Monterey county elections Monterey County Elections

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Voting Methods:

  1. Paper Ballots – voted by mail and at polling places

  2. Assistive technology is supplied at polling places under the Federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) for those with sight or mobility impairments or limited reading skills who need help with voting. It offers voting through audio and visual means, and allows the use of assistive devices (i.e., sip & puff, stylus, etc.).  


Voting in Monterey County

On Election Day, all voters are issued a paper ballot. We have been issuing paper ballots as the main method of voting since November 2007. In addition, HAVA and state regulations require assistive voting technology be made available at each polling place. 

Any voter who wants to use assistive technology should ask a poll worker for help. Voting assistance is also on hand at our office during the 29 day early voting period before each election.

How to Vote Using Paper Ballots

When voting with a paper ballot use a blue or black ink pen to fill in the oval next to the candidate’s name. For a measure, fill in the oval next to the word “YES” or “NO.”

Instructions to vote on paper ballots


How to Identify How Many Candidates to Vote For

The "Vote for" instructions are located at the top of the column for each candidate contest. In some contests, such as Governor or District Attorney, there is only one seat available.  In that case, you will see the words “Vote for One.”  In other contests, such as school board member or city council, there may be more than one seat available.  In those cases, you will see the words “Vote for No More Than Two” or “Vote for No More Than Three".

"Vote for One" - You may only vote for one candidate.

"Vote for no more than..." - You may vote for one up to the maximum number of candidates.

How to Vote For an Official Write-in Candidate

For most candidate contests, there is a blank space at the bottom of the list of candidate names. This space can be used by the voter to enter the name of a qualified write-in candidate. Only those write-in votes for candidates who actually filed paperwork can be counted.  

Using paper ballots, after writing in the name of the candidate, fill in the oval next to the name.

What is an Overvote?

Because we use paper ballots, HAVA requires that we give information on the effects of overvoting and how to request a new, or replacement ballot. 

An overvote is when a voter has made more marks on the ballot than the maximum number of votes allowed for a contest.  For example, the candidate contest indicates “Vote for No More than Two” and the voter votes for more than two candidates.  It may help voters to review their paper ballot to make sure they have not overvoted by mistake.  The overvoted contests are flagged by the paper ballot counting machine and cannot be tallied.  All other properly marked contests on the paper ballot will be counted.  Our assistive voting technology is designed to prevent overvotes.

What is an Undervote?

An undervote is when a voter has made fewer marks on a ballot than the maximum number of votes allowed for a contest. For example, the candidate contest tells the voter “Vote for No More than Two” and the voter only votes for one. Undervoting can also mean leaving one or more contests or the entire ballot blank. It may help voters to review their paper ballot to make sure they have not missed any contests by mistake.  Undervoted ballots are counted and reported, even if completely blank.  Our assistive voting technology will tell voters if they have undervoted. If this happens they will be able to go back and vote on any missed contests.

Requesting a New Ballot When You Spoil the First One

Poll place ballot:  Return the spoiled ballot to the poll worker and ask for a new one.  

Mailed ballot:  Call the elections office for a replacement (831) 796-1499 or (866) 887-9274. You can also return the ballot in person directly to the Elections Department or bring it to your assigned polling place on Election Day.

If you do not bring your vote by mail ballot with you on Election Day to give to the poll worker, you will be asked to vote on a provisional ballot.

Remote Accessible Vote by Mail (RAVBM)

RAVBM allows voters with disabilities to vote at home using their own assistive technology to read and mark their ballot independently and in private. Military and Overseas voters can also use RAVBM to mark and print their ballot. Use was expanded in 2020 to include any active voter. There are safeguards in place to maintain the integrity of the ballot while facilitating access with RAVBM. Both access to the RAVBM program and the security measures in place are prescribed by law.

For more information, please call (831)796-1499 or email VBM@co.monterey.ca.us