SACRAMENTO, Dec. 15, 2017 – Big improvements are coming to elections in Madera, Napa, Nevada, Sacramento, and San Mateo counties in 2018 thanks to the California Voter’s Choice Act. To help prepare voters in those counties for these changes, Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced a new website: voterschoice.sos.ca.gov. The Voter’s Choice Act (SB 450) is a landmark election reform measure that was sponsored by Secretary Padilla and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in 2016.
Click here to see a Voter’s Choice Act informational video featuring Secretary Padilla and California elections officials.
Beginning in 2018, all registered voters in these counties will automatically be sent a ballot 28 days prior to Election Day. Voters will be able to return their ballot by mail, deliver it to a drop-off location, or cast it in-person at any vote center in the county.
“By adopting the Voter’s Choice Act, Madera, Napa, Nevada, Sacramento, and San Mateo counties are making elections more accessible and convenient,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. “In counties adopting the Voter’s Choice Act, voters will have more options for when, where, and how they cast a ballot. This new website provides information that will help voters take advantage of these exciting new reforms. I encourage voters who want to learn more or get involved to visit voterschoice.sos.ca.gov and sign up for updates from our office. Public input and participation are key as elections administrators implement the Voter’s Choice Act. Building a more inclusive election system will make our communities stronger.”
The new website has useful information about the Voter’s Choice Act, a calendar of important events, and a tool kit for stakeholders and voters interested in learning more.
Key elements of the Voters Choice Act (SB 450)
Every registered voter will be delivered a ballot 28 days before Election Day. Voters will be able to vote in-person at a vote center, return their ballot by mail, or drop it off at a vote center or at a ballot drop-off location.
Traditional polling places will be replaced by Vote Centers. Voters will have the freedom to cast a ballot at any vote center in their county instead of being limited to a single polling location closest to home. Vote centers look and feel like polling places, but provide additional benefits and options for voters.
For example, at a vote center, a voter may:
- Cast a ballot in-person
- Drop-off their ballot
- Access same-day voter registration
- Receive a replacement ballot
- Use accessible voting machines
- Access language assistance and translated materials
State law requires at least one vote center for every 10,000 registered voters on Election Day and the Saturday, Sunday, and Monday leading up to Election Day. Starting 10 days before the Election and through the Friday before Election Day, state law requires at least one vote center for every 50,000 registered voters.
Ballot Drop-Off Locations
Ballot drop-off locations provide voters with an additional way to return their ballot. Starting 28 days before Election Day there will be at least one drop-off location for every 15,000 registered voters. Drop-off locations must be secure, accessible to voters with disabilities, and located as near as possible to public transportation routes.
Voter Education and Public Process for Adopting Vote Center Plans
Every county that adopts the SB 450 reforms is required to draft and adopt a detailed plan through an open, public process. Counties are required to hold education workshops with community groups, including organizations that assist voters with disabilities and language minority communities.