If you’re a mom or dad who plans on voting in person in the upcoming election, you might be concerned about what to do with your child when you’re in the voting booth making sure your voice is heard.
The good news is that there’s nothing stopping you from bringing an infant or a child with you in the booth. Having a kid with you while you vote is allowed in all 50 states.
But each state, and some counties, have different rules about what you can bring with you when you vote.
Here’s a few things you can and can’t bring with you when you vote:
- A pen to mark your selections (if you’re polling location hasn’t gone digital)
- Sharpies are OK, too and are actually preferred.
- There’s a lot of important info crammed into a small section of your ballot. Don’t worry if you need to bring some extra literature so you know what you’re voting for.
- Photo ID
- It’s not required before voting, but you may be asked to prove your identity if you recently registered to vote and did not provide it at the time.
- Your sample ballot
- If you’ve already gone through the process of marking your ballot at home and don’t want to make any mistakes, feel free to bring it.
- California has no rules regarding snapping a selfie or sharing a photo of your completed ballot. Those laws do, however, vary from state to state.
- A helper
- If you need help voting because of a disability or other accessibility issue, you are allowed to have someone help you cast your vote; many polling places will have tools and materials for those with accessibility issues to make the process pain-free.
- Service dog
- A service dog can come with you when you vote. Some polling places might let you bring a non-service animal with you, but it’s probably best to leave your furry friend at home.
- Campaign material like shirts, buttons or signs
- Those are considered prohibited under California’s electioneering rules. You can’t have those within 100 feet of the polling location.
- You can’t ask someone to sign a petition while they are casting their votes.
- California is one of a few states that explicitly prohibits bringing guns to a polling place, even people who are licensed to carry.
That should hopefully cover the basics. Ultimately, what you can and can’t bring to your polling station is pretty much just common sense.
If you have questions about something that isn’t covered, or if you just have general questions about election day or your ballot, you can contact your local elections office or call the California Voter Hotline at 800-345-VOTE(8683).