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HOW TO VOTE IN FOUR STEPS

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STEP 1: REGISTER TO VOTE

Decide where to register.

Your voter registration record should always reflect your current residence. If your move is permanent, you can update your California residence address by re-registering online or by submitting a paper voter registration application. You can also send a signed letter to your current county elections official, informing them of your move and providing them with your date of birth and current address, even if it is in a different county. However, if you have already updated your residence address at the Department of Motor Vehicles or the U.S. Postal Service, your registration will be automatically updated with your new address.

CCA students may register at their local Bay Area address or choose to remain registered or register at their permanent or home state address. Choosing which address to use when you register to vote is a personal decision. Whatever you decide, you cannot register to vote in two places during the same election cycle. You also can't vote in more than one location—it’s considered voter fraud.

Determine if you are eligible to vote.

To register in California you must:

  1. be a citizen of the United States;
  2. be a resident* of California;
  3. be at least 18 years of age by or on Nov. 3, 2020;
  4. not be imprisoned or on parole for the conviction of a felony;
  5. not currently be judged mentally incompetent by a court of law.

If you plan to vote elsewhere, go to Vote.org and scroll down to find your home state.

*Students don't have to be permanent CA residents, they just have to be residing in CA at the time of the Nov. 3 election.

Check your voter registration.

If you think you're already registered but you're not sure, or if you haven't voted lately, it takes less than 30 seconds to check your registration status on Vote.org (all 50 states). If you have any doubt, go ahead and check now.

Register to vote.

If you're planning to vote in California, it takes less than two minutes to register online using this website. You can also request and complete a paper voter registration form and mail or hand deliver it to your county elections office. You can look that up on the California Secretary of State's website.

If you are a student residing in Founders Hall this Fall, use this address on your registration form:

Student's first and last name

188 Hooper Street, [add your room number]

San Francisco, CA 94107

If you want to vote in your home state, it'll only take a couple of minutes to register online at Vote.org.

If you are a U.S. citizen living temporarily outside the United States, you can register to vote and request a vote-by-mail ballot using the Federal Post Card Application that is used by all Americans who are living abroad at the time of the Nov. 3 election.

MONDAY, OCT. 19 is the California deadline to register online or register via mail (postmarked by) to vote in the 2020 General Election. If you are voting in your home state, you can look up the deadline on Vote.org.

Common student concerns about California voter registration.

Does registering to vote affect my financial status as a student? Registering to vote does not affect your:

  • Federal Financial Aid. Where you register to vote will not affect federal financial aid such as Pell Grants, Perkins or Stafford loans, or your dependency status for FAFSA.
  • Status as a Dependent on Your Parents' Taxes. Being registered to vote at a different address from your parents does not prevent them from claiming you as a dependent on their taxes.
  • Tuition Status. Being deemed out-of-state for tuition purposes does not prevent you from choosing to register to vote in your campus community.
  • Does registering to vote in California affect my driver's license or car registration? Registering to vote in California does not necessarily change your driver's license and motor vehicle registration. However, as a full–time student in California, you may have to make these changes regardless of whether you register to vote in California. For more information, you may wish to contact the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

source: Campus Vote Project


STEP 2: MAKE A VOTING PLAN

Check your voter status.

First, you should confirm that you're registered to vote by checking your California voter status on this website. If you've registered, you'll automatically receive a vote-by-mail ballot. Ballots will be mailed on October 5 to every active, registered voter in California. If you register after that date, then you'll receive your ballot later.

Go to the ballottrax website to track the status of your ballot through every step of the election process. You can also opt in to receive automatic notifications on the status of your vote-by-mail ballots by text message, email, or voice call.

If you are registered out of state, you may need to submit a request to have a mail-in ballot sent to you. This reference chart shows when and how to vote in all 50 states, including deadlines for submitting a mail-in ballot request and the deadline for returning your completed ballot.

Decide how you will cast your vote.

The COVID-19 pandemic and current United States Postal Service delays are impacting the upcoming election so we highly recommend that you VOTE EARLY to ensure that your ballot is counted. Whenever possible, it's better to drop off your ballot at a local Elections dropoff box than to mail it. Or you can vote early in person where you won't have to stand in long lines to vote and you can more easily practice socially distancing.

If you do plan to vote in person on Election Day, be sure to look up your polling place in advance so you can plan how to get there. See the key dates section below for more details on each of these voting options.

Remember these key dates.

The easiest way to keep track of everything is to sign up for email or text reminders (link is good for all 50 states) so you don't miss important deadlines.

