Voting in sc
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Tue, Sep 29, 2020

Voting in Santa Cruz County: 2020 Information Guide

The November election is right around the corner. Use this guide to get informed, learn what's on your ballot locally and nationally, where to drop off your ballots, how to vote if you've been displaced by the fires, how to join local candidates forums, and much more.

Voting is your constitutional right, but it hasn't always been like that. For those of us who are not white men who own land, the right to vote has been fought for by generations of changemakers before us. It's taken marches, rallies, protests, and decades of agitators to give you the option of voting, yet in 2016 only 58.1% of eligible voters submitted ballots (source). Make your voice heard and stand up for what you believe in. VOTE.

California Election Guide

Important Dates for SCC Voters

October 5th – Ballots Will Be Mailed to SCC Voters

October 19th – Last Day to Register to Vote Online

October 27th – Last Day to Request a Mail-in Ballot

November 3rd – Last Day to Vote (In-Person & Mail-in)

More Key Dates Here

How Do I Register?

You can register online before Oct. 19. The state will try to find your signature on file with the DMV. If it doesn’t have it, you may have to print out the application and mail it in. And if you missed the October deadline, don’t panic. You can still register at your local county elections office, polling place, or vote center. You can also call your county registrar’s office.

Do I Have to Vote by Mail?

No. You can still vote in person if you like. But depending on where you live, your county may have a reduced number of polling places. Find your closest polling place or drop box.

Does Everyone Get a Mail-in Ballot This Time?

Not everyone. To keep potential coronavirus-carriers from crowding into polling places this year, the state opted to send every registered and active voter a ballot. If you aren’t registered — or if you’ve moved and haven’t voted in a while — you probably won’t get one. Check your registration status and make sure it’s accurate.

Check Your Registration Here

CA Propositions

Click each header for more information on each proposition, who is for or against it passing, and why this is on the ballot for this year via CalMatters. Or learn more about each issue over on Ballotpedia. En Español

Proposition 14: Stem Cell Research – Have California continue funding stem cell research, by borrowing up to $5.5 billion.

Proposition 15: Business Property Taxes – Raise property taxes for large businesses to the property’s current, probably higher, market value, instead of the purchase price.

Proposition 16: Restoring Affirmative Action – Universities and government offices could factor in someone’s race, gender, or ethnicity in making hiring, spending, and admissions decisions.

Proposition 17: Letting Parolees Vote – Allow people on parole in CA to vote and allow parolees to run for office if they’re registered to vote and haven’t been convicted of perjury or bribery.

Proposition 18: Voting at Age 17 – Allow 17-year-olds to vote in primary and special elections if they will be 18 and eligible by the next general election.

Proposition 19: Portable Property Tax Break – Give Californians 55 or older a big property tax break when buying a new home. And if adult heirs want to keep their inherited low property tax bill on a house, they’ll need to live in their inherited home, not rent it out.

Proposition 20: Crackdown on Crime – Increase penalties for certain property crimes and repeated parole violations — and make it more difficult for some convicted felons to qualify for early parole and release from prison.

Proposition 21: Rent Control – Allow cities to pass rent control measures on almost all rental housing, as long as it’s more than 15 years old.

Proposition 22: Gig Worker Benefits – Exempt gig companies like Uber and Lyft from a new state law requiring them to treat workers as employees.

Proposition 23: Kidney Dialysis Clinic Rules – Require kidney dialysis clinics to have at least one physician present during all operating hours, and to report infection data to the state. And prohibit clinics from discriminating against patients based on insurance type.

Proposition 24: More Data Privacy – Change California’s data privacy law in a number of new ways that adds on top of the 2018 privacy laws already at play.

Proposition 25: Abolishing Cash Bail – Transform how people get out of jail while awaiting trial — making California the first state to replace cash bail with an algorithm.

Santa Cruz County Election Guide

Voting Locations in Santa Cruz County

There will be 17 in-person voting locations in Santa Cruz County. View the full list here. Any voter may go to any voting location. Services at polling places include:

  • obtaining a replacement ballot,
  • voting and turning in the ballot mailed to you,
  • using the tablet to vote on an accessible ballot or a ballot in Spanish, and
  • registering and voting on the same day.

How to Submit Your Mail-In Ballot

Return your ballot in the special envelope it comes with:

  • by mail (with the correct postage) or in-person to the office of your County Elections Official. View Santa Cruz County drop-off locations.
  • or to any polling place location in your county on election day.

Double Check & Keep Track

  • Check your voting status here.
  • Track your ballot and know when it is mailed, received, and counted here.
  • Know your voting rights.

How to Vote if You've Been Impacted by the Fires

  1. Change your mailing address. You can have your election mail sent to your work, the home of a family member or friend, or you can obtain a post office box. You do not need to re-register to vote. Ballots CANNOT / will not be forwarded via USPS.
  2. Sign up to have your ballot emailed to you.
  3. Vote in person.
  4. SCC is getting a mobile voting trailer! They are looking to schedule days to be in the fire-damaged areas and shelters to ensure everyone has access to voting. Email County Offices at if you have a suggested location, date, and time.
  5. Utilize the service of the USPS for fire evacuees. Mail is being re-routed to another postal facility


Voters with Disabilities

It is your right to vote independently and privately. Please call the Santa Cruz County Clerk's office at 831-454-2060 or TDD 711 or email with questions or suggestions about accessible voting in Santa Cruz County. Learn more about their accommodations and your options here.

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“Everyone seems to follow the presidential race. But it's local government that makes the big decisions that affect your life -- where housing gets built, what roads get fixed first, & how to help local businesses.”

Kara Meyberg Guzman, CEO of Santa Cruz Local

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Candidate Forums

Santa Cruz Local focused on five local races and hosted public forums so you can hear directly from your pool of candidates. In the forum, hosts press the local candidates on the priorities Santa Cruz Local heard after interviewing and surveying more than 400 Santa Cruz County residents over the last several months.

Click each of the races below for the candidates (* means incumbent) and watch the recorded forums.

Learn more about all the local elections over on Santa Cruz Local

Register Here for the Forum

You will vote for one of the following candidates:

Join via the Zoom Link

You will vote on one for your district. Lookup Your District and Elected Officials

Join via the Zoom Link

You will vote for one of the following candidates:

Who Can Vote

You can register to vote and vote if you are:

  • A United States citizen and a resident of California,
  • 18 years old or older on Election Day,
  • Not currently in state or federal prison or on parole for the conviction of a felony, and
  • Person's with a criminal history who are not currently found mentally incompetent to vote by a court (more information here)

Learn More Here

First Time Voter Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Register to Vote – You can do it online here! You will need your California Driver License Number or the last 4 digits to your Social security number.
  2. Find your Polling Place – Find out where you can vote in person on Election Day by entering your address here.
  3. See What's on Your Ballot – Learn where candidates running for office in your area stand on the issues, and about the ballot measures. Propositions are listed above along with local elected officials.
  4. Check if you need an ID to Vote – Depending on how you choose to vote (in-person or mail-in) you may need an ID. Learn more here.
  5. VOTE! – Cast your ballot and let your voice be heard!

Print Out a Voter's Guide

Nervous about what it will be like at the polls? No need to fear! Vote411 has information on the voting machines used in your state, and you can bring a filled in and printed (not on your phone) voters' guide with you into the booth!