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.

Eligible voters can vote in person at any vote center in San Diego County. Select vote centers will be open for 11 days and all vote center locations will be open 4 days (1 day for special elections), including Election Day.

Vote centers offer a full-service voting experience. Voters may:

  • Vote in-person or drop off an already voted mail ballot (sealed inside its return envelope)
  • Vote in-person using a touchscreen ballot marking device to mark selections and print out your official ballot
    • All ballot marking devices are fully accessible allowing voters with disabilities to vote independently and privately
  • Carry in the official ballot you received in the mail, check in at the vote center, sign the electronic roster, and cast your official ballot free of its security return envelope
  • If you made a mistake or lost your mail ballot, you can instead vote in person using a ballot marking device at any vote center
  • Receive voting assistance, including assistance in multiple languages
  • Register to vote or update your registration and vote on the same day

Voters don’t need to wait until Election Day to vote. The Registrar urges voters to take advantage of the early voting days.


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.

What can I do? Be Prepared!

Mark your selections on the sample of your ballot found inside 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, the barcode on their mail ballot return envelope is automatically 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.

For presidential primary elections, in addition to the sequence number the poll worker will also need to confirm the political party designation at the top of the ballot.

The voter will then either be directed to a voting station to mark their ballot with the pen or marker provided by the poll worker or if the voter already marked their ballot prior to arriving at the vote center, they will be directed to the check-out station to have the poll worker cast their ballot into the ballot box. An envelope is not needed because the voter checked-in and signed the ePollbook.

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 more can I 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


Learn more about voting in an upcoming election.