In order to help people exercise their right to vote during the COVID-19 pandemic, the State of California and Contra Costa County have taken great steps to make voting in the November 3 election as safe as possible. Voters will be able to use a number of approaches and are encouraged to protect their health and the health of others while doing so.
Voting by mail is the safest voting option as it limits contact with others outside of a voter’s household, health officials say. The County is making voting by mail easy this year by sending every voter a mail-in ballot and paying for first-class return postage.
To ensure you receive a ballot in the mail, confirm you’re registered to vote before the statewide October 19 deadline: https://registertovote.ca.gov/. After October 19th, registration must be in person at one of our early voting sites or at the Elections Division in Martinez.
To vote by mail, voters can fill out their ballots and return them by mail or deliver them to one of 37 outdoor ballot drop-boxes across the county. Voters can find a list of convenient drop-box locations here. Ballots must be dropped off no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day or postmarked by November 3rd. The County is allowing 17 additional days for ballots to arrive if they are postmarked by Election Day.
“For everyone’s safety, we are urging voters to vote by mail and reserve in-person voting for those that require in-person services,” said Clerk-Recorder Deborah Cooper, the County’s top elections official. “Voting by mail protects voters, poll workers and our volunteers by limiting personal contact. All of our in-person voting locations will follow health protocols, which may cause delays and lines due to social distancing. The easiest and fastest way to vote is to vote with the ballot that we send to you.”
Those who choose to vote in person will be required to practice social distancing and wear face coverings. If voters don’t have PPE available, the County will provide it. All Elections staff and volunteers will be required to wear masks. Sanitizer will be available at the entry and exit of all in person polling places and we will be sanitizing equipment regularly.
To minimize the time spent at the polling place, voters should review their ballots ahead of time and arrive ready to vote for their preferred candidates and ballot measures.
“We know some people feel it’s important to cast their votes in person, but with COVID around, the safest choice this election is to vote by mail,” said Dr. Ori Tzvieli, deputy health officer for the County. “For folks who choose to go to their polling places to vote, we ask that they follow the same basic precautions they would as if they were going to the grocery store: wear face coverings, practice physical distancing and wash or sanitize your hands before and after you go.”
For more information on how or where to vote, visit Contra Costa County’s Elections website.
For more information on COVID-19 in English and Spanish, residents can visit our COVID-19 website.
To get tested for COVID, residents can call 855-5-TEST-ALL or go online and make an appointment.