Accessible Voting and Services
The Department of Elections provides various accessible programs and services to help voters cast their vote privately and independently.
Accessible Election Materials
The Voter Information Pamphlet (VIP) is available in accessible formats:
• On sfelections.org in PDF, HTML, XML, and MP3 formats.
• By request, in large print as well as audio USB flash drive, compact disc (CD), or National Library Service (NLS) cartridge.
To request an accessible format VIP, call the Department of Elections at (415) 554-4375 or visit the Talking Books and Braille Center, Main Library, 100 Larkin Street, (415) 557-4253.
Accessible Vote-By-Mail System
The Accessible Vote-by-Mail (AVBM) System, which is compatible with personal assistive technology such as head-pointers and sip-and-puff devices, allows any voter to mark a screen-readable ballot online. To access the AVBM System, visit sfelections.org/access. The AVBM system will be open from October 5, 2020 through 8:00 p.m. on Election Day, November 3, 2020.
For security reasons, the AVBM system does not store or transmit votes over the internet. After marking an AVBM ballot, a voter must print and return it in person or by mail.
All in-person voting locations have accessible ballot-marking devices. Because ballot-marking devices do not count votes, voters using them need to generate paper ballot printouts and scan the printouts using the same machine used to scan regular paper ballots.
An accessible ballot-marking device allows any voter to navigate and mark their ballot using any combination of the following accessible features:
• Touchscreen, audio, and touchscreen/audio ballot format options.
• Braille-embossed handheld keypads with audio-tactile interfaces.
• Adjustable language, text size, audio speed, volume, and color options.
• Audio instructions in English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Spanish, and Filipino.
• Touchscreen privacy screens and headphones with removable covers.
• Compatibility with sip-and-puff, paddle, head-pointer; and other devices.
• Audio or visual review of vote selections in all contests.
Personal Assistance and Ballot Delivery Options
Any voter may request that up to two people (other than the voter’s employer, an agent of the voter’s employer, or an officer or agent of the union of which the voter is a member), assist the voter in marking their ballot. The voter may also ask poll workers for such assistance. Anyone assisting a voter with marking their ballot should not interfere with the voting process or make choices on the voter’s behalf.
Any voter may request to vote “curbside” at any in-person voting location by calling (415) 554-4375 or by asking a companion to enter the facility to request delivery of voting materials to the voter outside.
Beginning October 28, any voter unable to travel because of illness, disability, or confinement, including any voter under COVID-19-related quarantine, may authorize another person, including a Department of Elections staff member, to pick up and deliver an emergency vote-by-mail ballot to them. To request emergency ballot delivery in the last week of the voting period, complete the form at sfelections.org/ballotservices or call (415) 554-4375.
Other Accessible Voting Resources
All in-person voting locations have accessible voting tools, including magnifiers and easy-grip pens for signing the roster and marking a ballot. All in-person voting locations also have wheelchair accessible entrances, as well as wheelchair accessible and seated voting booths, all designated by the international symbol of access.