Election Resources and FAQs

Image is of "I voted" stickers.

General Election FAQs

What are key dates for Election Day? 

Voter Registration

  • October 19, 2020: Last date for you to register to vote online or postmarked in mail.
    In the state of CA, you can register to vote on Election day.
  • After the 19th: You will need to register to vote in person WITH proof of residency at a Secretary of State branch or with the local clerk

Mail-in Ballots

  • October 5, 2020: All registered CA voters will begin to receive a Mail-in-Ballot.
  • To request a California mail-in ballot, print and mail this form by October 27th.
  • October 27, 2020:  Recommended deadline to return your ballot.
  • November 3, 2020: Deadline for vote by mail postmarked by date.


  • November 2, 2020: In person absentee ballot deadline
  • Election Day is November 3, 2020. Poll places will be open Oct. 31 to Nov. 3.


Where can I Get Informed?

  • The League of Women Voters website vote411.org provides nonpartisan tips for navigating the ballot and is customized by current address

  • All things election in one place! The All IN TO VOTE web-based tool for students to check and update their registration status, register to vote online, find their polling place, request an absentee ballot, sign up for election reminders, vote triple (share link with contacts), review what information will be on the ballot, and pledge to vote.  Visit allintovote.org

  • Voter’s Edge is a comprehensive, nonpartisan online guide to federal, state, and local elections. Voters can get in-depth information on candidates, measures, and who supports them, see candidate biographies, top priorities, photos, policy videos, endorsements, etc. www.votersedge.org

  • Wondering who to vote for this election? Presidential or Congressional, use Project Vote Smart’s interactive online tool called Easy Vote to compare your stance on 13 issues to those of presidential candidates.   voteeasy.votesmart.org/electionChoice

  • Check out the California Official Voter Information Guide

  • Check out the County of San Luis Obispo Voter Information Guide

  • If you’re not a California voter, check out Ballotpedia’s nationwide lookup tool

  • Most state and county election boards have PDF sample ballots. Visit your Local Election Boards

  • Seek out endorsements of candidates and issues from organizations that share your views


What if I am not eligible to vote?


Can't Vote? Here's How You CAN Help!

  • Help Get Out the Vote
  • Be a Watchdog, go to hearings
  • Hold your Own Hearings (Educate yourself first then engage others)
  • Organize Your Block or Building
  • Volunteer at a polling site



Can I register to vote online? 

Yes, you can register to vote online at the California Registrar of Voters website.

Visit Vote.gov to register to vote. Depending on your state’s voter registration rules, the site can help you.

How do I register for a mail-in ballot?

To request a California mail-in ballot, print and mail this form by October 27th.

You can also get the Voter Registration Form by calling the San Luis Obispo Elections Office at (805) 781-5228 or 1(800)345-VOTE (8683) to have a form sent to you.

Lean about the Governor's Executive Order for everyone to receive a Mail Ballot.

When is the last day to register to vote?

 The last day to register to vote in California is October 19.

If you live out of state, check the Rock the Vote's Election Center guide to find out your state's voter registration deadline.


What if I am not sure where I am registered to vote, how can I check it?

In California, you can check your registration status online at voterstatus.sos.ca.gov.

If you live out of state, check the Rock the Vote's Election Center guide to find out your state's voter registration deadline.

Do I need to re-register if I've moved back home from school due to the pandemic?

Yes, if you recently moved, changed your name or want to change your political party, you need to re-register to vote. You do that by completing a new voter registration application. The Registrar of Voters office will recognize only your most recent registration, so you don’t need to cancel your previous registration unless you are moving out of the county.

Will I receive a Voter Notification Card to confirm I am registered to vote?

Yes. Within two to four weeks after registering or re-registering to vote, you will receive your Voter Notification Card in the mail. Review this card to ensure your information (political party preference, mail ballot voter status and address) is entered correctly.

What if I need to cancel my registration?

If you are moving to another county or state, you may cancel your local registration here. You may also use this form to cancel the registration of someone who has passed away.

