Need Help?

Skip to Content

CCA Portal

How to Vote in a Federal Election

Last updated on Aug 03, 2021

STEP 1: 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 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. 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.

tov-english_Page_1.jpg

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. 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.

But 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.

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.

CALIFORNIA DEADLINES

  • 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.

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. 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. 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 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:

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. Here’s a link to COVID-19 info and voting. 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.

California voters

  • 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).