SOVAC UCSD — Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) while Registering Voters
1. How can I quickly and easily register to vote for the upcoming election?
Fill out a voter registration form (a.k.a. a voter registration card, or VRC):
Any SOVAC member can help you register to vote and return your completed form to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters — you can usually find us tabling on Library Walk or inside of Geisel Library, as well as at various events at UCSD.
If you don’t see us, you can also take a blank form and follow our posted instructions (also found here), and then drop the form in a nearby drop-box in Geisel Library or your college’s Residence Life Office. A SOVAC member will then pick up and return your completed form to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters.
In compliance with the Elections Code, we will return all completed forms to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters within 72 hours of receiving them (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and state holidays), or before the deadline for application, whichever is sooner.
Use SOVAC’s new online registration tool:
It’s quick and easy, and it’s all you need to do to be ready to vote in the next election (June 7, 2016).
QR Code for Online Registration Tool:
In order to vote in the next election, you need to register at least 15 days prior to Election Day.
You aren’t required to vote, but you should. And we’ll explain why in an upcoming post, so check back soon! But until then:
***If you’re trying to establish California residency for in-state tuition, registering to vote in California is one way to indicate your intent to become a California resident. Click here for more information.
3. Am I eligible to register/vote?
To register to vote using our online tool, you MUST be:
- A United States citizen;
- A resident of California (there is no waiting period after moving to California, but you must be registered by the deadline 15 days before the next election; students attending college in California can vote at their college address.)
- 18 years of age or older ON Election Day (June 7, 2016)
- Not found by a court to be mentally incompetent;
- Not in prison, on parole, serving a state prison sentence in county jail, serving a sentence for a felony pursuant to subdivision (h) of Penal Code section 1170, or on post release community supervision (for more information on the rights of people who have been incarcerated, please see the Secretary of State’s Voting Rights for Californians with Criminal Convictions or Detained in Jail or Prison).
***Once an individual has completed a felony sentence, including any parole or post-release supervision, they must re-register to vote before the registration deadline.)
4. Under what circumstances do I need to re-register to vote?
You must re-register to vote if you move/change your address (so when you get a new UCSD mailbox number at the beginning of the school year, you need to re-register).
You also need to re-register if you change your legal name or change your political party preference.
If you did not vote in the last election but your address has not changed, then generally speaking, you do not need to re-register.
5. I don’t know if I’m already registered. Can I re-register?
You can check if you are currently registered here, but it if you were previously registered to vote at UCSD and have re-registered with a different mailbox number, then this will not tell you if your mailbox number has been updated.
You can always send in another form to make sure you are registered with your current address (and current mailbox number).
6. Which address should I register at?
If you’re going to be on campus on Tuesday, June 7, 2016 (Finals Week of Spring Quarter), which is the upcoming primary election, we recommend that you register with your on-campus address so that you can vote on-campus.
We also recommend that you opt for a mail-in/absentee ballot so that you can get your official ballot in the mail early, fill it out on your own time, and then drop it off at any polling place, rather than waiting in line at your assigned one. (See question below for further information).
You can also track your mail-in ballot here: http://
However, you can also register with your permanent address back home (items 4 through 6), then enter your on-campus mailing address (items 7 and 8) and check the box to opt for a mail-in ballot ,which would be sent to your on-campus mailing address, allowing you to vote as an absentee for your selected district.
If you wish to register to vote at your home address from a different county, you can still use our form and we can turn it in to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters who can send it to your home county, or you can mail it as well.
7. How do I vote-by-mail/become a permanent absentee voter (PAV)?
On a Voter Registration Card (VRC)/Form: Initial on Item 15 to receive a vote-by-mail ballot for all future elections. (If your mailing address changes, including your UCSD mailbox number for those living on-campus, you will still need to re-register to update your address). The deadline to register to vote is 15 days prior to the election (May 23, 2016 for the upcoming June 7, 2016 election).
If you already registered to vote but want a mail-in ballot: You can fill out a Vote-By-Mail/Permanent Absentee Form to receive a vote-by-mail ballot for all future elections. (If your mailing address changes, including your UCSD mailbox number for those living on-campus, you will still need to re-register to update your address). The deadline to request a vote-by-mail ballot is one week before the election (May 31, 2016 for the upcoming June 7, 2016 election). You can also find a request form on the back of your sample ballot that you should receive in the mail prior to your election.
