How to set up a polling place at your house.

Answers to your questions about the news.
Nov. 6 2006 6:08 PM

Can I Vote Without Going Outside?

How to set up a polling place at home.

Download the MP3 audio version of this story here, or sign up for The Explainer's free daily podcast on iTunes.

Voters across the country will line up at schools, community centers, and churches to cast their ballots on Tuesday. Others will simply mosey over to their neighbor's garage to vote. How do you turn your house into a polling place?

Contact your local registrar of voters or board of elections and volunteer. Or, if you're lucky, someone might stop by and ask you. Los Angeles County asks poll volunteers if they want to host voters in-home. San Diego County sends surveyors door to door to find locations when a precinct needs more polling stations.

Advertisement

States and counties set their own rules about whether polling places can be located in private homes or businesses. Around 15 percent of San Diego's polling sites are private residences. One-third of voting locations in Los Angeles are in private homes or businesses. California's San Bernardino County and the state of Virginia, among others, prefer to host polling stations only in government buildings, schools, or churches. In some rural counties in states like Montana, private citizens are asked to host polling spots because there aren't any government buildings for miles around or official locales may not be accessible to the handicapped.

If your home or business gets selected, local officials send out inspectors to make sure the space complies with the Americans With Disabilities Act. This involves measuring driveway widths and slopes and doorway access. Contra Costa, San Diego, and Los Angeles counties do not do background checks on people who volunteer their homes. They will send out election workers to chat you up and check out the premises, however.

People who volunteer their homes do not necessarily have to be registered voters. (You do have to be a registered voter if you want to be a poll worker.) In San Diego, poll hosts cannot have sponsored any measures that are on the ballot and cannot be electoral candidates.

Poll volunteers can make some walking-around money while performing their civic duty. Los Angeles pays between $105 and $175 to poll workers and $25 for hosting a polling station. San Diego pays $50 per location and between $60 and $150 for volunteers.

Got a question about today's news? Ask the Explainer.

Explainer thanks Grace Chavez of the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters, Matt Behrenz of the Virginia Board of Elections, Kari Verjil of the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters, and Sirena Jimenez of the San Diego County Registrar of Voters.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

The U.S. Is So, So Far Behind Europe on Clean Energy

Even if You Don’t Like Batman, You Might Like Gotham

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

So, Apple Is Not Shuttering Beats, but the Streaming Service Will Probably Be Folded Into iTunes

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 22 2014 6:30 PM What Does It Mean to Be an American? Ted Cruz and Scott Brown think it’s about ideology. It’s really about culture.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
  Life
Outward
Sept. 22 2014 4:45 PM Why Can’t the Census Count Gay Couples Accurately?
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 22 2014 4:06 PM No, Women’s Soccer Does Not Have a Domestic Violence Problem Or, why it is very, very stupid to compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice.
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 5:45 PM The University of California Corrects “Injustice” by Making Its Rich Chancellors Even Richer
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 22 2014 4:34 PM Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.