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When we receive your voter registration card, we enter the information, including the image of your signature into the voter file. Then your registration is sent to the Secretary of State's Statewide Database, which compares it against the DMV or Social Security records to verify the information. If your information is verified, the State notifies us that you are eligible to vote.
You can find out if you are registered to vote in Marin County by using our online application.
Persons who meet all of the following requirements are eligible to register to vote:
You can register to vote any time, but if you want to vote in an election, your voter registration must be received by the Elections Department or postmarked by 15 days before that election. You should register as early as possible so that you receive your sample ballot and voter guide in the mail. If you register later than 29 days before an election, you may not receive this information.
You can register online at the CA Secretary of State website.
You must fill out a paper voter registration form, sign it, and return it by mail or in person to the Marin County Elections Department.
You can register online at the CA Secretary of State website, or call (415) 473-6456 to request a voter registration form.
You may also pick up a voter registration form at:
We will send you a notice and ask you to provide the missing information. After you provide the required information, you will be registered to vote.
If there is a problem with your ID information, the Secretary of State will let us know and you will be given a chance to correct your information. In 4-5 weeks, you should receive a card that confirms that you are registered to vote. If your information has not been verified in time for Election Day, you can cast a provisional ballot when you go to the polls.
If you —
You can re-register online, or call (415) 473-6456 to request a new form.
Election mail cannot be forwarded.
Your name may not be on the roster of voters at the polls on election day. That means you
may have to vote a provisional ballot, which may not have all of the candidates or measures
that are on the ballot for your current address.
In primary elections, you may not be able to vote the ballot of the political party of your choice.
And if we do not have your current mailing address, the post office will not forward your
You can still register to vote. Write the address of a shelter or the cross streets of where you sleep on your voter registration form. Be sure to provide your mailing address.
Yes. A voter's name can be taken off the voter registration list for the following reasons:
Voters who do not vote in two consecutive General Elections (which take place in even numbered years) will be moved to the inactive voter file. The voter will receive a notice that their names will be placed in the inactive voter file unless they reply to the notice.
Voters on the inactive list are still registered in Marin County. However the voter will not receive election mail (ballot, voter information pamphlet, and sample ballot) or have their name in the roster at their polling place.
Yes. You can cancel your registration in Marin County by filling out and mailing in this online Registration Cancellation Form.
Under the California Election Laws you must re-register to vote.
Yes. If the Elections’ Office receives a form where the voter has put an address
that is outside of Marin County, we will send the form to the county where the
address on the form is located.
No. Signing the certification under penalty of perjury on the voter registration
form is considered proof of citizenship for voting purposes only (EC 2111, 2112).
Yes, for the general public.
Voters’ addresses are available to candidates and political campaigns, or for
scholarly, journalistic, or governmental use upon filing a form with the Elections Office
that includes their contact information, ID, and a description of how they plan to
use the information.
Yes, the voter’s driver's license or ID number, the last four digits of the social
security number and the voter’s signature are confidential for everyone.
Voter's name, mailing address, birth date, and political party are public
Yes. The Secretary of State has a confidential registration program for victims of
domestic abuse. Contact the Elections Office or the Secretary of State’s Office
for information. Judicial and law enforcement personnel may obtain a court order
to make their voter registration confidential. Confidential voters do not appear on
the Roster or Index of Voters or on any computer.
Yes, but they must provide a description of where they live, such as cross
streets, or routes, on the form so that we can assign them to a precinct for voting.
They must also provide a mailing address to receive election mail.
No, only if their business address is also their residence.
Yes. New citizens may register to vote at the Elections Office from fourteen (14) days
before the election to 8:00 PM on election day (EC 331, 3500).
Yes. New residents may register from fourteen to seven days before the election and vote
for President and Vice President only at the Elections Office (EC 332, 3400).
Yes, by court order and provisional ballot. Voter gets the paperwork at the
Elections Office and goes to Superior Court Office for the order at no charge.
The difference is the address on the mailing portion of the form.
No. The Post Office does not forward election mail, such as ballots or sample
ballots. Voters must re-register at their new address to receive election mail.
Look for the address on the back cover of the County Voter Information Guide, or for each election on the Election Schedule in the Polling Information section.
Voting at the polls is easy! Here’s how it
Just let a poll worker know what kind of help
You must show ID if:
You can still vote. The poll worker will give
you a provisional ballot. Your ballot will be
counted if we confirm you are properly
registered, and you only voted once in this
The most common reasons are:
Contact the Elections Department twenty-eight (28) days after the election.
