Skip to Content

Accessible Voting

It is every voter’s right to cast their ballot independently and privately.

The Registrar of Voters provides a number of services to increase access and encourage participation by disabled voters, including the following resources:

  • TDD for hearing impaired persons: (707) 565-6888
  • State propositions and local measures (including arguments and analyses) in audio format
  • Assistance marking your official ballot; California law permits up to two people of your choice to assist you (cannot be your employer, union representative, or an agent of your employer or union)
  • Accessible Voting Devices in each polling place
  • Remote Accessible Vote by Mail (RAVBM)

Language Accessibility Advisory Committee (LAAC)

The mission of the LAAC is to advise and assist the County Registrar with implementation of federal and state laws relating to access to the electoral process by voters with limited-English proficiency, so that all persons who vote can understand the voting process.

Learn more

Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee (VAAC)

The mission of the VAAC is to advise, assist, and provide recommendations on how best to implement federal and state laws regarding access to the electoral process for voters with disabilities, so that all persons who vote have access to the voting process.

Learn more

Polling Places

Polling places are surveyed to identify which locations meet accessibility standards. Accessibility standards used in the surveys comply with Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR) as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG).

To determine whether your polling place is accessible, check the polling place location information on the County Voter Information Guide, or use the County Voter Information Guide Lookup on the Registrar of Voters website.

Polling places may provide curbside voting if the polling place is not accessible. Someone must alert the poll worker for you, and they will bring election materials to you as close to the polling place as possible. Call the Registrar of Voters office at (707) 565-6800 if you may need to arrange for curbside voting on Election Day.

Top

Voting Assistance

If you need help, you may bring up to two people to help you, or you may ask for help from an election official. You may ask anyone to help you vote with a few exceptions.

Examples of People Who Can Help You Vote

  • Friend
  • Family member
  • Caregiver
  • Neighbor
  • Election official

People Who Cannot Help You Vote Are:

  • Your employer
  • An agent of your employer
  • An agent of your union

ImportantImportant: Anyone that helps you vote cannot tell you how to vote or tell others how you voted.

Top

Accessible Voting Devices

For voters with disabilities, voting precincts will have accessible ballot marking devices so you can mark your ballot independently and privately. These machines can be used by anyone!

Our elections office at 435 Fiscal Drive, Santa Rosa, will have an accessible ballot marking device for use starting 29 days before Election Day.

Sonoma County now uses Dominion’s ImageCast X (ICX) Ballot Marking Device. This device allows any voter to navigate through their entire ballot using features such as:

  • Touchscreen Tablet, with options to change the text size and contrast on the tablet
  • Audio Tactile Interface Keypad (ATI) with Braille
  • Headphones and Audio Instructions
  • Privacy Mask, for voters with low vision to ensure their votes are kept private as they use the Audio Instructions
  • Ability for a voter to bring in their own Paddle or Sip And Puff assistive device

This machine does not tabulate or count any votes. After the voter confirms their selections on the “Review” screen, the voter must print their ballot selections and place in the Blue Ballot Bag in order for their ballot to count.

Top

Vote by Mail

Voters can choose to receive and return a ballot by mail rather than go to a polling place on Election Day.

Official ballots are mailed to Vote by Mail voters approximately 29 days before an election, and may be returned:

  • By mail
  • In person to the Registrar of Voters Office
  • To any polling place in Sonoma County no later than 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.

Voters may choose to become a Vote by Mail voter by completing and returning a Vote by Mail Application to the Registrar of Voters Office. Voters may vote by mail for 1 time only or select Permanent Vote by Mail status for future elections by indicating this on the application or voter registration form.

For voters who wish to return their voted ballot in person to the Registrar of Voters Office, there is a drive-up window located in the front of the building. For your convenience, the drive up window is open daily, during normal business hours.

Ballot Drop Boxes

There are three 24-Hour Drive-Thru Ballot Drop Boxes available every election. They open approximately 29 days before Election Day and can be used until the polls close at 8 p.m. on Election Night.

  • Sonoma County Registrar of Voters Office, 435 Fiscal Drive, Santa Rosa
  • Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building, 1351 Maple Avenue, Santa Rosa
  • Petaluma Veterans Memorial Building, 1094 Petaluma Boulevard South, Petaluma

We also have additional ballot drop boxes throughout the County, based on the jurisdictions participating in the election. See the specific election page to see the available drop boxes for that election.

Top

Remote Accessible Vote by Mail (RAVBM)

Voters with disabilities can now vote privately and independently. Our Remote Accessible Vote by Mail (RAVBM) system allows a voter to mark their ballot using their own tools. Instructions and a ballot return envelope are provided. Voters are required to print their ballot and the return envelope, sign the envelope and mail or drop it off.

To sign up for a RAVBM ballot, complete the request form. To receive a RAVBM ballot for an election, the application must be received no later than 5 p.m., 7 days before the election.

All ballots cast using the RAVBM system are required to be printed, the envelope signed, and the envelope postmarked on or before Election Day, and received in the Registrar of Voters Office no later than 7 days after the election, or dropped off by 8 p.m. on Election Night at the Registrar of Voters Office, a ballot drop box, or any in-person voting location.

Top

Emergency Vote by Mail Ballots

If in the final 7 days before Election Day a voter finds they are unable to vote in person due to illness or disability resulting from confinement to a hospital or nursing home, or if a voter is confined to their home, or otherwise absent from their voting precinct on Election Day, a voter may request an Emergency Vote by Mail Ballot.  The voter must make request in writing, signed under penalty of perjury, authorizing a representative to pick up the voter’s ballot, and return the ballot to the voter.  The voter’s authorized representative will receive the voter’s ballot after presenting the signed statement to the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters Office at 435 Fiscal Drive in Santa Rosa, during normal business hours of 8a.m.-5p.m., Pacific Time.

The voter shall mark the ballot, place it in the identification envelope, fill out and sign the envelope and return the ballot, personally or through the authorized representative, to the Registrar of Voters Office or to any polling place or vote center within Sonoma County before the close of the polls.

If you have questions about Emergency Vote by Mail Ballots, contact our office at (707) 565-6800, or email rov-absentee@sonoma-county.org.

Top

Availability of Alternate Text Format

If you have a disability and the format of any material on our website interferes with your ability to access information contained on our site, please email us at: rov-info@sonoma-county.org. To enable us to respond in a manner that will be most helpful to you, please indicate the nature of the accessibility need, your preferred format (audio format, large print, etc.), the requested material, and your full contact information so we can reach you if questions arise while fulfilling your request.

Contact Information:

Sonoma County Registrar of Voters
435 Fiscal Dr.
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Phone: (707) 565-6800

Fax: (707) 565-6843

TDD for hearing impaired: (707) 565-6888

Email: rov-info@sonoma-county.org

Top

Signature Stamps

ImportantImportant: If you are unable to sign your name because of a disability and you own a signature stamp, you may register your stamp at the Registrar of Voters Office so you can use your stamp when you go to the polling place or on a Vote by Mail identification envelope. An elections official must witness you use your stamp on a new registration form before your stamp will be valid for voting.

If you have not registered your stamp, you may make a mark and have a witness over age 18 sign near your mark. A Power of Attorney alone is not acceptable.

Top