Voting Assistance for Voters with Specific Needs

Ryan Ronco, County Clerk - Recorder - Registrar of Voters

Office of Elections
2956 Richardson Drive
PO Box 5278
Auburn, CA 95604

Phone: (530) 886-5650
E-mail: [email protected]

Election Guide for Voters with Specific Needs

Voting is Your Right - Election Guide

Reaching Out...Voter Outreach Program

We consider our voters with specific needs as some of the most valuable individuals who exercise their right to vote. They keep up-to-date on political issues and have been faithful voters throughout the years. In order to keep their registrations current, we have implemented an outreach program for those with specific needs who have moved into senior residential homes and assisted care homes. Election staff assists these voters with completing voter registration cards and offer permanent vote-by-mail status. Election personnel can determine if voters are registered at their current residence by looking at the registrations rolls. This innovative outreach program has been very successful and rewarding.

What Is Our Goal?

100% participation of eligible voters in all elections
100% polling place accessibility
Provide options for all voters who seek independent and private voting

In compliance with federal law and state law we provide services to voters with specific needs including:

  • Accessible polling places
  • Wheelchair accessible voting booths
  • Magnifying devices at  and large type voting instructions at polling places
  • TDD Services for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Voting pens with attachable grip adapter for voting ease
  • Cassette tapes with State measures
  • CD's with County sample ballot information
  • Vote by mail and permanent vote by mail voting options
  • Poll worker assistance at any step of the voting process
  • Delivery of ballots
  • Voter outreach presentations and demonstrations

Pre-Election Day Services

General Information

Information regarding voter registration and elections is available from the home page of this website. The office is located at 2956 Richardson Drive, Auburn, CA. Our mailing address is P.O. Box 5278, Auburn, CA. 95604. Citizens can contact our office for information by calling 530-886-5650, or toll free in California at 1-800-824-8683. The office is open 8:00a.m. to 5:00p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. See Current Elections on this website for special weekend hours or telephone our office.

TDD (Telecommuniction Devices) Services for the Hearing Impaired

The California Secretary of State provides a telecommunications device (TDD) to take calls from individuals with impairments. The TDD number for hearing impaired voters who would like registration or voting information is 1-800-833-8683

Cassette and CD Recordings of Voter Information

In California, cassette tape recordings of the information printed in the State Voter Information Guide are available for statewide Primary and General Elections upon request. The County of Placer offers CD recordings of the information printed in the Sample Ballot including local measures as well as local candidate statements. The cassette and CD's are available upon request at the Office of Elections, and are made available approximately four weeks before the election. 

Early Voting Options

State law provides that any voter may apply for a vote-by-mail ballot. If a voter wants to maintain the option of voting by mail or at the polls, the voter can apply for a vote-by-mail ballot for any election in which he/she would like the ballot mailed. Applications must be received by the Placer County Office of Elections seven (7) days prior to the election.

Applications for vote-by-mail ballots can be found on the back cover of the sample ballot booklet and on this website or you may contact our office and we will mail you one. You can also request a vote-by-mail ballot in writing by sending us your name, residence address, mailing address (if different than your residence address), and your signature to Placer County Office of Elections, PO Box 5278, Auburn CA 95604. All applications can be returned by mail, hand delivered, or faxed to our office at 530-886-5688. An individual application is needed for each person requesting the ballot.

Beginning 29 days prior to each election, the Placer County Office of Elections in Auburn serves as a voting center during regular business hours, 8AM to 5PM, Monday through Friday. Contact our office or visit our website under Current Elections for special weekend hours.

Permanent Vote-by-Mail Voting (PVBM)

Due to changes in the law in 2002, any voter may apply for permanent vote-by-mail status (PVBM). As a PVBM voter, a voter will no longer have to apply to receive a ballot for future elections. A ballot will automatically be mailed to the voter with PVBM status for each election in which they are eligible to vote. The application to become a PVBM is available on the back  of the sample ballot booklet (check the appropriate box on the application), and on this website here or contact our office at 530-886-5650 and we will mail you an application.

If you would like to be a PVBM voter, just check the box on the form, sign and return the form to our office. Once we receive your request, we will mail you your vote-by-mail ballot for all future elections. The last day to request that a vote-by-mail ballot be mailed to you is seven (7) days prior to an election.

