Do I need a California ID to vote? Where is my Polling Place? The Quick and Easy Guide to Election Day

by on November 5, 2012 · 0 comments

in California, Civil Rights, Election, Popular, San Diego

Here are some frequently asked questions about election day voting in San Diego County. The source for all of the information below is provided by the League of Women Voters at unless otherwise specified. Information in Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese and Filipino here.

Update: If you found this site and you are a California voter but do not live in San Diego County, search here for your polling place and ballot information.

Update: In order to vote, you must be a U.S. citizen and you must already be registered to vote.  There is no same day registration in CA.

You can check to see if you are registered in San Diego County here.  (Only use your house/apartment number – do not include the street name/number.)

When are the polls open?

Polls are open on election day Tuesday, November 6, 2012 from 7am to 8pm. If you are in the line at the polling place prior to 8pm, you have the right to vote.

Where is my polling place?

The Sample Ballot and Voter Information Pamphlet you received in the mail from the County of San Diego Registrar of Voters has the polling place info on the back page.

  • You can enter your address at the Registrar of Voter site and receive polling place info. Here’s another site.
  • You can call the San Diego Registrar of Voters at 858-565-5800
  • You can call the Central Library at 619-236-5800 or call or visit your local library

UPDATE: Can I vote at any polling place in the county?

Yes, you can, but there are reasons not to. (Source: Cindy at Registrar of Voters 11/5/12)

  • Ballots are not the same throughout the county. If you go to a precinct other than the one you are assigned, only the votes for the candidates and measures on which you were entitled to vote in your assigned precinct will be counted.(Source)
  • Your ballot will be handled as a provisional ballot.  (Provisional ballots are counted.)
  • You cannot cast your ballot in a different county.

Do I need a California State ID to Vote?

  • If you have voted before and your name is on the roster of voters, no. (Ed. note: You will be asked your name and address; the poll worker will repeat each back to you. Then you sign the roster of voters list. That’s it.)
  • If this is your first time voting and you are registered by mail without giving your California driver’s license or state identification number or the last four digits of your social security number, then you may need to show photo identification (e. g. valid driver’s license or state ID) or a paycheck, utility bill, or government document that shows your name and address.
  • To be safe, take a photo ID with you to the polls.
  • Update: If the poll workers check the roster and cannot locate your name they will assist you to try to find your correct polling location. If you believe you are registered to vote and want to vote at the polling location where you are, you are entitled to a provisional ballot. You do not have to show any ID in order to vote provisionally. (Source)

On probation or off parole? You can vote in California.

  • A misdemeanor conviction does not affect your right to vote. You can vote in all elections.
  • If you are on probation or if you have completed your parole, post-release community supervision, or mandatory supervision you CAN vote! (Source and more information on this topic here.)

I haven’t mailed my ballot by mail.

I haven’t either! Vote by mail ballots must be received by the county elections office by the time polls close at 8pm on Election Day. If you mail your ballot on Monday, November 5th, there is no guarantee that it will arrive at the Registrar’s Office by 8pm on November 6th. But do not fear!

  • You can return your completed ballot by mail in person to any polling place in the County of San Diego or the Registrar’s Office at 5201 Ruffin Road, Suite I San Diego.
  • You can authorize a relative or person living in the same household as you to return the ballot on your behalf. (Source)

Regardless of how the ballot is returned, it MUST be received by the county elections office by the time polls close at 8pm on Tuesday November 6.

What if I moved 15 days or more before the election and did not re-register?

If you moved within San Diego County and did not re-register to vote, you can only vote at your new residential polling place using a provisional ballot or at the Registrar of Voters office on Election Day.

What if I moved 14 days or less from the election and did not have time to re-register?

If you moved within San Diego County, you can go to your old polling place, your new polling place, or to the Registrar of Voters on Election Day. If you go to your new polling place, ask to cast a provisional ballot.

What if I need help in marking my ballot?

Two people may assist you if you take an oath administered by the precinct worker that assistance is required. However, you have the right to vote privately and independently.

UPDATE: Can I take time off work to vote?

State law allows voters to take 2 hours off work to vote, without the loss of pay, at an agreed upon time at the beginning or end of the work shift.  Click here for more information on time off work to vote.

What should I know about Poll Watchers?

Poll Watchers (also known as observers or campaign workers) are allowed at the polling place as long as they obey the rules set out in the California Elections Code. These individuals are not Poll Workers– the citizens who have been trained by the Registrar of Voters and are charged with carrying out election functions at their assigned polling location.

Vote protectors are very different than vote challengers. This election the Tea Party based True the Vote intends to deploy thousands of poll watchers throughout the country to report incidences of voter “irregularities.” True the Vote’s real focus is policing the act of voting itself, to make voters feel like they are “driving and seeing the police following you.”

Here in San Diego County, the Election Integrity Project Poll Watchers will be looking for not only voter fraud, but mistakes by Registrar of Voter staff and citizen poll workers and any other election irregularities.

Ground Rules for Poll Watchers:

They must wear an identification badge with their name prominently displayed; maintain a professional manner while observing the counting process; ensure that they do not speak to persons conducting the count or interfere with the elections process.

Poll Watchers May Not:

Interfere in any way with the conduct of the election; touch any voting materials or sit at the official work tables; display any election material or wear campaign badges, buttons or apparel; wear the uniform of a peace officer, a private guard or security personnel; use cell phones, pagers, or two-way radios while in the observation area; photograph or video tape outside designated areas; touch election personnel; assist in the operations at the Registrar of Voters; enter the ballot counting room at any time during tabulation; photograph or videograph during voting hours. (Source: Election Observer Plan County of San Diego, November 2, 2010)

How Do I Report Voter Intimidation, Misuse of Election Information or Suspected Voter Fraud? Our Voter Bill of Rights states “You have the right to cast a secret ballot free from intimidation.”

  • Report Voter Intimidation by phone 1-866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) and in Spanish 888-VE-Y-VOTA(888-839-8682)
  • By twitter– instructions here.
  • You can also call the CA Secretary of State’s Voter Hotline1-800-345-VOTE(8633)  to report suspected fraud or misuse of election information.
  • Update: Tuesday the ACLU will have volunteers at polls across the county to answer any questions voters may have.  You can call the campaign office at: 760-624-VOTO(8686).
  • Update from San Diego ACLU: If you feel like your right to vote has been threatened or violated, please email us at

More Election Day Questions Answered here and here.

Join us on Tuesday, November 6th at the San Diego Free Press Election Day Special Open Thread and on the OB Rag for all day “live blogging”. We’ll be online when the polls open and after the polls close. Leave a comment about your experiences at the polls and don’t forget to identify your neighborhood.

 This originally was posted at San Diego Free Press.


{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: