What to Expect at a Vote Center

The San Diego County Registrar of Voters is committed to ensuring that all voters can exercise their right to vote in a safe, secure, and accessible manner during the 2022 Statewide General Election.

One option available to you is to vote your mail-in ballot from the comfort of your home. Sign and date your return envelope, seal your voted ballot inside, and return it promptly to a trusted source.

However, if you want to vote in-person that option is available too. You don’t have to wait until Election Day to vote. The Registrar urges you to take advantage of early voting.

You can vote early:

  • At the Registrar’s office, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Starting Saturday, Oct. 29, there will be 39 vote centers open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Starting Saturday, Nov. 5, more than 200 vote centers will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

All vote center locations will be open again on Election Day, Nov. 8, when the voting hours change to 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. If you decide to vote in-person, don’t be surprised, lines may be long.

Ballot Marking Device

Ballot Marking Device (BMD)

All vote centers will have a full deployment of BMDs. Voters visiting these locations to cast their ballot in person will mark their ballot using the BMD. This device does not store, tabulate, or count any votes.

There is a reason why these devices are called Ballot Marking Devices. The voter marks their selection on the screen. Then, on the paired printer the voter will print out their official ballot with their selections. This official paper ballot is what goes inside the official ballot box to be tabulated at the Registrar of Voters office. Learn more about how to mark your ballot
using the Ballot Marking Device.

BMDs are fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and voters have the ability to select a translated ballot in one of the County’s four federally covered languages: Spanish, Filipino, Vietnamese and Chinese.

Be prepared

Mark your selections in your Voter Information Pamphlet in advance so you can quickly mark your official ballot in the voting booth.

Upon arrival at a vote center, voters will need to fill out a check-in form. You can do this in advance as well. Print out the online form, fill it out and take it with you when you go to vote.

Even though your mail ballot packet is suspended upon checking in at the vote center, it’s always good practice to bring in your mail ballot packet and surrender it to poll workers.

What about the official ballot I received in the mail?

Voters who would rather vote in-person by marking their pre-printed ballot with a pen can do so by bringing in the official ballot they received in the mail.

First, voters must check-in at a vote center and sign the ePollbook (also called the electronic roster of voters). Once the voter checks-in, their mail ballot return envelope is automictically suspended.

The voter will be given a secrecy sleeve to place their ballot inside. The voter will be asked to slide their ballot toward the top of the secrecy sleeve so the sequence number at the top of the ballot can be seen by the poll worker. This will conceal any already marked contests while the poll worker goes through the steps to ensure that the ballot the voter carried in is in fact the voter’s correct ballot type.

The sequence number is a four-digit number that identifies a voter’s precinct and ballot type. It represents the defined geographic boundary that determines which contests are on the ballot for the voters in a particular area.

The voter will then be directed to a voting station to mark their ballot with the pen or marker provided by the poll worker.

If the voter already marked their ballot prior to arriving at the vote center, a poll worker will direct the voter to the ballot box to cast their ballot. An envelope is not needed because the voter checked-in and signed the ePollbook at the vote center.

Once the ballot is placed inside the ballot box, there is no way to link how that specific voter voted. Their ballot is completely anonymous.

What you can expect

What you can expect

The Registrar of Voters has put in place protocols to ensure the health and safety of election workers, voters, and observers at our office and vote centers.

  • Hand sanitizer readily available when entering and exiting facility
  • Masks and gloves available for all voters and visitors upon request
  • Regular cleaning/disinfecting of frequently touched objects and surfaces


What you can do

Maintain a comfortable distance, avoid gathering in groups, follow all signs and directions from election workers, and vote early.

Learn more about voting in the Statewide General Election.