Your PVBM status will remain active unless you fail to participate in four consecutive Statewide General Elections or you submit a written request to cancel the status. A new application would need to be submitted to reinstate your PVBM status. This does not affect your voter registration status.

PVBM status is convenient for voters who may find it difficult to get to a polling place on Election Day. With PVBM status, your ballot will automatically be mailed to you for every election. If the ballot has been lost or otherwise not available, the voter may also cast a provisional ballot on Election Day at the polling place or at the Office of Elections.

Emergency Vote-by-Mail Voter Ballots

If, in the seven days prior to the election you find that you will be unable to vote in person on election day due to illness or disability resulting from confinement to a hospital, nursing home, place of residence, or due to conditions resulting in your absence from your voting precinct on election day, you may request a vote-by-mail ballot. You must make your request in writing, signed under penalty of perjury, and deliver it (or have it delivered by a person authorized by the voter) to the Placer County Office of Elections located at 2956 Richardson Drive in Auburn. You may designate your spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, or a person residing in your household to return the ballot to the Office of Elections or to any polling within the county on Election Day. If you have a circumstance please contact us at 530-886-5650 to see if we can provide some options for you.

We Deliver!

If a voter is homebound, in the hospital, in a residential care facility, or otherwise unable to go to the polls, the Placer County Office of Elections will arrange to deliver and/or pick up a ballot for the voter. Normally this service is available two (2) weeks prior to an election. Voters who call for personal assistance will be accommodated a long as time and staff permit. Certainly, calls for assistance are easier met when they are made in advance rather than an hour before the polls close. However, if you have a circumstance please call our office for available options. On Election Day we are prepared with election "runners" who can deliver and pick up ballots for voters who are unable to make it to the polling place. Contact our office at 530-886-5650 or toll-free in California at 1-800-824-8683 for assistance.

Election Day Voting Services

Accessible Polling Places

The international symbol of access is used on every sample ballot pamphlet to inform the public about polling place accessibility for voters in wheelchairs. Presently 100% of Placer County polling places are accessible. You may vote your ballot outside your polling place (see Curbside Voting Section below), OR at the Placer County Elections Office office located at 2956 Richardson Drive in Auburn.

Voters with Wheelchairs

Designated wheelchair accessible voting booths are available at every Placer County poll location.

Help Available for Casting Your Ballot

Under California law, any voter who needs help in casting a ballot is entitled to request assistance. A poll worker can provide assistance or the voter may select a person of his or her choice.

If for some reason you are unable to mark your ballot yourself, you can choose up to two people to help you cast your vote. The person(s) may not be the voter's employer, an agent of the voter's employer, or an officer or agent of the union of which the voter is a member.

No person assisting a voter shall divulge any information regarding the marking of the ballot.

Curbside Voting

Any voter who cannot reach the voting area at the polling place because of architectural barriers or physical limitations may request to vote "curbside" (outside of the polling location). A poll worker will qualify the voter, bring a ballot, special marking pen, and secrecy sleeve to the voter, assist the voter as necessary, and then place the voter's ballot in the ballot box.

Voters with Impairments

Each polling place in the County displays voting instructions in large type. Magnifying devices are also available for voters who may have difficulty reading the ballot (See Cassette and CD Recording Section above). A voter who cannot sign his/her name may vote after the poll worker confirms his/her name as listed in the Roster of Voters. The voter must make his/her mark in the Roster and have one poll worker sign next to the mark as the witness.

Inability to go to the Polling Place

If you find it difficult to vote at your assigned polling place on Election Day, you may choose to vote at a more convenient time and location by voting early in person at the Office of Elections in Auburn beginning 29 days prior to the election or you may choose to vote by mail.

 

Important Addresses and Telephone Numbers

General Election and Voter Information : 530-886-5650
Toll-Free in California : 1-800-824-8683
Registration and Sample Ballot Information : 530-886-5670
Vote by Mail Ballot Information : 530-886-5623
TDD (Hearing Impaired) : 1-800-833-8683
Polling Place Accessibility : 530-886-5672
Voter with Specific Needs : 530-886-5663
Election Office Address: 2956 Richardson Drive Auburn, CA. 95603
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 5278, Auburn, CA. 95604
Website: www.placerelections.com
E-mail: [email protected]

It's the Law

The following federal and state laws are of special importance to voters with specific needs.

