How to use the Poll Star ballot machine
You will need a sample ballot to vote on the Poll Star machine. You should receive a sample ballot in the mail by October 24. Or you can get one at your polling place on election day, or by calling the registrar of voters at 408-299-8302.
Inside the sample ballot, there is a number next to the name of each candidate. Each ballot measure has two numbers, one for yes and another for no. ItŐs fastest to read your sample ballot ahead of time,and mark the numbers that represent your choices. But you can also read it as you vote. There is no time limit on voting.
Your polling place is listed on the back cover of your sample ballot; call 408-299-8302 if you have questions. Polling places may change from election to election, so be sure to doublecheck. When you arrive there on election day, your name will be checked against a list of registered voters and you will be given a ballot card.
Inside the voting booth
You will find the Poll Star machine, a device with plastic flaps like the pages of a book. The flaps are printed with numbers that correspond to the numbers in the sample ballot. You will use the stylus attached to the machine to punch out your votes.
Insert your card into the slot on top of the device, making sure that the holes on the card snap into place over the pins on the device.
As you vote
Open the sample ballot to the first measure or candidate listed. Flip the pages of the voting machine until you find the number that corresponds to your first choice in the sample ballot.
Press the stylus through the hole in the plastic sheet next to the number of your first choice. Referring to the sample ballot, repeat this for each choice you want to make. You do not have to vote in every race or for every measure. If you think you have made a mistake, you can get a new card from a precinct volunteer.
When you are finished, remove the ballot card from the Poll Star device and give it to a precinct volunteer. A piece of the ballot will be torn off and given to you as proof that you have voted.
Source: Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters
Illustrations by Wes Killingbeck -- Mercury News