Campaign Activity for Faculty and Staff FAQs

With the upcoming election, it is important that all faculty and staff comply with state law and CSU policy regarding the use of CSU resources in connection with election issues. CSU policy regarding what election-related activities are allowed and what activities can be prohibited, as well as guidelines on how to exercise appropriate discretion, are set forth in the CSU Handbook of Election Issues published by the Office of the General Counsel.

As a state employee, can I still engage in campaign activity? 

  • Absolutely. Employees retain their rights to engage in private political activities. All employees are entitled to make statements in support of a particular candidate, political party, ballot initiative, etc., but must do so in an individual capacity. 

  • Activity should be on the employee’s own time, it should not be performed in an official capacity with the Cal Poly, and should not utilize any Cal Poly resources. 

  • Employees should minimize any possibility of confusion of private role versus Cal Poly role, and they should not wear a Cal Poly logo while engaging in political activity. 

How can faculty support students' civic engagement? 

  • Make a Canvas announcement to encourage voting— Include information about voting and civic engagement in your syllabus/Canvas site

  • Consider the timing of exams on Election Day and/or consider suspending class

  • Include framing language in your syllabus/Canvas site, such as: 

In a democracy, a government is chosen by voting to elect representatives to make policy and enforce laws while representing the citizens. Cal Poly encourages eligible students to exercise their right to vote, and students of all citizenship backgrounds to actively engage in issues of public concern. When more people participate, a broader array of perspectives is represented in policies and laws that impact our country, society, and the world. You can register to vote here.

Voting and Election Day

Find my Polling Place- Including On-Campus 

Check your poll location using the California State Secretary Poll Location tool. 


Cal Poly On-Campus Poll Site


Register to Vote

Register Online Through Ballot Bowl

Cal Poly is participating in California Students Vote Project (CSVP) Ballot Bowl initiative to increase civic engagement and voter participation among California university and college students. The campus with the highest percentage of registered voters wins a trophy. Let's win this Cal Poly! Check out Ballot Bowl registration tracking.

To register online you will need your CA driver’s license or CA ID card number, the last 4 digits of your Social Security number and your birthday to register online.

Follow these steps to register to vote online:

  • Go to https://registertovote.ca.gov/.
  • Check the option the applies to you, then click ‘Next’.
  • Input the rest of your information into the California State Voter Registration Form.
  • Select California Polytechnic State University (San Luis Obispo) for University or College affiliation.
  • Carefully, review your information, then submit your form.
  • You’ll receive an email confirmation of your application.

Update Your Voter Registration Status If...

  • Your name has changed.
  • If you have changed addresses since March 3, 2020.
  • Your political party affiliation has changed.

Register By Mail

Register In Person

  • Get the Voter Registration Form at the San Luis Obispo Elections Office , any DMV Office, and many post offices, public libraries, and government offices.
  • Fill out the form.
  • Return the form to the San Diego County Elections Office by October 19.
  • Military Federal Voting Assistance Program

  • The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) works to ensure Service members, their eligible family members and overseas citizens are aware of their right to vote and have the tools and resources to successfully do so - from anywhere in the world."

Complaints of voter fraud may be reported to via the Secretary of State's Voting Information Hotline at 1-800-345-VOTE, or by filling out the Fraud Complaints Form and submitting to the address listed at the end of the form.

Vote by Mail



[Video provided by the Campus Election Engagement Project (CEEP)]


Benefits to Mail-in-Ballot

  • SIMPLE. A mail-in ballot, instructions and “I Voted” sticker will be mailed to all registered voters starting Oct. 5.
  • SAFER. Make voting decisions and mark your ballot comfortably at home.
  • SECURE. Seal your completed ballot in your postage paid envelope.
    • Be sure to sign it, date it and return it by mail promptly so it is received well before Election Day. Your signature is required for your ballot to count! Sign your name like it appears on your driver’s license or ID card.
    • You can return your mail-in-ballot at these locations in San Luis Obispo County.
  • CELEBRATE. Join the campus Election task force for National Vote Early Day, on Saturday, October 24. 
  • TRACKING. Sign-up for text notifications for “Where’s My Ballot?” Sign up now to receive notifications. 
    • If you haven’t received your Mail-in-Ballot by October 19, call the Registrar of Voters at (805) 781-5228.