Why you should vote-by-mail:
We recommend that you opt for a mail-in/absentee ballot so that you can get your official ballot in the mail early, fill it out on your own time, and then drop it off at any polling place, rather than waiting in line at your assigned one. This is particularly important for students living on-campus at UCSD as the next election will take place on June 7, 2016 (Tuesday of Spring Quarter’s Finals Week).
You will be mailed an official mail ballot packet between the 29th day and the 7th day before the election, allowing you to fill it out and return it on your own time.
Your packet will include an official mail ballot, voting instructions, and an official vote by mail return envelope.
Step 1: Mark your choices on your vote by mail ballot as provided in the instructions
Step 2: Place your voted ballot in the official envelope and seal it.
Step 3: Place the proper postage and SIGN the outside of the return envelope.
Your mail-in ballot WILL be counted if it arrives on time, and if you sign the outside of the return envelope, as required.
NOTE: If you do not sign where indicated on the outside of the return envelope, your ballot will not be counted. Your signature must match the signature on your registration form.
***Due to U.S. Post Office closures, mail-in ballots should be returned by mail no later than the Wednesday prior to a Tuesday election (June 1, 2016 for the upcoming June 7, 2016 election). After that, the best way to ensure your mail-in ballot is counted is to return it in person.
You can send in your official ballot through the mail, drop it off at any designated drop-off location (including the San Diego Registrar of Voters), or drop it off at any polling place in the county on Election Day, until the polls close at 8 PM.
You can also track your mail-in ballot here: http://
*** If the voter failed to sign their vote-by-mail ballot envelope before sending it in, or they sent their vote-by-mail ballot in too late, then they may cast a provisional ballot:
- If the voter did vote and return their vote-by-mail ballot but failed to sign the vote-by-mail ballot envelope, then the voter’s provisional ballot will be counted, provided they complied with the instructions associated with the provisional ballot. The voter should preferably go to their assigned polling location to vote provisionally in order to ensure that they can vote in all of the races they are entitled to vote in (including local races below the county level).
- If you think you may have sent it in too late, you may cast a provisional ballot (If the voter did vote and return their vote-by-mail ballot before the close of polls on Election Day, then the vote-by-mail ballot will be counted and the provisional ballot will not be counted.)
8. Which election is this for/when is the next election?
The June 7th, 2016 election is the California presidential primary, but it will also include other federal, state, and local elections, as well as ballot measures. The next one after this will be the general election on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. You will have to re-register if you change addresses (or even just mailbox numbers) from between the primary and general elections, but SOVAC will be there to help!
9. Do I have to register with a party preference? What’s the difference of registering with a party or without?
You are not required to register with a political party. However, California has a “modified” closed primary system for Presidential elections, which permits voters who decline to provide a political party preference (“No Party Preference”/NPP voters, formerly known as “Decline to State”/DTS voters) to participate in a primary election if authorized by an individual party’s rules and duly noticed by the Secretary of State.
For the June 5, 2012 Presidential Primary Election, only the American Independent Party and the Democratic Party adopted a rule permitting no party preference voters to request a party ballot for the Presidential Primary Election. Click here to view a history of political parties that have adopted party rules regarding no party preference (NPP) voters. If a qualified political party chooses to hold a modified-closed presidential primary, the party must notify the California Secretary of State no later than the 135th day before Election Day.
If you register with “no party preference” (NPP), there is a chance that you may not be able to vote for some parties’ candidates at a primary election for U.S. President or party committee. If you choose not to register with a party, don’t forget to check “No, I don’t want to register with a political party” on item 14 of the registration form.
10. What’s the campus address? La Jolla zip code? Where do I put my mailbox number?
On-campus UCSD Address:
Street address – 9450 Gilman Drive
Apt or Unit # – _ _ _ _ _ (your mailbox # goes here!!!)
City – La Jolla
State – CA
Zip Code – 92092
California County – San Diego
Put your mailbox number where is says “Apt or Unit #,” for Item 4 after the street/home address.You should be provided with your mailbox number before move-in at http://hdh.ucsd.edu/housing/myroomassignment.asp, as well as during the move-in process. Otherwise, you should contact your college’s residence life office.
11. When is the last day to register?
You can register up to 15 days before the election. For the June 7, 2016 election, the last day to register to vote is May 23, 2016.
If registering to vote online, it must be completed and submitted before midnight by the deadline.
12. Does registering to vote make me eligible for jury duty?
The court draws names from many sources, including the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). An individual is more likely to be called for jury duty because of possessing a driver’s license than because of registering to vote. You can also get on the list from filing tax returns or buying a home.
No person is exempt from jury duty by reason of occupation. Based on their student status, students may request a deferral of service to the next school break. Students must respond to jury duty summons and appear in court to request to be excused.
