Contra Costa secures voting on Election Day

By Paul Burgarino, Community Education and Engagement Specialist, Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder-Elections Department

Current law allows voters who are issued a Vote-By-Mail ballot to turn it in and vote at the polls on Election Day. Besides being a waste of taxpayer dollars, it has resulted in the possibility of a voter casting more than one ballot without immediate detection.

With many recent reports of voters across the state receiving multiple ballots, the Contra Costa Elections Division has reviewed and updated its processes at polling places to ensure election integrity and prevent double voting.

“We encourage all voters who have been sent a Vote-By-Mail ballot to vote and return that ballot either through the mail, using one of our 23 drop boxes, or at any polling place on Election Day,” said Joe Canciamilla, Contra Costa Clerk-Recorder-Registrar of Voters. “Requesting a second ballot on Election Day contributes to lines, delays, unnecessary costs as well as security concerns.”

Here how it works: Vote-By-Mail voters who show up at their home polling place to vote need to bring the ballot return envelope addressed to them as well as all six cards that comprise the ballot. Upon confirmation that the voter is in the right location and verification of the envelope and ballot cards, the voter signs a declaration and is offered a non-provisional ballot.

If a Vote-By-Mail voter is in the wrong location or cannot provide all of those items, the voter is issued a provisional ballot. A provisional ballot is the same as a “regular” ballot. The difference is that the Elections Division verifies that the voter has not already voted before the ballot is counted. In June 2018, 90 percent of the provisional ballots were counted after this review.

If a voter who previously requested to be mailed a ballot prefers to vote at the polls on Election Day in the future, we encourage them to cancel their permanent vote by mail status by calling our office or re-registering.

For more information, contact the Elections Division at 925-335-7800 or go to

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