Vote by Mail

Applying for Permanent Vote-by-Mail Status

Applying for a Vote-by-Mail Ballot for One Election Only 

There are various ways to apply for a vote-by-mail ballot for one election only:

  • Call the Department of Elections at (415) 554-4375 or visit the Department’s office in City Hall, Room 48
  • Complete the online Vote-by-Mail Application
  • Download, complete, and sign a Vote-by-Mail Ballot Application (PDF)
  • Complete and sign the application provided on the back cover of your Voter Information Pamphlet
  • Send a request by fax to (415) 554-4372, or mail a request to the Department of Elections. The request must include your name, date of birth, signature, residential address, and the address to which the ballot should be mailed, if different from the residential address.

Submitting Your Vote-by-Mail Ballot Application 

Your completed and signed application may be emailed as a scanned attachmentfaxed, mailed or delivered to:

Department of Elections
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
City Hall, Room 48
San Francisco, CA 94102
Fax: (415) 554-4372

Voting at City Hall Voting Center

Beginning 29 days before each election, you may vote early at the Department of Elections' Voting Center. The Voting Center is located on the Ground Floor of San Francisco City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 48. Enter City Hall at Grove Street. Office hours are as follows:

  • 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday
  • 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday (two weekends before Election Day)
  • 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day

For specific dates for the City Hall Voting Center, please see Important Dates & Deadlines

Pickup of Vote-By-Mail Ballot after the Vote-by-Mail Application Deadline

Within seven days before an election, a voter may authorize anyone to pick up a ballot at the Department’s Voting Center in City Hall. The voter must submit a written authorization, signed under penalty of perjury, that includes the voter’s name, date of birth, signature, residential address, and the name of person authorized to pick up the ballot. For voters’ convenience, the Department provides a Vote-by-Mail Ballot Pick-Up Authorization Form (PDF).

Marking your Vote-by-Mail Ballot

Review voting instructions (PDF) provided with your vote-by-mail ballot packet. You can also watch video instructions that explain the steps that voters must take to ensure that their vote-by-mail ballots remain secure and can be counted.

Returning your Vote-by-Mail Ballot

By Mail
Voters who plan to mail their ballots are reminded that, by law, the ballots must be postmarked before or on Election Day, Tuesday, November 8, and received by the Department no later than Monday, November 14. 

Anyone uncertain about whether his or her mailed ballot would reach the Department in time is encouraged to instead bring the ballot to the City Hall Voting Center, the Department’s Ballot Drop-Off Stations, or any San Francisco polling place. 

In Person
Voters returning ballots in person must do so no later than the close of polls at 8 p.m. on Election Day. 

Any voter who is unable to mail or personally return his or her ballot may designate a family member—a spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister—or a person residing in the same household to return the ballot. The voter and his or her designee must provide the required information on the back of the vote-by-mail return envelope.