All the essentials — A guide to voting in Berkeley in the 2020 election

Who can vote. How to register to vote. Where, when and how to vote. How to track your ballot. And why you should never leave a polling place without voting.

Get informed before you cast your ballot in the Nov. 3 election. Photo: Pete Rosos

The impact of an ongoing public health pandemic, including an under-staffed post office, on top of fears that moves are being made to suppress the vote means there are many questions swirling around about how to vote in the upcoming election. We hope this Berkeley voter guide to the fundamentals is helpful. The core information — an excellent Bay Area resource guide — was compiled by our friends at KPFA who generously gave us permission to share it with our readers. We have supplemented that guide with Berkeley voter resources and will continue to add tips and guidance in the run-up to Nov. 3.

A Berkeley voter guide

Scroll down for essential information on all the Berkeley candidates and measures, Berkeley ballot drop-off box locations, polling locations, how to track your ballot and much more.

Berkeley candidates and measures

Where to drop your ballot in Berkeley

Click the map for ballot boxes in Alameda County. Source: Alameda County Registrar of Voters

Mail-in voters who do not want to rely on the postal service can take their ballots to 66 24-hour ballot boxes all over Alameda County. There are six in Berkeley.

  • Civic Center Building | 2180 Milvia St.
  • UC Berkeley | between Sather Gate and the Architects & Engineers Building (campus map)
  • Frances Albrier Community Center at San Pablo Park| 2800 Park St.
  • Claremont Branch Library | 2940 Benvenue Ave.
  • North Branch Library | 1170 The Alameda
  • West Branch Library | 1125 University Ave.

Visit Alameda County’s interactive ballot drop box map to find one near you. The Secretary of State also has a great tool to look up early voting and ballot drop locations.


Polling locations in Berkeley

Beginning Oct. 31, voters can also drop off ballots at any of the county’s 100 accessible polling locations. Alameda County offers a look-up map to find the nearest accessible polling location in your area and lists nine in Berkeley:

  • Berkeley High School gym, 1980 Allston Way
  • Ed Roberts Campus, 3045 Adeline St.
  • Lawrence Hall of Science, 1 Centennial Drive
  • Longfellow Middle School gym, 1500 Derby St.
  • City of Berkeley property, 1011 University Ave.
  • MLK Student Union, third-floor ballroom, UC Berkeley, 2455 Bancroft Way
  • Northbrae Community Church, 941 The Alameda
  • Epworth United Methodist Church, 1953 Hopkins St.
  • Willard Middle School, 2425 Stuart St.

General resources for Berkeley voters

Bay Area voter guide and resource hub

Photo: Pete Rosos

If you are over 18, a U.S. citizen and a California resident who is not incarcerated or are on parole – you can vote!

Moreover, all of California’s registered voters will be mailed a ballot (or should be) no later than 29 days before Election Day. All California mail-in ballots are postage-paid – no stamps needed! Many jurisdictions are also encouraging people to turn in their ballots early at designated drop-off points. If you are using the mail, you can also cast your ballot early. All California voters can also sign up online to track their ballot status; Alameda County residents can sign up online for ballot tracking and status updates.

If you want to vote in-person while maintaining social distancing, there will also be polling stations available prior to the election and on Nov. 3. The registrar of voters (ROV) says this should, however, be a last resort, e.g. if you have other business to take care of with the ROV.

The deadline to register to vote online or by mail in Alameda County is Oct. 19, though you can walk up and register to vote in person up through Election Day. Check out this handy Berkeley voter guide, which includes Bay Area resources, for more information and follow the links for resources and more information!


Are you registered to vote?

How to register to vote

  • Register to vote online
  • Register by phone: 800-345-VOTE (8683)
  • You should register to vote at least 15 days before Election Day. But California also offers “same day” registration. If you miss the 15-day cut-off, you may visit your county elections office, polling place or voting center to cast a provisional ballot. Your ballot will be processed and counted after your registration is verified.
  • If you need to register to vote on Nov. 3 – you can!
  • To register to vote you must provide your state driver’s license number or identification card number or the last four digits of your Social Security Number (SSN).
  • If you are returning your ballot by mail, it must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received within 17 days.
  • If you are returning your ballot in person or dropping it in a dropbox, that must be done by 8 p.m. Nov. 3.

Track your ballot

General voting information

Voting rights

Don’t be intimidated

Voters deposit their ballots at the St. Clement's Episcopal Church polling location in Claremont.
Photo: Kelly Sullivan
  • Never leave the polling place without voting. If someone tells you that you can’t vote, demand a “provisional ballot” and vote as you planned. In California, provisional ballots are counted after elections officials have confirmed that you are registered and that you did not vote elsewhere.
  • The only time you need to show any documents before voting is if you registered online or by mail and did not include your driver’s license, state ID, or Social Security number AND it is your first time voting. If that’s the case, you’ll need to show documentation with your name and address. See a list of acceptable forms of identification.
  • If you feel you are being harassed or if someone says cannot vote, call 866-OUR-VOTE (687-8683).

Voting info for those with disabilities

Check the Alameda County accessible voting locations map for locations that are convenient for you.

Click on the map to find accessible voting locations in Alameda County. Source: Alameda County

Latinx resources

Ballots in different languages

Resources for veterans and those living overseas

Voting rights for people in jail

General resources