FEDERAL LAW

The Voting Rights Act of 1965

Any voter requiring assistance may receive it from a person of the voter's choice, other than the voter's employer or agent of that employer or officer or agent of the voter's union.

The Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act of 1984

Promotes the fundamental right to vote by requiring "access for elderly and handicapped individuals to registration facilities and polling places for federal elections".

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)

Requires public entities to provide auxiliary aids and services where necessary to afford an individual with a specific needs an equal opportunity to participate in, and enjoy, the benefits of service, program, or activity conducted by a public entity.

The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA or "Motor Voter") of 1993

The NVRA makes it easier for persons to register to vote by requiring voter registration services be provided at any state-funded program that serves people with specific needs. 

Help American Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002

Federal legislation enabling greater opportunities for access and participation in the election process, and including provisions regarding accessible voting technologies in polling places. 

CALIFORNIA LAWS, REGULATIONS AND COURT CASES

Election code Sec. 12280

When designating polling places, the elections official shall undertake necessary measures in the locating of polling places to ensure that polling places meet the guidelines promulgated by the Secretary of State for accessibility by the physically handicapped.  

Title 24

The standards for accessibility as defined by the ADA and California Building Code, Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations is used in the Secretary of State polling place survey to determine whether or not a polling site is accessible.  

Accessible Voting Technology Act (AVTA) of 2002

Elections Code Sec. 19925 et. seq. The AVTA states that blind and visually impaired voters have the right to vote without being assisted by another person. The law requires that voters be able to use, choose, and move data and work the controls of the voting system; have the same access to voting technology as voters who are not blind or visually impaired; have access to at least one accessible voting unit at the voter's assigned polling place.  

Proposition 41

Prop. 41 was passed by the voters in 2002. It authorizes counties to obtain bond funds to purchase new voting systems and establishes the Voting Modernization Board.  

Voter Registration and Establishment of Domicile. Waters v. Weed (1988) AKA "UCSC Student Voting Case." 45 Cal.3rd.1.

In this California Supreme Court decision, the court held that the voters who have moved, but have not established new domicile, may vote in the precinct of their former domicile even though they have no intention of returning to live there.  

Homeless Person's Right to Register to Vote. Collier v. Menzel (1985). AKA "Fig Tree Case." 176 Cal. App.3d. 24.

In this Court of Appeal decision, the court held that a homeless person may register at and vote from a location deemed by the voter to be a dwelling place or place of habitation for that voter. A mailing address needs to be provided in order for the voter to receive election materials.  

POLLING PLACE ACCESSIBILITY

In Placer County, considerable progress has been made over the years in surveying, recruiting, modifying, and retaining accessible poll sites. Our goal is to ensure all polling places are 100% accessible. Significant modifications and improvements have been made each election toward this goal. The Office of Elections' Technicians continually strive to develop, implement, and maintain Placer County's accessibility guidelines and standards. Rigorous training and extensive research offers the opportunity to provide polling places for all voters.

Our survey team continues to survey sites on a regular basis to determine accessibility. Architectural barriers that prohibit entry by persons with disabilities include uneven terrain, low hanging or protruding objects, curbs, narrow doors, steps, door thresholds with height, lack of sinage directing voters to the accessible parking and entrance, and other path of travel issues.

Placer County assesses each site using a survey compiled by various federal and state entities. These entities include the California Secretary of State, U.S. Department of Justice, ADA Compliance Standards, and State and Federal Building Codes.

Public Accommodations

Public accommodations must comply with basic nondiscrimination requirements that prohibit exclusion, segregation, and unequal treatment. They also must comply with specific requirements related to architectural standards for new and altered buildings; reasonable modifications to policies; practices and procedures; effective communication for people with hearing, vision, or speech disabilities; and other access requirements. Additionally, public accommodations must remove barriers in existing buildings where it is easy to do so without much difficulty or expense, given the public accommodations' resources. ADA Title III

VOTING ACCESSIBILITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE (VAAC)

The Placer County Office of Elections' staff meet quarterly with its Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee (VAAC) to discuss ways to improve voting accessibility. Persons interested in serving on the committee should  contact the Office of Elections at 530-886-5650.