How to Vote in a Federal Election
STEP 1: MAKE A VOTING PLAN
STEP 2: RESEARCH YOUR BALLOT
STEP 3: VOTE!
Student Volunteering Opportunities
STEP 1: MAKE A VOTING PLAN
Check your voter status.
First, you should confirm that you're registered to vote by checking your voter status on this website.
If you've registered in California, you'll automatically receive a vote-by-mail ballot. Ballots will be mailed a month before the election 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.
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 Vote! section below for more details on each of these voting options.
Time Off to Vote for Employees
As noted in the staff handbook, CCA employees may take a maximum of two hours off from work to vote in a statewide election without loss of pay. They should take this time off at the beginning or end of the regular shift, and when possible give their supervisor at least two days’ notice. Here is a link to the state-issued Time Off to Vote poster.
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.
DEADLINES FOR ALL 50 STATES
Every state has different deadlines and voting rules. To check your state’s requirements, visit Vote.org and scroll down to find your state.
- If you need to change where your ballot is mailed, re-register to vote at least 7 days before Election Day.
- Absentee Ballots must be postmarked by Election Day and received no later than 17 days after the Election.
- Early voting typically starts 29 days before the election and ends the day before the election, but varies by county. Voters should contact their county elections office to see if they offer early voting. Most California voters at CCA can find relevant information on the Official Election Site of Alameda County or the San Francisco Department of Elections website.
STEP 2: 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.
CalMatters California Election 2022 Voter Guide: Learn about state offices and ballot measures for the 2022 California General Election, including an interactive quiz and one-minute explainer videos
Voters Edge 2022 California Election Guide: Learn about ballot measures and candidates for San Francisco County, Alameda County, and other Bay Area counties.
KQED’s Bay Curious podcast: Learn about the seven California ballot propositions in KQED’s Prop. Fest series (Sept. 29-Oct. 6).
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 3: VOTE!
How to VOTE EARLY (strongly recommended).
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. You can mail in your absentee or mail-in ballot at least a week or two in advance of Election day, or drop off your ballot at a local Elections dropoff box. Or you can vote early in person. For your vote to count, 30 of the 50 states require that your ballot be received by Election Day. To check your state’s requirements, visit Vote.org and scroll down to find your state.
How to vote in person on Election Day.
Go to Vote.org and scroll down to find your state. Be sure to look up your polling place in advance so you can plan how to get there. IMPORTANT: There could be long lines at your polling place on Election Day so please vote early if at all possible. You may be asked to provide a form of photo or residence identification so please bring that with you.
- Drop off your ballot at any polling location near you (California ballots only).
- Drop off your ballot at CCA's official polling place in Blattner Hall.
- 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 7am and 8pm. Be sure to look up your polling location in advance so you can plan how to get there or text Vote to GOVOTE (468683).
Student Volunteer Opportunities
ACLU NorCal is looking for text bank volunteers age 25 and under to Get Out The Vote for the upcoming General Election. It’s easy to text using their platform and they’ll train you. Text bank sessions will be held Nov. 1-8 and you can sign up for individual shifts.
The San Francisco Department of Elections needs poll workers to serve at polling places across the city on Election Day, November 8. For their service, poll workers receive a stipend between $225 and $295. You must be a U.S. citizen and registered to vote in California or lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States. More details can be found here.
Mobilize.us lists a large number of events and volunteer opportunities related to the upcoming General Election. Use the filters to find local events and virtual opportunities to help campaigns in other states.
- Register to vote in California
- How to vote anywhere in the US, check your registration status, get your absentee ballot, and more.
- California Early Voting and Vote-by-Mail Ballot Drop Off Locations
- Best Colleges Student Voting Guide
- Voter's Edge California Voter Guide
- Ballotpedia Sample Ballot Lookup
- CalMatters 2022 Election Guide
- Voter's Edge 2022 California Election Guide