In Person Voting    

If you must vote in-person, be aware that you may face long lines and must follow CDC guidelines for in-person gatherings.

  • Make sure you go to your assigned polling place. You can find your assigned polling place on the back of your sample ballot and voter information pamphlet or you can look it up online.
  • Be prepared. Mark your selections on your sample ballot and voter information pamphlet in advance so you can quickly fill in the official ballot in the voting booth.
  • Wear a mask and practice 6-feet of social distancing. Adhere to CDC Guidelines. 

Learn more about voting safely in San Luis Obispo County at the Registrar of Voter's site.


8 Things That Changed The 2020 Election

California has implemented a host of measures so citizens can securely cast their ballots. These measures don’t only make voting safer, they make it easier and more convenient, too.

Here is what’s new this year:

1. Everyone has the option to vote by mail  

Starting October 5, California voters will receive a mail-in ballot at the address where they’re registered. Simply fill it out, sign it, date it and drop it in the mail (no postage required). You may also return it at an official ballot drop box or polling location — or opt not to use it and cast your vote in person at the polls.

2. You can track your ballot  

Find out when your mail-in ballot has been received by elections officials and — best of all — when it’s been counted with California’s new ballot tracker. The tool also enables election officials to follow up and correct any issues that might prevent a ballot from being counted.

3. Rules have changed to account for mail delays  

Mail-in ballots have to be postmarked by Nov. 3, Election Day — but will have up to 17 days to arrive at elections offices. That doesn’t mean you should wait until the last minute. You can return your ballot as soon as it gets to you — which could be as soon as the first week of October (you may already have it!)

4. You can — and should — vote early  

To eliminate long lines at the polls, many California precincts are allowing voters to cast their ballots in person as early as Saturday, Oct. 31, four days before Election Day — and even earlier in some places. (Check the rules for your precinct.) Those voting by mail should try to complete their ballot as quickly as possible.

5. You can register on Election Day  

It takes just five minutes to register, and you can do so online through October 19. But for those who miss the deadline, election officials have added a backup option. Eligible voters can go to their local polling place on Election Day, fill out a same-day voter registration form and cast a provisional ballot. Your vote will still be counted once officials have confirmed your eligibility to vote.

6. There will be new protocols at the polls  

Masks will be required at the polls, as will a social distance of six feet or more both in line and at polling stations. That may make lines especially long, so consider bringing reading material and packing a lunch — or choosing another option, such as mail-in voting. Double-check your polling location before you head out, in case of last minute changes.

7. There will be vote centers throughout San Luis Obispo County  

California has created upgraded polling places, known as vote centers, which offer an expanded array of services. These centers, which can be used by voters registered anywhere in the county, are open for voting from as early as 11 days before the election. They also provide streamlined services for last-minute registration or changes to a voter’s address. Check if there is one near you.

8. We probably won’t know the winner on election night  

We get it: Everyone’s eager to learn the results. But with so many people voting by mail, together with predicted high turnout and a shortage of poll workers, a final tally may be slow in coming. And a fair election may hinge on our ability to wait. “Results change,” Hasen cautioned. “If it’s close, people are going to need to have patience and to follow official sources of information.” .

Past Events

Post-Election Events

Post-election virtual space open for all students, staff, and faculty hosted by the Election Working Group

30pm  A Cal Poly panel discussion featuring  Michael Latner Professor, Political Science Department  Amber Williams Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology & Child Development  Thanayi Jackson Assistant Professor, History Department Moderated by  Elena Keeling Professor, Department of Biological Sciences

 852 6699 0343 November 4, 6, 13, 20 and December 4.

