Official Voter Information Guide

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Voting by Mail in California

Any registered voter can vote by mail in California. To vote by mail, you must apply to your county elections office for a vote-by-mail ballot at least seven days before Election Day. You can use the form on the county sample ballot booklet you receive in the mail a few weeks before Election Day to apply for a vote-by-mail ballot, or send your request in writing to your county elections office. Your request must include your printed name and the address where you live, the address where you want to receive your vote-by-mail ballot, your signature, and the name and date of the election in which you want to vote by mail.

Once your application is processed by your county elections official, the proper ballot will be sent to you. After you mark your choices on your vote-by-mail ballot, put it in the official envelope provided by your county elections office and seal it. Place the proper postage on the envelope and sign the outside of the envelope where directed.

You may return your voted vote-by-mail ballot by:

  • Mailing it to your county elections office;
  • Returning it in person to any polling place or elections office within your county on Election Day; or
  • Authorizing a legally allowable third party (spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, or a person residing in the same household as you) to return the ballot on your behalf to any polling place or elections office within your county on Election Day.

In any case, your vote-by-mail ballot must be received by the time polls close at 8:00 p.m. on Election Day, so be sure to mail your ballot a few days before Election Day. Late-arriving vote-by-mail ballots cannot be counted.

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