The Registration & Elections Division has a long-standing commitment to working with voters with disabilities to help them exercise their right to vote.
Through site visits and cooperation from various facilities throughout San Mateo County, all voting locations are ADA accessible to voters with disabilities under ADA Title II and in compliance with guidelines set by the California Secretary of State.
In 2015, the Registration & Elections Division founded the Voter Accessibility Advisory Committee (VAAC), a committee designed to provide guidance and information on accessibility matters related to the conduct of elections. You may read more about the VAAC’s role below.
Registered voters with disabilities may:
- Request a Remote Accessible Vote by Mail Ballot. The Remote Accessible Vote by Mail System allows voters to vote privately and independently by accessing and marking an electronic ballot in a screen-readable format on any computer at any time. Voters using this online system will log in and download their ballot to a computer, mark their choices, and then print the ballot. The ballot must then be returned to the Registration & Elections Division via mail, in a Drop Box, or at any Vote Center. Voters can go online to www.smcacre.org/elections/my-election-info and enter their information to find a link to their ballot or voters can email us at email@example.com or call 650.312.5222 to have a link to their ballot emailed to them.
- Request to have a Vote by Mail paper ballot personally delivered to their home at a convenient time by Elections Division staff, who will assist them in marking and returning the ballot.
- Request that Elections Division staff bring an accessible Ballot Marking Tablet to a convenient location, to mark a ballot privately and independently. This system includes audio ballot reading technology, uniquely shaped large buttons with Braille descriptions, a low height to permit wheelchair-based use, and use of adaptive interface devices such as sip-and-puff and tactile input switches to control the input. The Elections Division staff will set up the equipment and be available to assist the voter during the process.
- Request that the Elections Division staff arrange free transportation for the voter to and from a Vote Center during the early voting period, where the County’s accessible Ballot Marking Tablet may be used by the voter.
Options 2 – 4 are generally available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., on business days during the early voting period starting 29 days before the election. Voters who contact the Elections Division Monday through Thursday will receive service the following day or sooner. Voters who contact us on Fridays can schedule an appointment for the following Monday or sooner if possible. Special accommodations can be made for service outside established hours. Option 1 is available anytime, day or night, during the early voting period.
These options only apply to San Mateo County registered voters. Other voters should contact their County elections official for assistance.
If you have questions or to schedule one of the options listed above, please contact the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division at 888.SMC.VOTE (888.762.8683) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dominion Democracy Suite Voting System
Democracy Suite enables new options for accessible voting.
The ballot marking tablet accommodates voters with visual impairments by presenting the ballot in audio format during an accessible voting session. Headsets provide voters with audio instructions to perform all actions, such as selecting language, adjusting volume and speed of ballot, and reviewing, editing or changing a write-in selection.
An Audio Tactile Interface (ATI), a handheld device that is used by a voter during an Accessible Voting Session, is used to navigate though and make selections to their ballot.
- Has raised buttons of different shapes and colors, with Braille numbers and letters
- Can be operated with one hand
- Includes two 3.5 mm headphone jacks, one for headphones and one for assistive devices like jelly switches, paddles or sip and puff devices
The new voting booths are designed for accessibility. The ballot marking tablet screen can be tilted to support viewing from either a standing or seated position.
To facilitate curbside voting, each Vote Center will have an informational sign with a wireless bell, which can be activated with a tap or light touch from a vehicle’s window. The VCRs will hear the bell and provide a sanitized clipboard and pen with a check-in form for the voter(s). A voter may ask to provide the information verbally to the VCR to fill-in the check-in form.
Depending on the voter’s preference and registration status, two people (either two staff or one staff member and the voter’s assistant) will:
- Create a Vote by Mail packet-to-go for the voter, which can be mailed, dropped off at an outdoor Drop Box or brought back to any Vote Center.
- Bring a paper ballot to the voter inside a secrecy folder and, after the voter has marked their ballot, the team assisting will deposit the voted ballot in a ballot box.
If voter asks to see their ballot deposited directly into the ballot box, the Vote Center Lead will send two staff to bring out a sealed ballot box to the car.
At our 30-Day, 11-Day Vote Centers, the Foster City and Menlo Park 4-Day Vote Centers, if a voter requires a ballot marking tablet to vote independently, two people (either two staff or one staff member and the voter’s assistant) can bring a curbside cart with a ballot marking tablet and printer out to their vehicle. The ballot will be cast following the return instructions above.
The County of San Mateo is committed to making its electronic and information technologies accessible to individuals with disabilities in conformance with the requirements of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. 794d), as amended in 1998.