Starting 29 days before the election, you
may vote at the Elections Office or give your
written permission to a spouse, parent, child,
grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, or a
person living in your household to pick up
and return your ballot.
Starting 7 days before the election you may
vote in person at the Elections Office or give
any representative your written permission
to pick up and return your ballot.
Because it’s safe, accurate, fast, and easy.
Yes. In 2007, the law changed the name to "voting by mail."
Fill out an application. (You must be registered to vote in Marin County.)
To get an application:
Yes! We must receive your application by mail or fax at least seven (7) days before the election.
You must apply in person at the Elections Department office. If you are unable to get to our office, you may authorize someone to take your application for you. We will give you or that person your vote-by-mail ballot.
Yes! Fill out and return the vote-by-mail application on the back cover of your County Voter Information Guide, or fill out our online vote-by-mail application. If you want to vote by mail for all elections, just check the box on the application.
Yes. Take your vote-by-mail ballot and the return envelope
to the polling place, and ask for a polling place ballot.
Even if you do not have your vote-by-mail ballot
and the return envelope, you can vote a provisional ballot.
No, not unless you want to. You can apply to vote by mail for just one election. Or you can apply to be a permanent vote-by-mail voter and get your ballot in the mail automatically before every election. Notify the Marin County Elections Department in writing to cancel your permanent vote by mail status.
Vote-by-mail ballots are mailed starting 29 days before the election. If you do not receive your ballot around that time, call us. We will send you a replacement ballot. If there is not enough time to mail it, you can pick one up at our office.
You can vote as soon as you receive your ballot. And you can also vote at the Elections Department office.
We mail election materials to all vote-by-mail voters starting twenty-nine (29) days before the election. You will receive a:
Yes. Contact us and give us your temporary out-of-town address. Or if you prefer, you can vote
early at the Elections Department office starting 29 days before the election.
No! Vote-by-mail ballots cannot be forwarded. Fill
out a new voter registration card with your
updated information at least 15 days before the
Call us at (415) 473-6456, and we will send you a replacement ballot.
Call us. If it is too late to mail you a replacement
ballot, you may pick one up at the Elections
Office or vote at the polls.
Contact our office, (415) 473-6456, to ask for a replacement ballot. Or draw a line through the incorrect vote and the oval. Then fill in the oval for the correct vote, and write "correct" next to the correct vote.
Place your ballot in the envelope provided in the packet. Sign the envelope. Then, return your ballot.
You can —
Sign your return envelope!
If you do not, your ballot will not be counted.
Your ballot must be post marked on or before election day and received within three days after the election. If you do not mail your ballot, it must be returned by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day to a polling place or the Elections Office.
Your ballot will not be counted. But if we receive your unsigned ballot envelope at least two weeks before the election, we will try to contact you.
Yes. Track your ballot online with our Voter Information Portal (VIP) or use our automated phone system, available 24/7, that can check if your ballot was received. Call (415) 473-6456.
If the Elections Office receives your vote-by-mail ballot the Friday before election day, it will be counted by 8 PM on election day. If the Elections Office receives your vote-by-mail ballot after the Friday before election day or you drop your vote-by-mail ballot off at the polls, it will be counted within 10 days after election day.
We follow these steps:
We count all ballots turned in before election day by 8 PM on election day. (In Marin County, 76% of vote-by-mail voters turn in their ballots before the election.)
We count ballots that are turned in or received on election day within a week of the election.
We work hard at getting polling places that are
accessible for all people. But sometimes this is
To know if your polling place is accessible:
Yes. See the Vote-by-Mail application on the back cover of the County Voter Information Guide. Or call for an application: (415) 473-6456.
A voter who is unable to enter his/her polling place because it is inaccessible
may request assignment to an accessible polling place by calling
(415) 473-6439 no later than 2 weeks before the election.
You may request that a paper ballot be brought to you outside the polling
place. The poll worker will bring you a ballot and deposit it in the ballot box
after you have voted.
Marin Access was designed and is sponsored by Marin Transit to coordinate transportation resources for Marin’s older adults, persons with disabilities and low-income residents, along with others who cannot or choose not to drive.
Each polling place has:
The Secretary of State has a TDD hotline: TDD 1-800-833-8683.
All state propositions are available on audio tape. Call us if you want one: (415) 473-6456.
We will point out the instructions in the voting
booth, and show you how to mark your ballot
using demonstration ballots. Some precincts
have bilingual poll workers. Let us know if your
precinct needs bilingual poll workers.
