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Plan to vote? Register by Monday

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Friday, May 16th, 2008 at 11:11 am in 2008 June primary, Election reform.

The deadline is Monday for Californians to register to vote in the June 3 primary election.
Pick up registration forms at election offices, most post offices, libraries, city and county offices and online at www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_vr.htm.

In the East Bay, a handful of key legislative and county races will be decided in June including two contested Contra Costa supervisor seats, state Assembly districts 14 and 15 and the state Senate post held by outgoing Sen. President Pro Tem Don Perata.

Statewide, two ballot propositions on eminient domain, Props. 98 and 99, are also on the ballot.

To be eligible to register, a prospective voter must be a U.S. citizen, a California resident and at least 18 years old by Election Day. People in prison or on parole for a felony conviction and people judged by a court to be mentally incompetent are not eligible to vote.

For more information in Contra Costa County, stop by the Elections Division at 555 Escobar Street in Martinez, call 925-335-7800 or visit www.cocovote.us.

The Alameda County Registrar of Voters is located at 1225 Fallon Street G-1 in Oakland. Residents may also call 510-267-8683 or visit its web site at www.acgov.org/rov/.

In Solano County, reach the Registrar of Voters office is located at 675 Texas St. in Fairfield, call 707-784-6675 or visit www.solanocounty.com.

Read more for Secretary of State Debra Bowen’s helpful list of do’s and dont’s in the upcoming election. (Don’t blame her for the snarky comments; those are mine.)

– Double-check your registration information, including your political party affiliation. If you marked the wrong box, it will still be wrong if you don’t change it by the end of the day Monday and you will have no one to blame but yourself.

– Unlike the presidential primary, decline to state voters can vote in the primaries for the Democratic, Republican and American Independent parties. But if you don’t ask for a particular party’s ballot, you will receive a nonpartisan ballot with only nonpartisan races and propositions.

– Don’t try to bribe anyone to vote a certain way. It’s illegal and, well, just plain wrong.

– If you vote by mail, postmark dates do not count. Your ballot must arrive in your county’s election department by 8 p.m. Election Day or it will not be counted. Mail early or drop it off in person at your polling place or the election office.

– Intimidation of a voter is illegal, too. Don’t do it.

– Go to the right polling place. You can find it on your voting materials from the county or look it up at http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_ppl.htm. If you show up in the wrong polling place, you can still vote but you will be given a provisional ballot that takes extra time to count.

– Have a favorite candidate? Keep your views to yourself within 100 feet of a polling place. Yep, electioneering at a polling place is also illegal, not to mention annoying and tacky.

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  • Jason Bezis

    Is this list from the Secretary of State? The following statement may not be accurate: “If you show up in the wrong polling place, you can still vote but you will be given a provisional ballot that takes extra time to count.”

    See:Secretary of State’s Provisional Voting web page http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_provisional.htm

    Maybe it falls under this category:
    “The voter’s name is not on the official roster of voters and the election officer cannot verify the voter’s voting eligibility on Election Day. The Elections Official’s Office will check the registration records. If further research determines that the voter is eligible to vote in the election, the provisional ballot will be counted.”

    Nevertheless, in the November 2006 election in San Joaquin County, I witnessed a voter running into a precinct at the last minute. He was at the wrong polling place and had no time to reach the correct location a few blocks away. He requested, but was not given, a provisional ballot because the poll workers didn’t think “wrong polling place” voters were eligible for provisional ballots.

  • Jason Bezis

    Is this list from the Secretary of State? The following statement may not be accurate: “If you show up in the wrong polling place, you can still vote but you will be given a provisional ballot that takes extra time to count.”

    See:Secretary of State’s Provisional Voting web page http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_provisional.htm

    Maybe it falls under this category:
    “The voter’s name is not on the official roster of voters and the election officer cannot verify the voter’s voting eligibility on Election Day. The Elections Official’s Office will check the registration records. If further research determines that the voter is eligible to vote in the election, the provisional ballot will be counted.”

