Capitol Alert

Need a voting plan? Five steps to casting a ballot in California's election

How to use the new voting system in Sacramento County

Sacramento County’s new voting system sends ballots through the mail to every registered voter. Here's how you vote after you get your ballot.
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Sacramento County’s new voting system sends ballots through the mail to every registered voter. Here's how you vote after you get your ballot.

The election is on Tuesday, and you still haven't voted, or decided whether or how to vote. We're here to help.

Step 1: Register.

Find out if you're registered by checking the Secretary of State's website.

If you are not registered, there's still a chance. You can register conditionally through Election Day by visiting your county's election office, or in Sacramento County, one of 78 voting centers.

Step 2: Get a ballot.

If you didn't receive one in the mail, it's too late to request one. But you can get one at your county elections office, or at a voting center in Sacramento County. Sacramento, Madera, Napa, Nevada and San Mateo counties are testing a new voting system, and voters there automatically received ballots in the mail, while the rest of the state's voters had to request a vote-by-mail ballot in advance. In these five counties, the traditional neighborhood polling places will be replaced with voting centers.

Step 3: Who are these people? Find out.

There's still time to find out with some helpful reading material. The best place to start is The Bee voter guide, with comprehensive responses on key issues from more than 220 statewide and local candidates. And then there's The Bee editorial board's endorsements.

Want to go deeper? Here are links to news coverage of the governor's race, including videos. There are links to the U.S. Senate race and bonus coverage of the 4th Congressional District battle.

Step 4: Exercise your rights. Vote!

California voters can mail in ballots, as long as they are postmarked on or before Tuesday and are received no later than three days after election day. Remember to seal the envelope and affix the required postage. Be sure to sign the return envelope or it can not be counted. If you don't have the proper postage the ballot will still be delivered but the bill for insufficient postage will go to your county of residence, according to U.S. Postal Service officials.

Here is county-by-county information for voting. Again, Sacramento County residents are part of a trial system that involves voting centers and drop-off boxes instead of traditional polling places.

Sacramento County: 78 voting centers will be open, all offering conditional voter registration, in-person voting, replacement of vote-by-mail ballots and voting assistance. County residents can go to any voting center in the county to vote or drop off a ballot.

If you can't find a voting center, go to the county Voter Registration and Elections office at 7000 65th Street, Suite A in Sacramento.

There also are numerous drop-off locations in the county, including many public libraries,that accept ballots. Go the the county website for a list.

For more information, call 916-875-6451.

Placer County: Voters should have received a sample ballot pamphlet containing information about candidates and ballot measures. The pamphlet also will show residents the location of their neighborhood polling place for the June 5 election. You also can find the location of your polling place on the county's elections Office web site.

Voters can take advantage of early voting at the county's elections Office at 2956 Richardson Drive in Auburn. The office is open from 8 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on election day.

Voters also can vote by mail, if they received a vote-by-mail ballot. These ballots can be returned by mail, in person, or at a 24-hour drive-up drop-off box located at the Placer County Office of Elections or at any polling place in Placer County from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on election day.

Voters who haven't registered yet can get conditional voter registration at the elections office through June 5.

For more information, call the Placer County Office of Elections at (530) 886-5650 or toll free in California at (800) 824-8683.

El Dorado County: Residents can vote by mail, drop off ballots at the county elections office, 2850 Fairlane Court in Placerville, or at the satellite office in South Lake Tahoe, 3368 Lake Tahoe Boulevard, Suite 108, on or before June 5. Regular office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The offices will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on election day.

Voters also can apply for conditional voter registration at either office.

Residents who prefer to vote in person can go to the county web site to look up the location of their polling place.

For more information, call the elections office in Placerville at (530) 621-7480 or, from El Dorado Hills, (916) 358-3555, ext. 7480. The South Lake Tahoe office can be reached at (530) 573-7955, ext. 7480.

Yolo County: Voters can vote by mail or drop off ballots at the elections office at 625 Court St. No. B-05 in Woodland. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on June 5.

Residents can apply for conditional voter registration at the elections office, but they can not register to vote at neighborhood polling places.

The Woodland Public Library, Arthur F. Turner Community Library in West Sacramento, Mary L. Stephens Library in Davis, Winters Community Library and Esparto Regional Library are serving as drop-off points until noon June 4. For information about the hours of each library go to www.cityofwoodland.org/library for the Woodland Public Library, and www.yolocountylibrary.org for the four Yolo County sites.

To find your polling place go to www.yoloelections.org/voting/polling_place. Polling places will offer sample ballots and other informational materials, paper ballots and provisional voting. Polling places are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on election day.

For more information from Yolo County elections visit: www.yoloelections.org or call (530) 666-8133.

Step 5: Get ready for November.

Tuesday's election will winnow the lists of candidates in most races to two, and they will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot for all the marbles.

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