A new law, Proposition 14, approved by voters in 2010, changed the way your ballot will look in primary elections. Some people call this law the “Top Two Candidate Primary”.
In open primaries all candidates for state and federal offices, except for President and party central committees, will appear on the same ballot.
Voters, not political parties, will nominate candidates for state and federal offices. Typically you can vote for any candidate on the ballot for:
When you vote, you will see the names of all candidates for these offices on the same ballot. You can vote for any candidate even if you are not in the same political party.
No. The offices of President and Party Central Committees will be on separate party ballots and are still chosen by voters registered in that party. These offices are only on Presidential Primary and General Election ballots.
No. You can only vote the ballot for your party.
Some, but not all political parties will allow you to vote for their candidates for President. To do that, you can ask for their ballot at the polls on Election Day. If you vote by mail, and have not already selected your party, use the application on the back cover of this pamphlet to make your selection. Contact the Secretary of State’s Office for information before the Presidential Primary and General Elections.
Make sure you are registered to vote in the party of your choice by the cutoff date for the election. Your registration should list your current home address and the political party you prefer, if any.
Call the Elections Department at (415) 473-6456.
All voters can vote for any candidate for a voter nominated office regardless of party preference.
“voter nominated” means that voters, rather than political parties, nominate candidates in a primary election. Voter nominated offices are:
“Party preference” means the qualified political party in which a candidate or a voter is registered. Candidates can choose to put their party preference or no party preference next to their names on the ballot. The party preference is for information only.
All candidates for voter nominated offices will be listed on one ballot.
Yes. The top two vote getters in the primary will move on to the general election.
Yes, but a write-in candidate will only move on to the general election if he/she is one of the top two vote getters in the primary.
Write-in candidates for voter nominated offices are not allowed in the General Election.
Yes. The top two vote getters in each voter nominated office in the primary will move on to the general election.
Candidates for nonpartisan offices can win outright by getting a majority of the votes in the Primary. Nonpartisan offices are:
Here are the main reasons why you may be asked to vote a provisional ballot at
Voting provisionally means that your ballot will be counted provided you are a
registered voter in Marin County.
A "provisional ballot" is an official ballot that you put into a special “provisional
envelope” at the polls. You must write your name and address on the envelope
and sign it.
After election day. The Elections Department staff checks the information on your
provisional ballot envelope against your information on the voter file. If we can
determine that you are a registered voter in Marin County, your ballot is counted.
Yes. All of the contests and measures for which you are eligible to vote had you
gone to your correct polling place will be counted. Contests and measures for
which you are not eligible to vote will not be counted.
No, you must contact the City/Town clerk for nomination documents, manuals, and filing information.
Candidates can pick-up nomination papers during the filing period beginning 113 days and ending 88 days before the election.
Yes, but if you’re unable to come in person please see the Candidate Guide on the Election Schedule page for instructions.
Yes. Although it’s not required, appointments are a good idea especially if you’re new to the process. Call (415) 473-6437 to schedule an appointment.
Yes, you can fill out the Candidate's Application Form and send it to the Elections office. When we receive your form we will prepare your personalized documents so they’ll be ready when you come to this office.
It depends on the jurisdiction of the office you’re seeking. The Candidate Guide on the Election Schedule for the election provides this information for you.
It’s an optional way to let the voters in your district know about you. You can write a 200 word statement that is published in our sample ballot booklet. The Candidate Guide on the Election Schedule has information about the format and costs of the candidate statements.
Yes there are rules. Whether flyers, yard signs, or internet ads, make sure you’re aware of all campaign finance rules. These rules and all other campaign finance information are in the FPPC Finance Manuals on their website.
There are special finance rules and filing obligations for state and judicial candidates. This information is in FPPC Manual 1 and is published on their website.
The Election Schedule will have a candidate list that will be updated daily with the names of candidates who have filed for a specific office.
The Marin County Independent Expenditure Ordinance (Ordinance 3519) which was approved by the Marin County Board of Supervisors on June 2, 2009 requires that independent expenditures of up to $1000.00 which are made to support or oppose candidates for county elective office or county measures be reported to the Registrar of Voters within 24 hours.
The purpose of the ordinance is to ensure transparency of independent expenditures so that voters are provided information on contributors, contributions and expenditures in a timely manner.
Any individual or committee that makes independent expenditures to support or oppose candidates for Marin County elective offices or County measures.
