Vibemap's guide to voting early and map of ballot drop-offs in Oakland
We've been inspired by Stacey Abrams, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and other leaders who've been helping people to make a plan and show up to vote during the 2020 election. As you exercise your right to vote, consider coordinating your ballot drop-off with a day or afternoon of exploring the city and supporting local businesses. Below are our picks for the top 5 locations to drop-off your ballot in Oakland and tips for what to do nearby.
- Not sure of your voting status? Check here to make sure you’re registered to vote.
- We’re highlighting just a few ballot drop-off locations, but you can see the whole list here.
- You can also return your ballot through the mail. No postage required, but make sure your ballot is postmarked on or before election day.
- Wear a mask, practice social distancing and stay safe.
- Read the rules closely before you go on your journey to drop off your ballot or vote. We want your vote to count!
Drop-off your ballot in Fruitvale at the Oakland Public Library Cesar E. Chavez Branch
There’s always something exciting happening in Fruitvale, which makes it an easy consideration for a fun afternoon. Drop your ballot off outside the Oakland Public Library Cesar E. Chavez Branch and sit in the plaza outside of the Fruitvale Bart Station where there is always good entertainment, street food, and people watching. Afterwards, get takeout from a local restaurant. The quesabirria from Salvadorian joint, Los Coco’s, burritos from Taqueria San Jose, or the flat bread from Arab bakery Reem’s won’t disappoint.
Drop-off your ballot downtown at the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse
Vote for change at the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse downtown Oakland. After you have dropped off your ballot, walk by the Oakland Museum (stay tuned for their reopening) and head to Lake Merritt. Sit along along the amphitheater and watch the cast of characters that stroll through. Afterwards, grab an outdoor beer on the roof of Mad Oak Bar and head over to Laney College to wander through the urban campus. Finally, pick up dinner and drinks to go from Nido.
Drop-off your ballot in West Oakland at the Oakland Public Library West Oakland Branch
Brush up on your West Oakland history as you drop off your ballot at the Oakland Public Library West Oakland Branch drop-off box. The first stop is DeFremery Park, also known as Lil' Bobby Hutton Memorial Park, named after Black Panther Bobby Hutton. Take in the energy of this site which is often used for community gatherings and rallies. Afterwards walk 16th street, which is currently closed to cars and head to Kilovolt Coffee for a coffee and bagel on your way to the historic 16th Street Station, which was built in 1912 and served as the last western stop for the transcontinental railway. End your day by picking up fresh soba noodles from Soba Ichi, the first place to make fresh soba noodles from scratch anywhere in the county and grab a beer outside at Ghost Town Brewing.
Drop-off your ballot in Temescal at Standard & Strange
If you’re looking for buzzing, playful vibes, the drop-off box outside of the men’s store, Standard & Strange in Temescal is where you’ll want to drop off your ballot. After that, combine your trip with a visit to one of the many small, local stores located within Temescal Alley like Curbside Creamery where you can get a scoop of ginger molasses cookie vegan ice cream. Finally, end with takeout from Cholita Linda (tip get the chicharron de pollo) and a drink on the back patio at Rose’s Taproom.
Drop-off your ballot in Eastmont at Eastmont Towncenter
If planning your ballot drop off adventure consists of finding the best soul food in Oakland, the Eastmont Towncenter drop-off box at Eastmont Wellness has it covered. After you drop off your ballot, head straight to Lena’s Soul Food. It’s all good, but don’t pass on the fried chicken and sweet potato pie. Afterwards, take your time exploring the neighborhood. Hang out at Arroyo Viejo Park and then head over to the Mill’s College campus. Wander through the beautiful grounds and sit along Lake Aliso. If you’re still hungry, loop back to Old Weang Ping Village for take out Thai food or Mi Zacatecas for Mexican.
BONUS: Drop-off your ballot at the Berkeley Civic Center Building
The Civic Center in Berkeley has been the site of decades of protests, sit-ins and good old fashioned voting. For a real old school - get involved - vibe, drop-off your ballot at Downtown Berkeley Civic Center Building. After you drop off your ballot, walk over to MY Coffee Roastery and support a new small and local business. After that, for some nourishment after voting, chill out at the outdoor parklet in front of the Butcher’s Son with a vegan burger that will make you think twice about eating meat ever again. To really celebrate exercising your right to vote, sit back in the Downtown Berkeley Plaza with an Italian style gelato at Almare.
Finally, if you need to get away from the buzzing energy of Downtown, head up to UC Berkeley lay out on the Oxford Green soaking up some afternoon sunshine. All of this is within walking distance of the Downtown Berkeley BART - which is COVID safe and still running!