San Francisco Launches Initiative to Help Vulnerable Residents Vote in Election
Deliver the Vote, a new citywide initiative in partnership with the Shanti Project, will help homebound and marginalized residents cast their ballots in the 2020 Election
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced the launch of Deliver the Vote, a nonpartisan initiative to help San Francisco residents who are unable to leave their homes vote in the upcoming election. The City of San Francisco has partnered with the Shanti Project, a volunteer nonprofit organization, to provide personalized ballot pick-up and drop-off services to San Francisco voters who request assistance.
“Voting is essential to our democracy, and we need to support people in our community who need extra help to safely cast their ballot in this election,” said Mayor Breed. “Not everyone can easily walk to their nearest polling place or mail box, and especially with COVID, it’s more important than ever that we offer this service to our most vulnerable residents.”
The Deliver the Vote ballot pick-up and drop-off service is available to any San Francisco voter who is unable to cast their ballot on their own, whether due to age or disability. Upon request, a volunteer from the Shanti project will be assigned to go to a client’s residence, pick up their ballot, drop it off at the City’s Voting Center or an official drop-off site, and provide information to the client on how they can track their ballot.
“In this political climate, we must do everything possible to protect and preserve the civil rights of our most marginalized communities,” said Shakirah Simley, Director of Office Racial Equity, San Francisco Human Rights Commission. “Safe and accessible voting options are critical for San Francisco voters of color, many who struggle with disabilities, are homebound or immunocompromised. I’m thrilled to work with Shanti, DAS, and our community partners to deliver this essential service, and ensure equity and inclusion in this election cycle.”
“It’s wonderful that the city, Shanti, and our nonprofit community network has come together to ensure that older and disabled people are able to cast their votes,” said Shireen McSpadden, Executive Director, San Francisco Department of Disability and Aging Services. “This is an especially important election, and we want to ensure that those sheltering in place and those with mobility challenges have their voices heard.”
Trained and trusted Shanti volunteers have been providing essential services to San Francisco residents since the beginning of COVID-19 and the Stay Home Health Order. These volunteers will provide a majority of the ballot pick-up and drop-off services. The Shanti project has partnered with several trusted nonprofit organizations to support this effort, including Bayview Senior Services, Tenderloin Community Benefit District, Curry Senior Services, and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.
“In a democracy, there is perhaps nothing more essential than voting,” said Kaushik Roy Shanti Project’s Executive Director. “Shanti is honored to work with the City and many of our great nonprofit partners to help ensure that all registered voters in San Francisco have the opportunity to be heard in this election”
Chip Supanich, a longtime San Francisco resident who has been HIV-positive for 35 years and experienced extreme mobility challenges, shared his gratitude for this service, “I know so many folks for whom physically voting is virtually impossible. This is an invaluable service for the City to offer.”
Any San Francisco resident who is homebound or otherwise facing challenges to dropping off their ballot can contact the Shanti Project for assistance by texting 415-449-7190 or calling 415-674-4701. Other neighborhood nonprofit organizations who would like to help with this service in their community should contact the Shanti by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Deliver the Vote, visit www.shanti.org.
Voting Options in San Francisco
Everyone registered to vote by October 19 in San Francisco was sent a vote-by-mail ballot for the November 3, 2020 election. San Francisco residents who are able to leave home to vote have several options for casting their ballot.
- By Mail – The USPS provides nearly 1,400 collection boxes in the City. Find your nearest mail box here, and ensure the USPS can collect your ballot and postmark it on or before Election Day.
- At the Voting Center (Civic Center) – Through November 3, and open weekends starting Saturday, October 24.
- At a Polling Place on Election Day – Polling places are open on November 3 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. There are 588 polling places in San Francisco. Find your polling places on San Francisco’s Voter Portal.
- At Ballot Drop-Off Sites - Through November 3, voters can drop-off ballots at the Voting Center.
- Starting October 31 and through November 3, the Department will provide 12 drop-off sites throughout the City. Find your official ballot drop-off station here.
- Accessible Vote-by-Mail System – allows voters to mark screen-readable vote-by-mail ballots using common internet-connected devices. After marking an AVBM ballot, a voter must download and print the ballot and return the ballot printout by mail or in person in a timely manner, just as vote-by-mail voters who use official paper ballots must do.
The Voting Center provides ballots and services to all City residents who wish to pick-up or drop-off vote-by-mail ballots, register to vote (before or after the registration deadline), obtain personal assistance, use accessible voting equipment, obtain replacement ballots, or cast their ballots in person.
To protect the health of voters wishing to obtain in-person voting services, the Voting Center is set up in the area outside of Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on 99 Grove Street, between Polk and Larkin Streets.
The Voting Center is open during these times:
- Every weekday through November 2, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Two weekends, October 24 and 25, and October 31 and November 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. (same voting hours as polling places).
The Voting Center offers accessible voting tools such as page magnifiers, pen grips, and seated voting, as well as accessible ballot-marking devices with touchscreen/audio format and personal assistive device compatibility. Any voter may request to vote “curbside” at the Voting Center by calling (415) 554-4375 or by asking a companion to enter the voting center to request delivery of voting materials to the voter.
To make their voting experience faster and safer, voters can use the Voting Locations and Wait Times Tool to check wait times at the Voting Center as they are planning their trip. With early voting opportunities available before Election Day, San Francisco encourages residents to vote as early as possible.
General Voting Information
San Franciscans can review their registration information, find their polling place, track their ballot, and more, using San Francisco’s Voter Portal. For more information, go to https://sfelections.sfgov.org/.
For questions, email: SFVote@sfgov.org or reach the Department of Elections by phone:
English: (415) 554-4375
TTY: (415) 554-4386
中文: (415) 554-4367
Español: (415) 554-4366
Filipino: (415) 554-4310