County of Marin - News Releases - Election Preparation

For Immediate Release
September 28, 2020

Checklist Helps Voters Prepare for Election

Voting by mail is the safest way to cast a ballot during COVID-19 pandemic

San Rafael, CA – Anxious about the November 3 General Election? There are a number of ways voters can help to ensure a smooth election, mitigate public health risks, and reduce lines at Marin County polling places.

A closeup view of the sign that says Registrar of Voters outside the elections office.The Marin County Elections Department is in Suite 121 of the Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael.
“Although we can’t control the stress people may feel about this election, we can control the step-by-step voting and vote tabulation process,” said Marin County Registrar of Voters Lynda Roberts. “That’s our job, we take it seriously, and we’ve been planning for months. We strive for efficiency and security in delivering timely and accurate results no matter the circumstances, even during emergencies like this pandemic.”

Roberts said one way to put voters at ease is to vote by mail because it will be the safest way to vote during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, state laws have changed this year to require all active registered voters in California to receive a ballot by mail. Typically, at least 75% of Marin’s voters have voted by mail in recent years. 

Marin County Public Health is discouraging people from gathering in numbers without stringent social distancing in place. Precautions will be in place at all Marin polling stations, but voting by mail will best mitigate interactions and speed up the vote tabulation process. And mailing or dropping off your completed ballot as early as possible will ensure your ballot is received on time. 

Here are more suggestions voters can take:

  • Check your voter registration status now to ensure your ballot is mailed to the correct address on October 5. Use the Voter Information Portal, which will show the polling location if voting in person is necessary.
  • Masks and social distancing will be required at polling places for the safety of poll workers and voters.
  • Register now if you are new to Marin County or an eligible voter for the first time. Eligible citizens can register online or call (415) 473-6456 to request a paper form.
  • Update the voter signature on file by re-registering or signing and returning the informational postcard recently mailed. All voters have a signature on file from when they registered to vote, so returning the postcard, although encouraged, is optional. Online voter registration will use a voter’s DMV signature.
  • Read the Voter Information Guide, scheduled to be mailed starting September 24, to learn more about changes and voting options such as Remote Accessible Vote by Mail.
  • Remember to sign the ballot return envelope with postage pre-paid. Voters will receive a letter if their signature is missing or does not match the voter registration form, but that delays ballot processing and extends the time it takes to certify an election.
  • Mail back the completed ballot back as early as possible. If a voter prefers to hand deliver a completed ballot, there will be several secure drop boxes throughout the county. Ballot drop boxes will be available starting October 6 and a location list will be posted at
  • Sign up for a ballot tracking service at to receive automatic email, text, or voice call notifications about ballot status.
  • Be vigilant about sources of information. The Elections Department provides accurate and reliable answers to your questions about voting by mail and voting in general.

California laws allows Roberts’ staff to process returned ballots before Election Day, which helps produce final results faster after Election Day. Signature verification on vote-by-mail ballot envelopes takes time to ensure security and accuracy, so waiting until Election Day to drop off your ballot at a polling place delays certification of the election. Rest assured, however, that every eligible and timely vote will be counted. 

The Marin County Elections Department is at 3501 Civic Center Drive, Suite 121, San Rafael. Although Roberts is encouraging that business be conducted remotely if possible during the COVID-19 emergency, the department is open weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Only a few visitors are allowed in the office at one time as a public health precaution. The department will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day for registering and voting provisionally.

Follow the Elections Department on Facebook.


Lynda Roberts
Registrar of Voters
Elections Department

Marin Civic Center Administration Building
3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite 121
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6401
Email: Lynda Roberts
Elections website