City Elections

The City of Novato commissions the Marin County Registrar of Voters to provide certain election services. For voter information, election policies and procedures, and other election information visit the Marin County Registrar of Voters' website.

It is the duty of the City Clerk to conduct Municipal Elections in accordance with the Municipal Code, California Elections Code and Political Reform Act. The City Clerk provides guidance to candidates in meeting their legal responsibilities before, during and after an election.

Election Observer Information

Anyone may observe all aspects of the election process so long as they do not interfere.

Central counting of vote-by-mail ballots starts 10 business days prior to the election, and is conducted in the Elections Department office, located in Suite 121 of the Civic Center, 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael. Counting takes place during regular business hours, weekdays 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Election Day polling places are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. A list of polling places and the Election Observer Guidelines are available at

The manual tally of ballots is conducted during the official canvass period following the election. The date will be determined the week after the election. Call the Marin County Elections Department at 415-473-6456 for more information.

Conditional Voter Registration

On January 1, 2017, a law called Conditional Voter Registration became operative which allows eligible residents to register and vote in an election even if they wait until Election Day.

Prior to the new law, an eligible person had to register no later than 15 days prior to an election to vote in that election. Now during the period of 14 days through and including Election Day until 8 p.m., a registrant may cast a conditional provisional ballot at the Marin County Elections Department after delivering a properly executed affidavit of registration. After the registration is processed and deemed valid, the Elections Department can process the provisional ballot. Under the new rules a voter may still register online during the grace period but will need to cast the conditional provisional ballot at the Elections Department.

For more information please visit  or call the Marin County Elections Department at 415-473-6456.

Public Records Act Requests

How to Request Public Records 

  • Public Records can be requested in writing, via the mail, e-mail or fax.
  • Requests may be made verbally on the phone or in person. However, to avoid confusion and to make certain that you obtain the records you want, it is best to put your request in writing.
  • Be as clear as possible when requesting records and put date limits on your request. If you are uncertain as to what you are looking for, we can often assist you in defining your search.

Fees & Charges for Duplicating

  • The City does not charge for the time and costs incurred in searching for, locating or collecting records. However, the City may charge for the actual costs of duplicating paper records.
  • The current fee is 30 cents per standard 8.5"x11" page.

Please direct your request to:

Terrie Gillen, City Clerk

922 Machin Avenue
Novato, CA 94945
Ph: (415) 899-8986

Fax: (415) 899-8213

About the Right to Access Records

  • You have a fundamental right to access information concerning the conduct of the City.
  • Any City record that is requested will be provided for review unless it is exempt under the law, or unless it is in the public's best interest that the record not be disclosed, such as for property negotiations, personnel matters.
  •  The California Public Records Act (CPRA) ensures public access to public records from state agencies and local government. It is similar in purpose to the Federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).


The cities and towns of Marin County jointly contract with Emanuels Jones & Associates for legislative advocacy services. Working with the Legislative Committee of the Marin County Council of Mayors and Councilmembers (MCCMC), Emanuels Jones reviews all legislative bills for their impact on Marin and takes action of specific proposals. This work includes advocating for the protection of local revenues during the state's budget process, preserving local control on housing and other issues, and advancing other legislative issues of interest to Marin. The advocate coordinates visits to the Capitol to meet with and talk to state legislators and other state officials.  

The City of San Rafael acts as the lead agency for the purpose of the agreement, but all cities and towns share the cost apportioned by assessed value and population. Agreement and Costs Information >>

At this time, the City of Novato does not employ a lobbyist on its staff or as a consultant. The City is a member of the League of California Cities, an association of cities within the state of California. Its mission is to expand and protect local control for cities through education and advocacy to enhance the quality of life for all Californians.

Overview of the City Clerk's Office

The City Clerk’s office:

  • Oversees all City records and serves as the primary public contact for the City.
  • Coordinates the preparation of the City Council agendas, takes the official minutes of Council meetings, notices all public hearings and official meetings, and coordinates with County officials for City Council and local elections.
  • Is responsible for Brown Act compliance for all public meetings and ceremonial and procedural functions of the City Council.
  • Maintains the Council Policy Manual, rosters for all Council-appointed Boards and Commissions, roster for Standing and Ad Hoc Committee assignments, and the Council Agenda Schedule.

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