Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a Voter Assistance Center? What are the benefits of moving from polling places to consolidated Voter Assistance Centers? This FAQ answers these questions and more.

Voter Assistance Center FAQs

What is a Voter Assistance Center?

A Voter Assistance Center is a full-service in-person voting experience that allows voters to vote, solve voter registration issues, register to vote, check in electronically, get a replacement ballot, and receive general assistance for an extended period.

 

What are the benefits of moving from polling places to consolidated Voter Assistance Centers?

The use of polling places has dropped dramatically in the past 10 years and voters are gravitating towards more convenience, choosing instead to receive a Vote-by-Mail ballot rather than vote in person. Additionally, voters can now vote at any Voter Assistance Center in Yolo County regardless of which Voter Assistance Center is closest to their residential address.

 

What are the dates and hours for Voter Assistance Centers?

Voter Assistance Centers are open 3 days before Election Day during the hours of 10:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m. On Election Day, all Voter Assistance Centers will be open from 7:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.

 

How do I find a list or map of available Voter Assistance Centers for 2020?

A comprehensive list of Voter Assistance Centers can be found on our website: https://www.yoloelections.org/voting/locations. Registered voters will also receive a Voter Information Guide in the mail with a list of Voter Assistance Centers and Ballot Drop Boxes.

 

How do I find the closest Voter Assistance Center near me?

The Lookup tool on the Voter Assistance Center website displays the nearest Voter Assistance Center for a given address. It provides the Voter Assistance Center address and a map with driving directions from the given address.

 

What do I need to bring with me to a Voter Assistance Center to vote?

Registered voters are encouraged to bring their unvoted Vote-by-Mail ballot/packet to the Voter Assistance Center to vote. However, if you are a first-time voter, you may need to bring proof of identification.

 

What security will be present at Voter Assistance Centers?

Voter Assistance Centers incorporates security such as lock and tamper proof seals and cybersecurity measures to ensure the security of voting and elections. Chain of custodies for voting equipment, encrypted data, and cybersecurity training are among several of the strategies that will be utilized.

 

Could someone potentially cast a ballot at multiple Voter Assistance Centers?

No. As soon as a ballot is cast, it is electronically recorded in our database. If a voter insists that they didn’t cast a previous ballot, they can cast a provisional ballot and further research will be conducted by the Yolo County Elections Office.

 

Can voters use phones into the Voter Assistance Center?

Voters may use their phones to take “ballot selfies” and look up information about

candidates or measures on the ballot. Voters may NOT use phones to talk in the Voter Assistance Center except to speak with the approved Language Assistance contacts.

 

Can voters take pictures of their ballot?

California Elections Code section 14291 states that a voter may take a photograph of their ballot (a “ballot selfie”) and share it on social media. However, Voter Assistance Center personnel can still exercise their discretion as to whether ballot selfies cause disruption. The limits of “ballot selfies” include prohibitions of unauthorized sharing and use of information relating to how a person voted, interference with the duties of Voter Assistance Center personnel, intimidation of voters, and compromising the privacy of other voters casting a ballot.

 

What is the camera use policy in and outside of Voter Assistance Centers?

Camera use should remain limited, and certain uses require the consent of Voter Assistance Center personnel, fellow voters and anyone else within the VAC. An example of permitted camera use is if a credentialed media organization is capturing video and/or images to produce content. Voter Assistance Center staff will need to ensure that such activity does not interfere with voting, is not intimidating to any voters or Vote Center staff, and that the privacy of voters is not compromised.


Language Assistance FAQs

Can I get my ballot in my preferred language?

Yolo County can provide facsimile translated ballots in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Punjabi and Russian to be used in reference when voting on official ballots. Translated reference ballots are available in all languages listed above for all precincts. If you prefer to vote in-person and want a facsimile ballot in any of the languages listed above to use as a reference when voting your official ballot, you can request a ballot in that language at a Voter Assistance Center. If you prefer to Vote-by-Mail and want a facsimile ballot in any of the languages listed above to use as a reference when voting your official ballot, you can request a ballot in that language to be mailed to you by calling our office at (530) 666-8133.

How do you determine which languages will be offered at Voter Assistance Centers?

Yolo County must provide bilingual support in Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Punjabi. in compliance with federal law. The determination to provide ballot materials and support in these languages was issued in 2002 and were made using data from the 2010 U.S. Census under guidelines in Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act.

What if my preferred language is not one of the five languages that are offered at Voter Assistance Centers?

If your preferred language is not one of the languages that are offered at Voter Assistance Centers, we will have instructions on how to use an interpreter service via phone. You are also able to bring (Not more than two people selected by the voter can provide assistance, other than the voter’s employer, and agent of the voter’s employer, or an officer or agent of the union of which the voter is a member)) with you to provide language assistance at the Voter Assistance Center.


Vote-by-Mail (VBM) FAQs

 

Will all voters in Yolo County receive a Vote-by-Mail ballot?

Yes, all voters in Yolo County will receive a Vote-by-Mail ballot. Voters may not opt out of receiving a VBM ballot.

What are my options for turning in a Vote-by-Mail ballot?

You can turn in your Vote-by-Mail ballot via mail through the United State Postal Service (no postage necessary) or drop it off at a Ballot Drop Box, a Voter Assistance Center, or the Yolo County Elections Office.