Wednesday, November 4On-Campus BIPOC Student Processing Spaces hosted by Student Development and Belonging  

Wednesday, November 4On-Campus Open Student Processing Spaces hosted by Student Development and Belonging

BIPOC student Processing Spaces  11/04/2020  Student Diversity and Belonging will be hosting on campus Post election processing spaces. All processing spaces will adhere to covid-19 guidelines.   Masks Required, physical distancing required, 10 student limit  Facilitated by: Beya Makekau Interim Director Student Diversity & belonging  Time: 11:00am-12:30pm Location: The Mustang outside of UU220  Facilitated by: Leilani Hemmings Pallay  Black Academic Excellence center  Americorps  Time: 10:00am-11:30am  Location: Lawn in Front of Spanos Theatre  Facilitated by: Olivia Tran  Gender equity center coordinator  Time: 3:00pm-4:30pm  Location: Benches outside the MCC  Facilitated by: Lilianne Tang multicultural center coordinator  Time: 3:00pm-4:30pm  Location: The mustang outside of UU 220 OPEN Student Processing Spaces  11/04/2020  Student Diversity and Belonging will be hosting on campus Post election processing spaces. All processing spaces will adhere to covid-19 guidelines.  Masks Required, physical distancing required, 10 student limit  Facilitated by Dr. Jamie Patton  AVP student affairs Diversity and inclusion  Time: 11:00am-12:30pm  Location UU plaza stage steps  Facilitated by Nick Bilich  men & Masculinities coordinator  Time: 10:00am-11:30am  Location: Benches outside the MCC  Facilitated by Katie Ettl  gender equity center americorps  Time: 10am-11:30am  Location: UU plaza stage steps

Election Events

Event Date Information

Why Your Vote Matters with Senator Cory Booker

Register here

Tuesday, October 20 1:30-2:45 PM (PST)

U.S. Senator and 2020 presidential candidate Cory Booker will share his perspective on the role our students can play in creating a just and sustainable society through civic and community engagement in the final stretch before the November elections and beyond. California State University, Long Beach alum and Legislative Manager for the California League of Conservation Voters Melissa Romero will educate students about 2020 ballot initiatives that will have an impact on the environment and our communities.

So What Did You Think of the Debate? Presidential Debate Debrief

Register here

Friday, October 23 10:00-11:00 AM (PST)

Join faculty, staff, and students from across the country for a national discussion to debrief and discuss the first Presidential Debate. Designed to reach across differences and create a space for discourse, this national facilitated dialogue is based on the fundamental value of the pursuit of knowledge for the public good. 

Putting Voters First: Democratic Reforms

Register here

Wednesday, October 28 11:00AM-12:00PM (PST) Join us for a conversation with Colorado’s Election Director Judd Choate. He will explain the innovative voter-as-customer model that Colorado has developed, which serves as an exemplar nationwide, and will also provide a view of the national election model landscape. He will discuss challenges that voters may face, how to understand early voting statistics, and the tabulation of votes on and after Election Day. There will be time for Q&A.
National Vote Early Day Saturday, October 24

Avoid the election day long lines. Cast your ballot before November 3!

Once you receive your ballot, follow the instructions and fill it out. Be sure to sign up to track your Mail-in Ballot before you drop it in the mail. Mail your ballot at least 7 days before election day.

So What Did You Think of the Election? Debrief Election 2020

Register here

Wednesday, November 11 10:00-11:00AM (PST)

Join faculty, staff, and students from across the country for a national discussion to debrief and discuss the 2020 Elections. Designed to reach across differences and create a space for discourse, this national facilitated dialogue is based on the fundamental value of the pursuit of knowledge for the public good.

 Activism and Community Engagement Beyond Voting" above the text "Tuesday 10/30 1-2PM Link: https://tinyurl.com/DCandVoting".  842 4290 7669".  867 4627 7118"

 813 6617 6639 Moderated by Thanayi Jackson Featuring Marilyn Tseng, Erica S. Stewart, Ben Ruttenberg"

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