Election observation

Members of the public are welcome to observe election processes.

We operate in an open and transparent manner. Anyone may watch us conduct any election and provide feedback. To see what we are doing and when we are doing it, view our Calendar of Observable Activities.

There are several ways to observe the election process:

To help people understand observation rules, we publish an observer guide.

Below are reminders of some of the important rules relating to permissible and prohibited election activities.

Exit Polling is Permissible

Exit polling is the surveying of voters after they leave a voting site. News organizations and other pollsters are advised to conduct exit polling at least 25 feet away from voting sites.

Video Recording and Photo Taking Inside Voting Sites is Limited

Voters may take a photo of their ballot (a “ballot selfie") but nobody can photograph someone else's ballot.

The use of cameras inside voting sites is limited and requires the consent of the elections official.  Media organizations are generally allowed to take photos and film activities as long as it does not interfere with voting, does not intimidate any voters or poll workers, and the privacy of voters is not compromised.

Electioneering is Prohibited

Electioneering, which is a criminal activity, is the circulation of a petition as well as any type of advocacy for or against any candidate or measure on the ballot within the immediate vicinity of a person in line to cast their ballot or within 100 feet of the entrance of a polling place, voting center, curbside voting or ballot drop box.

Corrupting the Voting Process is Prohibited

Corruption of the voting process, which is a criminal activity, can take many forms, including voter fraud, bribery, and interference with election processes or voter rights.

Public notices relating to the prohibition on electioneering and the prohibition on corrupting the voting process can be viewed on the Secretary of State’s website.


How to report violations

If you see electioneering at a voting site, please tell a poll worker or call us at 415-554-4375.

If you are aware of the corruption of the voting process or voter fraud, please call us at 415-554-4375 or the District Attorney’s Voter Fraud Hotline at 628-652-4311. You can also call the Secretary of State's confidential toll-free Voter Hotline at 800-345-8683.

Get help

Department of Elections

1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
City Hall, Room 48
San Francisco, CA 94102


Fax: 415-554-7344
TTY: 415-554-4386

中文: 415-554-4367
Español: 415-554-4366
Filipino: 415-554-4310

Last updated February 5, 2024