What happens if someone turns in their Vote-by-Mail ballot at a ballot drop box or via the United States Postal Service and also goes to vote at a Voter Assistance Center?

Vote-by-Mail ballots will be electronically recorded when they are received at our office. If a voter attempts to vote again at a Voter Assistance Center, our staff will inform them that they have already casted a vote and that they will be unable to do so. Whichever ballot is recorded first by our office will be counted. All voters who show intent to vote twice are referred to the California Secretary of States office Investigation Unit as well as the County’s District Attorney’s office.

What do I do with my Vote-by-Mail ballot if I want to vote in-person at a Voter Assistance Center?

You will want to surrender your Vote-by-Mail ballot at a Voter Assistance Center and proceed to vote in person. Vote-by-Mail ballots that are surrendered at Voter Assistance Centers are spoiled and not counted. If you forget to bring your Vote-by-Mail ballot to surrender, you must dispose of it at home.

How can I track my Vote-by-Mail ballot?

You can track your Vote-by-Mail ballot—when it is mailed, received, and counted using “Where’s My Ballot?” BallotTrax’, “Where’s My Ballot?”  let’s voters know where their ballot is, and its status, every step of the way. Sign-up at: WheresMyBallot.sos.ca.gov to receive automatic email, SMS (text), or voice call notifications about your ballot.


Ballot Drop Boxes (BDB) FAQs

Where will ballot drop boxes be located?

Ballot Drop Boxes site considerations include proximity to public transit, communities with historically low vote by mail usage, voters with disabilities, low-income communities, and more. Ballot Drop Box locations and hours are available on our website at: https://www.yoloelections.org/voting/locations.

How often are ballots collected from ballot drop boxes?

Starting the 29th day before Election Day (October 5, 2020), ballots will be collected from Ballot Drop Boxes every 48 hours. Starting the 5th day before Election day (October 30, 2020), ballots will be collected every 24 hours.

How do you secure votes that have been placed in a ballot drop box?

Yolo County will have two types of Ballot Drop Boxes placed in high traffic locations. Internal ballot drop boxes will be within businesses that are open 7 days a week for extended hours. Every effort is being made to place them in locations with existing security camera coverage, visible by staff.  External ballot drop boxes will be open and available 24/7 with a walk up or drive up slot. External Ballot Drop Boxes are bolted into concrete pads. Additionally, External Ballot Drop Boxes are made with military grade steel which makes them tamper and break-in proof.


Voter Registration FAQs

What are the requirements to be a registered voter in Yolo County?

To be a registered voter in Yolo County, you must be:

     ☐ 18 years of age or older

     ☐ Citizen of the United States,

     ☐ Resident of Yolo County

     ☐ Not currently in state or federal prison or on parole for the conviction of a felony; and

     ☐ Not currently found mentally incompetent to vote by a court.

In California, the deadline to register to vote and receive your ballot in the mail is 15 days before Election Day, so please register early! Your registration must be postmarked or submitted electronically no later than October 19, 2020.

When to Re-Register to Vote

You need to re-register to vote when:

     You change your name,

     You changed your residence address, or

     You want to change your political party preference

What do I need in order to register to vote?

You will need your current residence address, Social Security Number or a California Driver’s License or Identification number (especially if you are registering to vote online).

If you are homeless you only need a description of where you live. If you do not have a street address, you can provide an exact description, including cross streets, route, etc. A mailing address is required.

California voting rights for people impacted by the criminal legal system:

Eligible to register and vote when: in county jail awaiting trial; in county jail serving a misdemeanor sentence; in county jail as a condition of probation (felony or misdemeanor); in county jail serving a felony jail sentence; on probation (felony or misdemeanor); on mandatory supervision; on post-release community supervision, on federal supervised release or finished with parole. Not eligible to register and vote when: in federal prison serving a felony sentence[1]; in state prison serving a felony prison sentence[2]; or on parole.

How to Register to Vote

You can apply to register to vote online at: RegisterToVote.ca.gov or

You can request a paper voter registration application from your county elections office, or you can pick one up at your county elections office, libraries (when open), Department of Motor Vehicles offices, or U.S. post office. It is important that your voter registration application be filled out completely and be postmarked or hand-delivered to your county elections office at least 15 days before the election.

California Motor Voter

The California Motor Voter program is making registering to vote at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) more convenient. Eligible applicants completing a driver license, identification (ID) card or change of address transaction online, by mail or in person at the DMV will be automatically registered to vote by the California Secretary of State, unless they choose to opt out of automatic voter registration. For more information, visit California Motor Voter.

Can I register to vote and cast my ballot at the same time?

Yes. Conditional Voter Registration allows eligible voters to register and vote conditionally beginning 14 days prior to an election and on Election Day. For this election, a voter can register and vote on a provisional ballot as a conditional voter at the Yolo County Elections Office or at Voter Assistance Centers when open.


[1] In California, otherwise-eligible people who are in federal prison while they are awaiting trial may vote.

[2] This includes individuals who have been sentenced to state prison but are awaiting transfer in a county jail. People who are housed in a county jail while serving a state prison sentence because they are awaiting trial for another crime, or because of a contract between the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the county are also ineligible to vote. Additionally, people who are in county jail because of a parole violation may not vote. These groups are the only otherwise-eligible adults in county jails who cannot vote in California because of a conviction.