13. Where can I get more election information?
San Diego County – sdvote.com
Rock the Vote – rockthevote.org
The League of Women Voters, San Diego – lwvsandiego.org
Smart Voter – smartvoter.org
Ballot Pedia – ballotpedia.org
California Choices – californiachoices.org
14. What do SOVAC members do with this registration form?
SOVAC members will turn in your completed registration form to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters, in compliance with the Elections Code, within 72 hours (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and state holidays) of receiving the completed forms, or before the deadline for application, whichever is sooner.
We guarantee that your information will not be sold or distributed to any outside party, and that the only people that will see your completed form, other than those at the San Diego County Registrar of Voters, are the those working with SOVAC to assist you in completing your ballot and delivering it to the Registrar of Voters.
You should receive a Voter Notification Card from your county Registrar of Voters in approximately 2-3 weeks.
15. Can I take the form with me? Where do I drop it off?
Yes! While SOVAC members are available to help you fill out your form properly and turn it in to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters (SD ROV) for you, you can also send in your ballot to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters through the mail, or drop it off there in person yourself.
You can also fill out the blank form on your own and turn it in to a SOVAC member, or drop it off in any designated drop-box locations in Geisel Library or your Residence Life Office, and a SOVAC member will turn it in to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters for you in compliance with the Elections Code (see previous question for more information).
***Please read the provided information before filling out the form on your own to make sure it is completed correctly (especially the mailbox number!)
16. Where do I go to vote?
If you’re living on-campus, your polling place location is determined by your college of residence (based on your mailbox number provided when you registered to vote). They will be posted online and on-campus, as they may have changed from the previous elections.
ON CAMPUS RESIDENTS:
Provisional Voting and Absentee @ Red Shoe Room, Sun God Lounge, 2nd Floor of Price Center (PC)
Revelle @ Bear Room, Sun God Lounge, 2nd Floor of Price Center (PC)
Muir @ Half Dome Lounge
Marshall @ Ocean View Lounge
ERC @ Middle Earth Lounge
Warren @ Student Activity Center
Sixth @ Dogg House
The Village/I-House @ Building 2 Conference Room
South Mesa Apartments @ COMM RM #3755
View map here:
OFF CAMPUS RESIDENTS:
You should also receive a sample ballot in the mail listing your polling location.
17. When do I need to vote provisionally? How do I vote provisionally?
You should go to vote at your assigned polling location. The poll workers there will check the roster for your name, and if they cannot locate it, then they will try to assist you in finding your correct polling location. SOVAC will post the assigned UCSD polling locations online prior to the election!
If you believe you actually are registered to vote and you want to vote at the polling location where you are, you are entitled to vote via a provisional ballot. You are not required to provide any form of identification in order to vote provisionally.
After you vote provisionally, your ballot will be placed in a special provisional ballot envelope. Your vote will be counted if:
- The county elections official can verify that you are, in fact, registered to vote and
- You have not already voted
* If you go to a precinct other than the one you were assigned to, only the votes for the candidates and measures on which you were entitled to vote in your assigned precinct will be counted.
You have a right to know if your vote was counted. Contact your county elections office to ask if the ballot with your voting receipt number was counted.
The most common circumstances when an elections official will ask a voter to cast a provisional ballot:
- First-time voters (who cannot provide a proper form of ID). Under federal law, a person who is voting for the first time in a federal election is required to provide proof of identification, even if their name is on the polling place roster. If the voter cannot provide proof of identification, the voter will be asked to cast a provisional ballot. The elections official will verify the voter’s eligibility by comparing their signature on the provisional ballot envelope with the signature on their voter registration form and if the signatures match, then the ballot will be counted. (Elections Code sections 14310(c), 15350, and 3019.)
- Vote-by-mail voters who appear in person (without their mail-in ballot). In this instance, the voter’s name is on the polling place roster and the roster notes the voter requested a vote-by-mail ballot. However, the voter states they didn’t receive the ballot, lost the ballot, or spoiled the ballot and doesn’t have it with them. After the voter casts a provisional ballot, the elections official will check the records to ensure that the voter did not cast their vote-by-mail ballot. If this is the case and the voter’s signature on the provisional ballot envelope matches the signature on the voter’s registration card, then the voter’s provisional ballot will be counted. (Elections Code sections 3016, 14310(f), 15350, 15100 et seq.) If the voter did vote and return their vote-by-mail ballot before the close of polls on Election Day, then the vote-by-mail ballot will be counted and the provisional ballot will not be counted. If the voter did vote and return their vote-by-mail ballot but failed to sign the vote-by-mail ballot envelope, then the voter’s provisional ballot will be counted, provided they complied with the instructions associated with the provisional ballot.
