All eligible registered voters are automatically sent an Official Vote by Mail Ballot in the mail 29 days before an election.
Voters will continue to use paper ballots to cast their votes, however, voters will now fill in the ovals next to their selections, instead of connecting arrows.
Scanners will no longer be used at Vote Centers. Voters will drop their voted ballot(s) into a secure turquiose trolley that will be delivered to our office and counted.
Each Vote Center in Alameda County is equipped with accessible Ballot Marking Devices (BMD). These units are programmed with all ballot types and language versions and provide an independent voting experience for voters with disabilities. The BMD for each Vote Center have Americans with Disabilities Act compliant features and accessories with a variety of voting method options. These include visual, audio, and tactile interfaces that can be used in any voter-preferred combination to navigate and mark a ballot. Also, the size of the font on the screen can be changed, and the screen resolution can be switched to a high-contrast white on a black background. In addition to screen modifications, the Audio Tactile Interface (ATI) keypad allows voters to listen to their ballot, adjust the volume and pace of speech (if needed), and make their choices. The ATI also has a full range of large buttons for navigation with corresponding Braille descriptions.
Vote Centers are equipped with E-Pollbooks. An E-Pollbook is the combination of electronic hardware and software used to ensure secure electronic communication between Vote Centers and the Registrar of Voters. This new technology operates on a tablet that is "HARDENED," meaning only the SOS-certified E-Pollbook software is operable on the device. E-Pollbooks contain an electronic list of registered voters that may be transported and used at Vote Centers. The Roster Index is the official list of all registered voters eligible to vote in the election. It is primarily used to verify a voter's eligibility to receive a ballot and capture voter history in near real-time to prevent double voting. E-Pollbooks are maintained in a secure locked waterproof case and are placed inside a secondary secured location. During operating hours, the data stored in these units are updated continuously. E-Pollbooks are programmed with user access allowing only authorized users to log in using a secured connection to a secured cloud server. This cloud server maintains the database and connection to the ROV's Data Information Management System for transmission of any updates to voter data. E-Pollbooks may be used to verify voter registration data, including name, address, date of birth, preferred language, party preference, precinct, and Vote by Mail status. Furthermore, E-Pollbooks never store the following voter information: driver's license number or any reference to a social security number. E-Pollbooks provide near real-time searching and voter status information, essentially creating a better voting experience for both voters and ROV Election Workers.
All necessary steps are being undertaken to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and security of voter data. All County voter data is stored in databases and servers using security measures that are designed to protect the data while keeping it available for use by County staff. At the Registrar of Voters' Office, the voting system is air-gapped, meaning it has no access to the outside computer network. The voting system is also located in a secure area within the main office that is limited by badge access with continuous video monitoring. At Vote Centers, staff has access to near real-time information of registration data and voter history for all voters as they come to any of the Vote Centers. Any voter data that is made available at Vote Centers and is transmitted between the Vote Centers and the County data servers is encrypted using the latest encryption technologies. Only specific election devices and equipment at Vote Centers are allowed access to voter data, and the data is encrypted in transit and while at rest.
An accessible option that all eligible registered voters may utilize is the Remote Accessible Vote by Mail (RAVBM) system, which allows voters to mark their ballot independently and privately in the comfort of their own homes. Voters are informed about RAVBM through the Voter Information Guide, the ROV Website, and in a direct mailer. The purpose of the RAVBM system was initially for Military and Overseas Voters and voters with disabilities, who would otherwise rely on others to assist them in reading and marking their ballot, to now be able to mark their ballot privately and independently using their own assistive technology at home. Please be aware that RAVBM is NOT internet voting or a method to submit your ballot online. Voters do not need to request access to the RAVBM system. Instead, voters can log in to their My Voter Profile located on the ROV website and access their Official Ballot, along with instructions on how to download, print, complete, and return their voted ballot to the ROV by Election Day. Voters must download the ballot to their devices to read and mark it with their personalized accessibility features. Voters who use RAVBM must return their voted ballot in one of three ways: via standard mail, by dropping their ballot in a 24-hour Ballot Drop Box, or by returning it to any Vote Center.