Independent expenditure committees are required to file forms specified by the Elections Department office. A copy of the mailing or advertisement, script or recording of phone call, transmission, or advertisement is also required.
Within 24 hours after the expenditure is made.
Send the forms to the Marin County Elections Department either by:
Anyone who intentionally or negligently violates any section of this chapter shall be subject to fines of $5000 for each violation, or up to 3 times the amount of the communication, whichever is greater.
No more than 200 (EC11020(b)).
Proponents must serve their notice either in person or via certified mail. Must provide proof of service at time they file their Notice of Intention (EC11021).
Proponents must file their Notice of Intention and proof of service within 7 days after they have served Notice to the person who is the target of the recall (EC11023).
Proponents publish their Notice of Intention, Reasons and list of the signers and their addresses in the Marin IJ after they have served the person who is the target of the recall and have filed the Notice in the Elections Office. (There is no need to publish facsimiles of signatures.) Proponents must provide proof of this publication when they file their blank petitions.
Yes, but it is optional. The answer can be no more than 200 words and must be served on one of the proponents and filed in the Elections office within 7 days after the proponents file their Notice of Intention (EC11023).
Within 10 days after receiving the answer to the Notice of Recall, or, if no answer is filed, within 10 days after the end of the 7 day period, proponents file 2 blank copies of their petition in the Elections Office with proof of publication. The Election Official has 10 days to check petition for form and either approves it for circulation or asks proponents to make changes within 10 days (EC11042-11034.5).
Yes, but a separate Notice of Intention and separate petitions must be filed for each officer.
It depends on the size of the district. Elections Code §11221 has the percentages of signatures needed based on population of district. Use last official report to Secretary of State to find the number of registered voters in the district.
Use the last official report to the Secretary of State to find the number of registered voters in District. (EC Sec. 2187(d) lists the time when official reports of registration are due.) Latest report should be in Recall Binder.
Yes. Go to our Purchasing Voter Information page for eligibility, forms and a price list.
It depends on the size of the district. Elections Code §11220 has the number of days allowed to circulate a petition based on population of the district.
Yes. It can be no more than 200 words (EC 11327, 13307).
There is nothing in the Elections Code that prohibits bullet points on the Reasons or Response on a recall petition. However, the separate, optional Candidate’s statement that is printed in the County Voter Information Guide if there is a recall election must be uniform and may not have bullet points (13307(b)).
Yes. The proponents of a recall file a campaign committee file reports with the Elections Office regardless of the amount of money they plan to raise or spend on the recall. (See requirements in FPPC Manual 3, also available at the front counter.)
The form of the petition is public information, but no one can see the signatures on a recall petition unless is fails. If the recall petition fails, only the proponents may look at it. They have 21 days to begin their examination of the signatures.
30 business days.
Return the petition to the proponents.
The Election Office has 30 working days to verify the signatures.
If sufficient qualified signatures, the Elections Office certifies the petition to the Governing Board for its next regular meeting (CA Elections Code Sec. 11227).
The Governing Board has 14 days from the date of their meeting to order an election. The election must be ordered no less than 88 days or no more than 125 days from date of order. Recall elections may be consolidated with regular or special elections scheduled within this timeframe (CA Elections Code Sec. 11240).
If, after 14 days, the Governing Board does not order an election, the Election Official has 5 days to set the date for holding the election (CA Elections Code Sec. 11241).
The Elections Office keeps the petition on file. Proponents have 21 days to begin examination of petition signatures if they choose to do so.
The nominations period for a recall election begins when the governing body orders the election and ends 75 days before the election. The Elections Office uses the same forms and candidates follow the same requirements as for a regular election (CA Elections Code Sec. 11381).
Yes (CA Elections Code Sec. 11327, 13307).
Shall _____________ be recalled from the office of _____________? YES, NO
The question will be followed by a list of candidates who have filed for the office:
Candidates for office of _________________.
(CA Elections Code Sec. 11322).
Yes (CA Elections Code Sec. 11325C).
The replacement candidate elected serves until the end of the term of the officer who is recalled (CA Elections Code Sec. 11385).
A majority (CA Elections Code Sec. 11384).
There is a vacancy which is filled by appointment. The recall action proceeds and recall election is held (CA Elections Code Division 11, Chapter 4, Article 4).
The Statement of Reasons and the Answer of the person being recalled must be printed on the same page or on facing pages (CA Elections Code Sec. 11325).
10 days before the election (CA Elections Code Sec. 11324).