- Voters who have moved within their county without re-registering to vote. The voter’s name is not on the polling place roster because they moved within the county but did not re-register to vote. This also happens when a voter updates their driver’s license with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) but the DMV’s computer system doesn’t update the voter’s registration information, as it is required to do by law. In either instance, the voter is entitled to vote a provisional ballot at the polling place based on their current address. The elections official is required to count the ballot if the voter’s signature on the provisional ballot envelope matches the signature on the voter’s prior registration form. The elections official is then required to re-register the voter at their new address for all future elections. (Elections Code sections 14310, 14311, 15350, 15100 et seq.)
- Voters who are not on the polling place roster for an unknown reason. Should this occur, the elections official will check the county’s official registration records after Election Day. If the voter was properly registered to vote in the county and in the precinct in which they voted, their provisional ballot will be counted. If the voter was registered to vote at another address in the county, their votes will be counted in the races they voted on as if they were voting in their home precinct (i.e., their votes for U.S. President, statewide, and countywide measures will be counted, but their votes in a city council race may not be counted if the precinct they’re registered in is in a different city council district than the one in which they cast a ballot). If the voter is not registered to vote or is registered to vote in another county or state, their ballot will not be counted in part or in whole. (Elections Code section 14310(c)(3).
*** If the voter believes they failed to sign their vote-by-mail ballot envelope before sending it in, or believes they sent in their vote-by-mail ballot too late: If the voter did vote and return their vote-by-mail ballot, but failed to sign the vote-by-mail ballot envelope, then the voter’s provisional ballot will be counted, provided they complied with the instructions associated with the provisional ballot. If the voter did vote, sign the vote-by-mail ballot envelope, and return their vote-by-mail ballot before the close of polls on Election Day, then the vote-by-mail ballot will be counted and the provisional ballot will not be counted. The voter should preferably go to their assigned polling location to vote provisionally in order to ensure that they can cast a vote for all of the races and measures that they are entitled to vote on (including local ones below the county level).
18. When can I vote?
Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Election Day (June 7, 2016), but you have the right to cast a ballot if you are present and in line at the polling place prior to the close of the polls.
You can drop off a completed vote-by-mail/absentee ballot to any approved drop-off location prior to Election Day (list will be posted here), or to any polling location in the county, or to the Registrar of Voters itself no later than 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.
19. Do I have to vote in every race or on every measure on my ballot?
No, you can leave any race or measure blank if you do not feel informed enough to make a decision.
20. Is there a limit for how long I can stay in the polling booth?
No, there is no limit on how much time you spend in the polling booth. However, it is recommended that you mark the sample ballot you will receive in the mail ahead of time with your choices so that you can finish voting as quickly as possible in order to reduce wait time at the polls.
21. Are there restrictions on what I may take into the polling booth?
No, there are no restrictions on what you may take into the polling booth. In fact, it is actually recommended that you mark the sample ballot you will receive in the mail ahead of time with your choices so that you can finish voting as quickly as possible in order to reduce wait time at the polls.
22. What if I make a mistake on my ballot?
If you make a mistake on your ballot, you may request another paper ballot. Using any voting system, you have the right to be notified on how to identify and correct specified errors in voting.
23. Can I be a poll worker at UCSD?
Yes! For more information you can go to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters (SD ROV) info page on Poll Workers, read their FAQ, and apply online. You can earn money for yourself or your student organization/club, and potentially even more if you can speak a language other than English! Make sure to email us at email@example.com so we can work with the Registrar of Voters to hopefully get you placed at a UCSD polling location.
College Student Poll Worker Program: Receive a stipend, a community service certificate, and have the prestige of community service on your resume early in your career. To be eligible you must be a registered voter in California.
Community Based Organizations: If you belong to any clubs or organizations, you might let your members know that serving at poll sites can be a great fundraiser, with club members donating their poll worker stipends to the organization.
***Workers receive a volunteer stipend of $75 to $175 depending upon assignment. Additional $15 for bilingual Chinese, Filipino, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Spanish, or Vietnamese assignment.
24. How can I get involved in SOVAC’s non-partisan voter registration drive?
25. What political student organizations are there on campus?
SOVAC is a non-partisan committee that works under the External office of the Associated Students (A.S.). You can find a list of all UCSD registered political student orgs here!