Voters In Assisted Living Facilities

The following offers guidance to employees and family members who provide assistance to voters with disabilities and voters who are living in assisted living facilities. Additionally, our guide titled "Helping Your Patient Vote​" is a printable tool to educate carers about important election deadlines and how to help those in their care register to vote, obtain a mail or accessible ballot, and cast their ballot. ​

How you can help

Keep voter registration records current. When a patient moves into your home or facility, help them take the time to update their address.

  • is California's online registration portal. It’s an easy way to help your patient update their mailing address or, help them complete a paper voter registration form. Request a paper form by mail by calling (916) 875-6451. 
  • Consider adding voter registration forms and voter cancellation forms to your intake packets.

Ensure that County Voter Information Guides and Official Ballots are delivered and routed to residents. If ballots don’t arrive by two weeks prior to the election, call the Vote by Mail Division at (916) 875-6155. They can track the mail, or issue a replacement ballot.

Remind residents of the election date and deadlines.

  • Ballots must be postmarked by Election Day. The USPS recommends mailing at least one week before Election Day.
  • If returning within one week of Election Day, consider using an Official Ballot Drop Box. 
  • You can find the nearest Official Ballot Drop Box location by using our interactive mapping tool​.  

Here’s how you can offer assistance

State law allows voters to receive assistance in voting. A voter may designate an election worker, assisted living staff member, or a volunteer.

  • Clarify with your patient what assistance they are specifically requesting (marking, reading, seeing, folding or handling paper, transportation to a Voting Center).
  • Limit your assistance to ONLY what the voter requests.
  • When possible, a team of two people should provide requested assistance.
  • Provide assistance in a private area, to protect voter privacy.
  • The ballot is for the voter and the voter only.
  • Never ask the voter to discuss their vote or share their reasoning. Simply provide the assistance requested.
  • If the voter doesn’t indicate how to mark a ballot choice, do not mark it for them.


  • Withhold a ballot, even if you strongly believe that the resident is not competent.
  • Give the ballot to a child or relative.
  • Vote on behalf of a resident.
  • Help with decision-making, even if requested.

When a voter asks for your opinion, here are some suggested responses.

  • “That’s for you to decide, Bob.”
  • “It’s important for me to keep my opinions to myself.”
  • “You can skip that race or question if you want, your ballot will still count.”
  • “Would you like a County Voter Information Guide or State Voter Information Guide?”

Why up-to-date signatures are important

We check the signature on every ballot envelope. Signatures change over time. If the signature on an envelope doesn’t match the signature on file, we can’t count the ballot. If that happens, the Elections Office will mail a letter to the voter and provide options for “curing” the signature issue.

Encourage seniors to update their signatures on file:

  • Signature updates can occur at any time by filling out a new voter registration form.
  • Sign using your everyday signature.

If the voter can’t sign the envelope, they may simply make a mark, such as an “X.” When the X is used, an individual over the age of 18 must also sign as a witness. The witness can be anyone, including facility staff.

The signature of a Power of Attorney is not allowed. Only the voter can vote and sign their ballot.


Voters who are starting to experience mental incapacitation may want to consider cancelling their voter registration voluntarily.

  • The voter needs to cancel registration in writing.
  • The voter needs to sign the request.

Involuntary Cancellation

Only a court can declare an incapacitated person incompetent for voting (EC Sec. 208). ​

Instructions for handling misdirected ballots

Because patients come and go, your facility may receive ballots after a patient departs. 

Please check the box above the address window that says "IF VOTER IS DECEASED OR HAS MOVED, CHECK HERE AND DROP IN MAILBOX" and put them back in the mail stream. The Elections Office will use the returned mail to update the voter's record.

Additional Help

The Elections Office can print large format County Voter Information Guides upon request. 

If your facility can provide transportation to a Vote Center, each location provides onsite assistance and offers the use of an accessible voting unit for casting a ballot. Contact Precinct Operations at (916) 875-6100 for more information.​