Adopt a Vote Center

California Voters Choice Act

California Secretary of State

Adopt A Vote Center Program

Background


In 2018, the counties of Madera, Napa, Nevada, Sacramento and San Mateo have adopted the Voter’s Choice Act (VCA). The VCA became law in 2016 to make voting more convenient and accessible. You can learn more about the new law here.

In preparation for the upcoming General Election on November 6, the Office of California Secretary of State Alex Padilla is launching a new effort to promote a key part of the VCA, vote centers. We are reaching out recruiting community groups to “adopt” a vote center and spread the word about the new options and conveniences available.

There are several ways in which an organization can adopt a vote center. For instance, in Sacramento County, the Greater Sacramento Urban League promoted their vote center on social media and created unique signage for their adopted vote center. The Urban League even organized a high school marching band to play on Election Day to further increase awareness of their location and the last day to vote.

Secretary of State Contact
Roberto Rizo or Olivia Wardlaw
Email: VotersChoice@sos.ca.gov
Phone: (916) 653-6774

Guidelines

Please follow these guidelines:

  1. Messages will be non-partisan - not supporting or opposing any political party, candidates for office, state propositions, or local measures.
  2. Do not offer anything in return for registering or voting.
  3. Keep signage 100 feet from the entrance to the vote center, unless you have express permission from county elections office.
  4. Follow any directions given by the county elections office or vote center workers.
  5. Promote the location and dates/times the vote center is open and the benefits vote centers provide voters.
  6. The Secretary of State can provide you with digital and printed materials.
  7. Contact Secretary of State staff with any questions, concerns or comments.

Choosing a Vote Center

The Secretary of State will have a list of priority vote centers to adopt. These vote centers were either underused or very busy for the June 2018 Primary Election. Adopters of an underused vote centers should prioritize promotion about their existence, availability, and benefits. Adopters of a busy vote center should prioritize promotion of early voting and ballot drop off.

If a vote center you want to adopt is not on the list, please discuss with Secretary of State staff.

Time Commitment

Some vote centers are open for 11 days and others are open for 4 days. Vote center adopters can adopt a vote center and commit to activities as long they would like. For example, you can promote the day a vote center opens, beginning days or even weeks prior to the first day of voting. However, we ask that organizations adopt a vote center for a minimum of 1 day. If you choose to adopt a vote center for the one day minimum, we strongly urge that you adopt the vote center on Election Day.

Branding

Vote Center adopters are allowed to brand any materials they create. Branding shall be nonpartisan and not support or oppose any political party, candidates for office, state propositions, or local measures.

Benefits of a Vote Center

Vote centers offer voters new conveniences and options:

  • Voters can vote in person at any vote center in Sacramento County.
  • Some vote centers are open for 11 days, while some are open for 4 days.
  • Register to vote and vote at any vote center until 8 pm on Election Day.
  • Drop off a ballot.
  • Receive a replacement ballot.
  • Use an accessible voting machine.
  • Receive bilingual services and translated materials.
  • Get help with any voting questions you may have.

Materials

The Secretary of State has created and collected VCA educational materials from all five counties into a “Toolkit” which can be found here. The Toolkit includes, but is not limited to:

Also, here are some posters you can share on your Social Media accounts. These posters are organized in the order they will be needed, starting with instructions on how to register to vote, and ending with an Election Day reminder:

Vote Center Adoption Strategies


Promote the Vote Center Digitally

Use your social media and email network to spread the word.

Social Media Ideas

  • Tag the location
  • Include the times and days it is open
  • Record a video
  • Use popular hashtags
  • Use an image of the location
  • Link to voter education materials
  • Ask people to take an action
  • Include motivational language

Email Ideas

  • Email your network with a personal invitation to vote
  • Include address, dates and times of the vote center
  • Include motivational message
  • Include links to educational materials

Create Unique Outdoor Signage

Consider weather conditions, lighting, and visibility when choosing materials and placement.

  • Directional signs starting from nearby busy streets.
  • Directional signs starting from nearby public transportation.
  • Chalking directional signs with permission of the location.
  • Set up festive decorations to draw attention.
  • Signage that promotes when the vote center will open.
  • Signage that educates about what a voter can do at a vote center.
  • Nonpartisan signage to motivate people to vote.

Organize Events

Consider the timing and location of the event. Ideally, an event near or at a vote center during the time it is open.

  • A celebratory event at or near the vote center.
  • A non-partisan education event about the issues and how voting works.
  • A march or walk to the vote center.

Face to Face

Research shows that a personal, face to face invitation to register and vote is the most effective. Promote the vote center directly to voters.

  • Give a presentation to a group.
  • Knock on doors in your neighborhood.
  • Organize a phone bank.

Earned Media

Many voters get their information from local news sources; radio, TV and print. When you organize an event or action please reach out to local media to cover it. This can help amplify your message to a wider audience and further promote the vote center. If you would like assistance, please contact our office.

  • Consider your audience and message.
  • Send a press release highlighting your message.
  • Directly call and invite the media you would like to cover.
  • Be prepared to be interviewed, prepare a quote.

Election Day Volunteers

Provide volunteers at the vote center on Election Day to help manage traffic. Volunteers can help to:

  • Greet the voters, provide a warm welcome.
  • Provide directions to where a voter can drop off their ballot.
  • Provide directions to where a voter can vote-in person.
  • Provide directions to where a voter can register to vote.
  • Identify vote center staff that can answer any questions they have.