Election Day is around the corner. Who wants to help you navigate your way to the polls?

Just about everybody.

Election officials remind voters that Monday is the final day to register to vote in the general election. Download a registration form online at www.sos.ca.gov/nvrc/fedform, print and sign it. Voters may also contact their county election offices.

Voters who are not enrolled in the permanent vote-by-mail program have until Oct. 26 to request a vote-by-mail ballot. Obtain a form at your county election office or go to www.sos.ca.gov/elections/vote-by-mail/pdf/fill-in-vote-by-mail-app-instruct.pdf.

In Contra Costa County, elections chief Steve Weir reminds voters who cast their ballots by mail to put extra postage on the envelope -- it will cost 61 cents. (A standard first class postage stamp costs 44 cents.)

Alameda County voters will need to place 78 cents in postage on their vote-by-mail ballots.

The large number of races and ballot measures, along with the launch of ranked-choice voting in Berkeley, Oakland and San Leandro, forced election officials to use two and sometimes three ballot cards, which drove up postage costs.

As for deciphering the content of the ballot with its multitude of state and local ballot measures and dozens of federal, state and local candidates, a number of nonpartisan organizations offer analysis on the Internet.


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Among your options:

  • Legislative Analyst's Office, www.lao.ca.gov: Nonpartisan analysis of the state's nine ballot measures.

  • California Voter Foundation, www.calvoter.org: Online voter guide is a directory for state and federal contests, which includes candidates' party affiliations, contact information and links to campaign Web sites. It also includes links to the ballot propositions.

  • Next 10, www.californiachoices.org: In-depth, nonpartisan analysis of the nine statewide ballot measures, including endorsements, polling data, campaign finance information, pro and con video clip, links to the campaigns and a social networking tool that allows friends to share their choices with others. Analysis is provided by UC-Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies.

  • Smart Voter by the League of Women Voters, www.smartvoter.org: Find links, candidate statements and a host of other voter-related information on this perennially valuable site.

    Contact Lisa Vorderbrueggen at 925-945-4773, lvorderbrueggen@bayareanewsgroup.com, www.ibabuzz.com/politics or at Twitter.com/lvorderbrueggen.

    voter information
    Find your polling place or find the answers to other election questions at the following locations:
  • Contra Costa County Registrar of Voters: 555 Escobar St. in Martinez. Contact the office at 925-335-7800 or www.cocovote.us.
  • Alameda County Registrar of Voters: 1225 Fallon Street G-1 in Oakland. Contact the office at 510-267-8683 or www.acgov.org/rov.
  • Solano County Registrar of Voters: 675 Texas St. in Fairfield. Contact the office at 707-784-6675 or www.solanocounty.com/depts/rov.
  • California Secretary of State: Toll-free voter hot line is 800-345-VOTE (8683).