If you live in San Francisco chances are your mailbox has been full of stuff like this over the last few weeks. Seriously, who has time to go through all this! This year we will be on vacation on Election Day but voting is incredibly important to me so I got it done early and compiled a few tips here to help make it easier for my fellow parents across San Francisco. Yay Democracy!
I'm not calling this a voting guide because I'm not here to tell you who to vote for. I am here to make sure the process is easy for you because it is a little overwhelming.
1. Use your Voter Info Pamphlet and Sample Ballot
This is basically a pretend ballot you can complete in advance and take with you into the voting booth so you don't have to remember what you wanted to vote on Prop H or 127 or whatever it is. Just mark it on your sample ballot so you can check your choices on the official ballot when the time comes.
2. Vote Early
Early voting is currently underway in San Francisco (that's how I was able to vote before we left town). It was so easy AND gave me an excuse to go to City Hall. In person early voting happens there in the basement and is open this weekend for voting. Ask the guard to direct you, make sure you fill out and sign an early voting application, and then hand it over in exchange for your ballot. You can fill it out then and there, or take it home with you and mail it in later.
3. Vote By Mail
You have until October 28 to request a ballot by mail. Your application (which is on the back of your sample ballot) has to be received by then, not postmarked so mail send it today if you're thinking about this option.
4. Use Endorsements
There are so many propositions in this year's election getting some help in understanding what they mean is a great idea if you don't have time to research them yourself. Here are a few places with suggestions on which way to vote:
- San Francisco Chronicle
- San Francisco Bay Guardian
- SF Democrats
- SF Republicans
- SF Moderates
- Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club
- San Francisco Green Party
- San Francisco Bicycle Coalition
- SF Parent Pac
- Sierra Club
(I have no affiliation with any of these groups. If I missed one please add it with a link in the comments below-thank you!)
5. Take The Kids
If you are voting early or on the 4th, take your kids with you! We took Mia last year and it was a lot of fun to snap some pictures of her "First Election." I look forward to showing them to her when she's older. Polling places are all stroller friendly and the process goes pretty quickly in my experience since most of them aren't very busy.
The City has an online election toolkit that compiles a lot more detailed info on this year's election, available here. It answers questions like how to find your polling place.