The Marin County Public Health and the Marin County Elections Department are in perfect harmony on their most timely message: If you haven’t voted in the November 3 General Election yet, voting by mail is the safest option during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Municipal governments are helping residents exercise their right to vote and taking steps to make voting before and on Election Day as safe as possible – not just for voters but for those working at polling stations and in the Elections Department.
The voter registration deadline is Monday, October 19. Registering to vote online through the State of California website is the safest way to do it under the public health sheltering order. After that day, conditional registration and voting must be in person at the Elections Department in Suite 121 of the Marin County Civic Center, 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael. Residents may also conditionally register and vote at one of early voting sites that open in Marin on October 31. Anyone may check the state website to confirm that they are registered to vote.
Voting by mail and registering online limits contact with others outside of a voter’s household, and that’s the key to reducing the spread of COVID-19 and flattening the curve. Every registered voter in California has been mailed a mail-in ballot with an envelope that includes first-class return postage already paid. Any registered voter who did not receive a ballot in the mail should contact or stop by the Elections Department.
The Elections Department has its own ballot drop box in the Civic Center hallway just outside the office door. In addition, there are two secure outdoor drop boxes at the Civic Center archways at which drivers can conveniently deposit the envelope:
- Vera Schultz Drive (North Archway)
- Peter Behr Drive (South Archway)
Other official drop boxes can be found at the following locations around Marin County (additional sites may be added to the list, which can be confirmed online):
- Albert J. Boro Community Center, 50 Canal St, San Rafael
- Bolinas Community Center, 14 Wharf Road, Bolinas
- Corte Madera Recreation Center, 498 Tamalpais Drive, Corte Madera
- Fairfax Town Hall, 142 Bolinas Road, Fairfax
- Marin City Library, 164 Donahue Street, Sausalito
- Marin Health and Wellness Campus, 3240 Kerner Boulevard, San Rafael
- Mill Valley City Hall, 26 Corte Madera Avenue, Mill Valley
- Novato Library, 1720 Novato Boulevard, Novato
- San Anselmo Town Hall, 525 San Anselmo Avenue, San Anselmo
- West Marin Health and Human Services Center, 1 Sixth Street, Point Reyes
- Whistlestop (now known as Vivalon), 930 Tamalpais Avenue, San Rafael
Elections Department hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays or until 8 p.m. on Election Day. The department will be open the weekend before the election — October 31 and November 1 – from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to assist voters with registration and voting. Ballots must be dropped off no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day or postmarked by November 3. The County is allowing 17 additional days for ballots to arrive if they are postmarked by Election Day.
In addition, voters may use a ballot drop box at one of 29 local polling stations that will be open October 31 through November 3. The list of polling stations and hours of operation are found on www.marinvotes.org. Voters were assigned to a specific location for in-person voting and should refer to their Voter Information Guide/Sample Ballot for more information.
Those who choose to vote in person will be required to practice social distancing and wear face coverings. If voters don’t have personal protective equipment available, the County will provide it. All Elections staff and volunteers will be required to wear face coverings. Hand sanitizer will be available at the entry and exit of all in-person polling places and staff will sanitize 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.