    Nevertheless, in the November 2006 election in San Joaquin County, I witnessed a voter running into a precinct at the last minute. He was at the wrong polling place and had no time to reach the correct location a few blocks away. He requested, but was not given, a provisional ballot because the poll workers didn’t think “wrong polling place” voters were eligible for provisional ballots.

  • Jason Bezis

    The statement “If you show up in the wrong polling place, you can still vote but you will be given a provisional ballot that takes extra time to count” apparently is correct, for the most part.

    However, a person who votes at the wrong polling place runs the risk of having part or all of one’s ballot invalidated. For example, communities like Pleasanton are split between two or more congressional and Assembly districts. A neighboring polling place may be in a different legislative district than one’s designated polling place. One’s vote for that legislative office would not count.

    The California Elections Code sec. 14310(c)(3) says:
    (3) The provisional ballot of a voter who is otherwise entitled to vote shall not be rejected because the voter did not cast his or her ballot in the precinct to which he or she was assigned by the elections official.
    (A) If the ballot cast by the voter contains the same candidates and measures on which the voter would have been entitled to vote in his or her assigned precinct, the elections official shall count the votes for the entire ballot.
    (B) If the ballot cast by the voter contains candidates or measures on which the voter would not have been entitled to vote in his or her assigned precinct, the elections official shall count only the votes for the candidates and measures on which the voter was entitled to vote in his or her assigned precinct.

    I doubt that a voter who attempts to vote in the wrong county would cast a ballot that actually would be counted. Each county only knows the registered voters within that county. Presumably, the counties are exchanging provisional ballots with one another so that votes for statewide ballot measures and statewide offices and shared legislative offices can be counted, but I am doubtful.

  • Jason Bezis

    The statement “If you show up in the wrong polling place, you can still vote but you will be given a provisional ballot that takes extra time to count” apparently is correct, for the most part.

    However, a person who votes at the wrong polling place runs the risk of having part or all of one’s ballot invalidated. For example, communities like Pleasanton are split between two or more congressional and Assembly districts. A neighboring polling place may be in a different legislative district than one’s designated polling place. One’s vote for that legislative office would not count.

    The California Elections Code sec. 14310(c)(3) says:
    (3) The provisional ballot of a voter who is otherwise entitled to vote shall not be rejected because the voter did not cast his or her ballot in the precinct to which he or she was assigned by the elections official.
    (A) If the ballot cast by the voter contains the same candidates and measures on which the voter would have been entitled to vote in his or her assigned precinct, the elections official shall count the votes for the entire ballot.
    (B) If the ballot cast by the voter contains candidates or measures on which the voter would not have been entitled to vote in his or her assigned precinct, the elections official shall count only the votes for the candidates and measures on which the voter was entitled to vote in his or her assigned precinct.

    I doubt that a voter who attempts to vote in the wrong county would cast a ballot that actually would be counted. Each county only knows the registered voters within that county. Presumably, the counties are exchanging provisional ballots with one another so that votes for statewide ballot measures and statewide offices and shared legislative offices can be counted, but I am doubtful.

  • Lisa Vorderbrueggen

    Here’s the answer to the provisional ballot question from the Secretary of State’s office:

    You are allowed to cast a provisional ballot if you go to the wrong polling place. However, you may well miss out on certain races you’re eligible to vote in, if the polling place you go to is in another Congressional, or Assembly, Senate, School Board, Supervisorial, etc. district than your designated polling place. That’s why it is always best to go to your designated polling place. Provisional ballots are set aside on election night so that elections officials can later determine if the person casting them was eligible to vote. If so, they are counted.

  • Lisa Vorderbrueggen

    Here’s the answer to the provisional ballot question from the Secretary of State’s office:

    You are allowed to cast a provisional ballot if you go to the wrong polling place. However, you may well miss out on certain races you’re eligible to vote in, if the polling place you go to is in another Congressional, or Assembly, Senate, School Board, Supervisorial, etc. district than your designated polling place. That’s why it is always best to go to your designated polling place. Provisional ballots are set aside on election night so that elections officials can later determine if the person casting them was eligible to vote. If so, they are counted.