CALIFORNIA DEADLINES

Tuesday, Sept. 22 - National Voter Registration Day

Oct. 5 through Nov. 2 - We strongly recommend that you VOTE EARLY using one of these methods:

  • Any California registered voter may vote in person or pick up a vote-by-mail ballot at these locations.
  • Drop off your ballot at secured dropboxes monitored by county election offices throughout California.
  • Return your ballot via mail (USPS mail box). Due to current USPS delays, it's important to mail your ballot back EARLY enough to arrive on time. It must be postmarked by USPS on or before November 3, 2020 and received by your county elections office no later than November 20, 2020.

Mon, Oct. 19 - deadline to register online or register via mail (postmarked by) to vote in the 2020 General Election.

Oct. 20 through Nov. 2 - Voters can conditionally register and vote after the 15-day voter registration deadline at these locations. Conditional voter registration is a safety net for Californians who miss the deadline to register to vote or update their voter registration information. These ballots will be processed once the county elections office has completed the voter registration verification process.

Tuesday, Nov. 3 - ELECTION DAY for the 2020 General Election. If you miss the other deadlines, you can still register and vote ON Election Day between 7 am and 8 pm, but use this option as a last resort because it's better to vote EARLY. Look up your polling location on the California Secretary of State's website or text Vote to GOVOTE (468683).


STEP 3: RESEARCH YOUR BALLOT

What are the issues and races in your voter district? Research the pros and cons of each issue. Look up info on the candidates that are running and see how their policies and voting records align with your own values. Here are a few nonpartisan sites you can check out. They don't make endorsements; they present the information needed to make your own voting decisions.

Ballotpedia: Compare candidates and issues across parties and sample ballots—specific to your zip code.

League of Women Voters California: Provides information on how to vote, compares candidates and issues.

Best Colleges Student Voting Guide: This site examines major issues, especially as they affect students, comparing each party's stance.


STEP 4: VOTE!

How to VOTE EARLY (strongly recommended).

  • If you're registered to vote in California, you can vote in person or pick up a vote-by-mail ballot at these locations from October 5 through November 2.
  • Drop off your ballot at secured dropboxes monitored by county election offices throughout California from October 5 through November 2.
  • Return your ballot via mail (USPS mail box). Due to current USPS delays, it's important to mail your ballot back EARLY enough to arrive on time. It must be postmarked by USPS on or before November 3, 2020 and received by your county elections office no later than November 20, 2020.

How to vote on Election Day.

We strongly recommend that you VOTE EARLY but if for some reason you can't, here's how you can vote ON Election Day:

  • Drop off your ballot at any polling location near you (California ballots only).
  • Drop off your ballot at CCA's official polling place, the Student Center Lounge on our SF campus.
  • Return your ballot via mail (USPS mail box). It must be picked up early enough to be postmarked by USPS the same day.
  • Vote in person (and register too, if necessary) ON Election Day between 7 am and 8 pm. Be sure to look up your polling location in advance so you can plan how to get there or text Vote to GOVOTE (468683).


CCA Voter Friendly Campus Resources

CCA's Voter Friendly Campus Action Plan

At CCA, we’re committed to working with students, faculty, staff, and election officials to reduce barriers to student voting. We are currently working toward an official Voter Friendly Campus designation. The Voter Friendly Campus designation program was started by the Campus Vote Project and National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) in 2016. The goal of the program is to help institutions develop plans to coordinate administrators, faculty, and student organizations in civic and electoral engagement. See the college's 2020 Action Plan.

In addition, CCA’s President, Stephen Beal, has personally signed the Higher Education Presidents’ Commitment to Full Student Voter Participation for the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, and is championing the work of Creative Citizens in Action (CCA@CCA). Our goal is to increase student voting rates, help students form the habits of active and informed citizenship, and make democratic participation a core value on our campus.

Census Information

Completing the 2020 U.S. Census is a form of activism and resistance. The census brings money, resources, and political power to your community so it's important that everyone is counted. You and your families do NOT need to be U.S. citizens to participate. The census is available in multiple languages and there are accessible options for people of all abilities to participate in the most democratic process in the United States. Complete your Census online before the September 30 cutoff date and share this link with everyone you know: my2020census.gov

Related Events at CCA

If I Could Teach You Anything: How to Register to Vote Tuesday, September 15, 4–5pm | Zoom | Students

Register to Vote Session Tuesday, September 22, 12:30–1:30pm | Zoom | CCA Faculty, Staff, and Students