This page contains useful information and links related to voting. The information provided here is specifically targeted for people with disabilities who live in one of the five counties in California that FREED serves – Nevada, Yuba, Sutter, Colusa, and Sierra – but some of this information is applicable statewide.
Your Vote Matters!
Watch this informative video by Disability Rights California about voting in California with a disability.
“Your Vote Matters!” video provided by Disability Rights California.
Two Useful Voter Information Guides
Here are two useful voter information guides for the November 3, 2020 Presidential Election in California:
- Official Voter Information Guide – produced by the California Secretary of State.
- Easy Voter Guide – produced by the League of Women Voters® of California Education Fund and the California State Library.
To vote in the November 3, 2020 Presidential Election, you must be registered to vote. If you are not registered to vote, you can do so online through this page on the California Secretary of State’s website. On that website, you can also check the status of your voter registration and find out how to contact your local county elections official.
In California, the deadline to register to vote for any election is 15 days before Election Day, so in order to vote in the November 3, 2020 Presidential Election, your registration must be postmarked or submitted electronically no later than October 19, 2020. To learn more about the voter registration process in California, and for information on how to request a paper voter registration application, visit this page on the California Secretary of State’s website.
Same Day Voter Registration
Same Day Voter Registration, known as Conditional Voter Registration in state law, is a safety net for Californians who miss the deadline to register to vote or update their voter registration information for an election. Eligible citizens who need to register or re-register to vote within 14 days of an election can complete this process to register and vote at their county elections office, polling place, or vote center. Their ballots will be processed and counted once the county elections office has completed the voter registration verification process. Find out more on this page on the California Secretary of State’s website.
In-Person Voting and Vote-By-Mail
As a registered voter in California, you are entitled to cast your vote independently and privately. Your polling place and vote center should be physically accessible. If you need physical help with the voting process, you can ask election workers for the help you need. You can also bring someone to assist you and bring materials with you to help you remember how you want to vote. It is entirely your choice how you vote. No one can tell you how to vote. It is your choice whether you vote independently or have someone assist you, and it is up to you who you ask for assistance.
Counties are required to provide accessible voting machines for people with disabilities who wish to vote in person, even if your county is entirely vote-by-mail. Contact your local county election office to find out where and when you can vote using an accessible voting machine, or you can use this tool on the California Secretary of State’s website to find your voting location.
All Registered Voters in California Will Receive a Vote-By-Mail Ballot Prior to the November 3, 2020 Presidential Election.
On May 8, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an Executive Order, mandating that a vote-by-mail ballot be mailed to each registered voter in the state of California prior to the November 3, 2020 Presidential Election in addition to offering in-person voting locations. In order to be sent a vote-by-mail ballot, you must be a registered voter. If you believe you are already registered, you can verify your registration online with the California Secretary of State’s My Voter Status tool.
Once you receive your vote-by-mail ballot, you have several options. This year, in efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, it is recommended that those who are able fill out their vote-by-mail ballot at home and then either return it by mail or drop it at a vote center or ballot drop box in your county. To find out where you can drop off your completed vote-by-mail ballot, contact your local county election office.
Remote Accessible Vote-by-Mail
Remote Accessible Vote-by-Mail (RAVBM) systems allow voters with disabilities to cast their vote privately and independently from home. RAVBM IS NOT internet voting. RAVBM systems give a voter with a disability an opportunity to download a ballot, allowing them to read it and mark it using their own assistive technology device. At that point, the voter with a disability has to print out their selections and return them to the County Elections Office. To request a Remote Accessible Vote-by-Mail ballot, contact your local county election office. Find out more about Remote Accessible Vote-by-Mail on this page (PDF) on the California Secretary of State’s website.
“Accessible Vote by Mail for Voters with Disabilities” video provided by Disability Rights California.
Disability Rights California’s Election Day Voting Hotline
If you have a disability and you are having trouble voting on Election Day, you can call Disability Rights California’s Election Day Voting Hotline at 888-569-7955, TTY 800-719-5798. Disability Rights California is here to help voters with disabilities have a successful voting experience.
Join a Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee (VAAC)!
Voting Accessibility Advisory Committees (VAACs) are designed to advise, assist, and provide recommendations to county election offices as to how voters with disabilities can vote independently and privately. VAACs can also help with education and outreach to the disability community in the county. Not all counties in California have a VAAC. Contact your local county election office to find out if your county has a VAAC. If not, you can suggest that they start one, and you can offer to help! Here’s a great toolkit (PDF) from the California Secretary of State on forming VAACs.
Nevada County – If you are a current rider of Gold Country LIFT, you can get a FREE ride to and from your closest vote center. Contact the LIFT to arrange for your ride.
More Questions About Voting in California?
Are you a Californian with a disability who is eligible to vote? Do you have questions that were not answered on this page? Disability Rights California has a number of resources on voting in California. You can find them here. Still have questions? Contact FREED.