we thank you for partnering with us in this core element of democracy. 


Vote by Mail/Drop Box

Every registered voter in San Mateo County will be mailed a ballot beginning 29 days before Election Day. Here you will find more information on Vote by Mail ballots and the different ways you can return your voted ballot.


Vote Centers
Vote Early or on Election Day

California law allows voters to cast their ballot during the 29-day period prior to Election Day and on Election Day. You may cast your ballot via mail, or vote in person on paper or using the ballot marking tablet.

Each Vote Center will contain English, Spanish, and Chinese ballots as well as a reference ballot in Burmese, Filipino, Hindi, Japanese, and Korean for certain precincts.

မဲပေးဌာနတိုင်းတွင် အင်္ဂလိပ်၊ စပိန်နှင့် တရုတ်ဘာသာ မဲစာရွက်များနှင့် အချို့သော မဲဆန္ဒနယ်များအတွက် မြန်မာ၊ ဖိလစ်ပိုင်၊ ဟင်ဒီ၊ ဂျပန်နှင့် ကိုရီးယားဘာသာဖြင့် ရည်ညွှန်းမဲစာရွ က်လည်း ပါဝင်ပါသည်။

Bawat Sentro ng Pagboto ay magtataglay ng mga balota sa Ingles, Espanyol at Tsino gayon din ng isang sangguniang balota sa Burmese, Filipino, Hindi, Hapon at Koreano para sa mga partikular na presinto.

प्रत्येक मतदान केंद्र में अंग्रेजी, स्पैनिश और चीनी भाषा में मतपत्र उपलब्ध होंगे और साथ ही कुछ क्षेत्रों में बर्मी, फिलीपीनो, हिंदी, जापानी और कोरियाई भाषा में एक संदर्भ मतपत्र भी उपलब्ध होगा।

には、英語、スペイン語および中国語の投票用紙が備えられ、また一部の投票区には、ビルマ語フィリピン語、ヒ ンディー語、日本語、韓国語およびビルマ語の参照用投票用紙が用意されます。

각 투표 센터는 버마어, 필리핀어, 일본어 그리고 한국어 투표지를 구비하고 있으며 특정 선거구에 대해서는 필리핀어, 힌디어, 일본어, 한국어 및 버마어로 된 참조 투표지를 구비합니다.


Dominion Democracy Suite Voting System

Beginning with the November 5, 2019 Consolidated Municipal, School and Special District Election, San Mateo County adopted the Democracy Suite Voting System from Dominion Voting Systems. The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors approved a contract to lease the new system on July 9, 2019. The system was also successfully deployed for the March 3, 2020 Presidential Primary Election and the November 3, 2020 Presidential General Election.

Democracy Suite is a fully integrated, highly secure voting system. Using the Democracy Suite system will result in upgrades to multiple components of the County’s election system, including touchscreen ballot marking tablets and ballot printers in the Vote Centers for an improved voter experience. Additionally, the system will provide faster scanning technologies, and improved election security and management at the County’s Registration & Elections Division office.


Remote Accessible Vote by Mail (RAVBM) System
Voting Service Now Available to All Voters

When symbol

In 2017, San Mateo County was the first county in California to deploy a Remote Accessible Vote by Mail (RAVBM) System for voters with disabilities. The State of California allowed all voters to use approved RAVBM systems as one of their voting options for the November 3, 2020 Presidential General Election due to COVID-19. As COVID-19 remains a concern, the state is once again allowed all voters the option for the September 14, 2021 California Gubernatorial Recall Election to vote from home if they have a computer with internet access and a printer. After its wide use in two elections, the ability to use RAVBM will remain available to all voters in future elections.

If a voter does not have a computer, internet access or a printer, this system is available at the Registration & Elections Division, 40 Tower Road in San Mateo as well as local libraries. Marked ballots must be returned to the Registrations & Elections Division by mail; they cannot be emailed or faxed unless you are a military or overseas voter.

The ballot is provided in a screen-readable format as the system was designed to allow voters with disabilities to independently and safely access, mark and print their ballot.

Ballots can be returned using the postage-paid return envelope which comes with a Vote by Mail ballot package or using a personal envelope. If the postage-paid envelope is used, the voter should sign on the provided space on the back. If a personal envelope is used, the voter must include a completed Oath of Voter form, which can be found on the instructions page with the personal Remote Accessible Vote by Mail link.


Uniformed and Overseas Voters

Military & Overseas Voter Information San Mateo County voters who are:

  • Members of the Uniformed Services or Merchant Marine on active duty
  • Spouses or dependents of a member of the Uniformed Services or Merchant Marine on active duty
  • Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • U.S. citizens living abroad with an intent to return
  • U.S. citizens living abroad with no intent to return

may register and apply for a ballot by completing a Federal Post Card Application form (FPCA).


Assistance for Voters with Disabilities

The Registration & Elections Division has a long-standing commitment to working with voters with disabilities to help them exercise their right to vote. 

Through site visits and cooperation from various facilities throughout San Mateo County, all voting locations are ADA accessible to voters with disabilities under ADA Title II and in compliance with guidelines set by the California Secretary of State.