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Applying for Permanent Vote-by-Mail Status

Applying for a Vote-by-Mail Ballot

There are five ways to apply for a vote-by-mail ballot:

  • You may now call (415) 554-4375 to request a one-time ballot; or
  • Complete the online Vote-by-Mail Application; or
  • Complete the application provided on the back cover of your Voter Information Pamphlet; or
  • You may also download a Vote-by-Mail Application (PDF), which you can fill out and mail to the Department of Elections. First-class postage required if returned by U.S. mail; or
  • You may send us a signed note, postcard, or fax requesting a vote-by-mail ballot. On the request, please include the following:
    • The election date for which you are requesting a vote-by-mail ballot
    • Your full name
    • Date of birth
    • Your residential address
    • The address where the ballot is to be sent - if different from residential address
    • Your daytime phone number (Optional)
    • The date of your request
    • Your signature (Your request cannot be processed without it)

Submitting Your Vote-by-Mail Application Form

Your completed and signed request may be faxed, mailed or delivered to:

Department of Elections
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 48
San Francisco, CA 94102
Fax: (415) 554-4372

You may also have someone else deliver your vote-by-mail application.

Political campaigns often request that voters mail their applications to campaign headquarters. Mailing your vote-by-mail application to a third party may delay the delivery of your vote-by-mail ballot. It is advisable that completed vote-by-mail applications be delivered directly to the Department of Elections.

Voting in Person at City Hall (Voting Center)

Beginning 29 days before each election, you may vote early at the Department of Elections' Voting Center. The Voting Center is located on the Ground Floor of San Francisco City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 48. Enter City Hall at Grove Street.

Office hours for early voting are as follows:

  • 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday
  • 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday (two weekends before Election Day)
  • 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Election Day

For specific dates for Early Voting, please see Important Dates & Deadlines

Delivery of Vote-By-Mail Ballot after the Vote-by-Mail Application Deadline

If, within seven days before an election, you are unable, for any reason, to go to your polling place on Election Day, you may authorize a representative to pick up your vote-by-mail ballot in person at the Early Voting Counter. Your authorization, signed under penalty of perjury, must include your voter details, i.e. name, date of birth, San Francisco residence address, name of person authorized to pick up your ballot, and your signature.

Your authorized representative may:

  • Receive your ballot after presenting the Vote-by-Mail Ballot Pick-Up Authorization Form (PDF) to the Department of Elections.
  • Return the ballot to the Department of Elections or to any polling place by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.
  • Please Note: If your authorized representative returns the ballot, the appropriate section located on the upper flap of the vote-by-mail return envelope must be completed.
  • Emergency ballots may not be mailed.
  • Most hospitals and nursing homes provide assistance for their patients.

Marking your Vote-by-Mail Ballot

To ensure that your ballot is counted:

  • Make no identifying marks on your ballot
  • Do not sign or initial your ballot
  • Sign your name on the vote-by-mail return envelope
    (You must personally sign in the space provided; no one else, including persons with power of attorney, is permitted to sign for you)

Important: Please do not damage the bar code on your return envelope. It assists us in processing your ballot in a timely manner.

No postage is necessary to return your vote-by-mail envelope, if mailed within the U.S.

Deadline for Returning your Vote-by-Mail Ballot

In Person: Deadline for personal delivery Vote-by-Mail Ballot
Personal delivery ballot must be received by City Hall or at a polling place on Election Day by close of polls (8:00 p.m.).

Deadline for Mail or delivery service Vote-by-Mail Ballot
By mail or delivery service: Ballots must show a postmark, date stamp or dated signature on or before November 3 and received by Department of Elections no later than November 6.

Having Someone Else Return Your Vote-by-Mail Envelope
Both you and the person returning the ballot MUST complete and sign the appropriate sections on the vote-by-mail return envelope.

Last updated: 9/21/2015 2:18:32 PM