Especially for First Time Voters

Registration numbers spiked to 389,718 San Mateo County voters prior to the deadline for the Nov. 4th Election. Thousands of first-time voters were motivated to cast a ballot for this nationally and locally historic election.

If you are a first-time voter, take special note of what to expect on Election Day.  It’s going to be craziness on Tuesday, and a little preparation will go a long way.

Our Sample Ballot and Official Voter Information Pamphlet has great advice for first-time voters.  Here’s a recap of what we published:

1. Know where you are going. If you’re planning on voting at the polls, know where you are going before you head out.  If you have your Sample Ballot and Official Voter Information Pamphlet handy, check the back cover.  Your polling location should be listed there.  Verify your polling place location by visiting the “Voter ToolKit” on www.shapethefuture.org.  Click on “Locate your Polling Place” and follow the instructions to find your assigned polling location.

2.  Know your choices. Read up on the propositions, measures, and candidates ahead of time.  Don’t wait until you get to your voting booth to review your Voter Information Pamphlet.  Make use of your Sample Ballot by pre-marking it at home, then using it as a guide for when you cast your real ballot at the polls.  If you can’t find your Sample Ballot, check out the “Voter ToolKit” on www.shapethefuture.org.  Click on “Check your Voter Registration Status and View your Sample Ballot.”  Simply fill out the required information, and a link to your actual Sample Ballot will open in a PDF format.  Remember — you don’t have to vote for everthing on the ballot.  Vote for what you want to vote on.

3. Watch our video on voting on the eSlate. Know how to use the voting machine ahead of time.  You can watch our “how-to” on http://www.shapethefuture.org/eslate/votevideo.html or at our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/democracylive.  By the way, while you’re on our YouTube channel, check out our other videos for great voter tips!

4. Bring ID. You probably won’t have to show your ID when you vote if you already provided proof of identification when you registered.  However, if you didn’t provide one of the identification numbers listed on the voter registration form when you registered to vote, you may be asked to show proof of identity and residency.  For a list of acceptable IDs, check out http://www.shapethefuture.org/voters/first-time.asp.

5.  When you check in, make sure to tell the poll worker your name and residential address. They can’t use a PO box or mailing address to sign you in.

6. Don’t bring in a camera, cell phone, or any type of campaign materials. Polling places are quiet zones.  Cameras, cell phones, and any thing that can be construed as electioneering are strictly prohibited.  Help us prevent issues by keeping these things out of the voting area.  For more info about electioneering, visit www.sos.ca.gov/elections/ccrov/pdf/2008/september/08285cbm.pdf.

7. Ask questions! Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it.  Poll workers are there to help voters.

There will likely be a wait when you arrive at the polls.  But if voters are prepared, it will help us ensure a much smoother voting experience for everyone!

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