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Notice: Mail-in voting is a convenient and safe way to vote, but your ballot might not count if it’s submitted late or with errors. So follow the directions below on how to vote early or absentee and make your vote count in California.
Voting by mail is a one step process in California. Ballots are automatically mailed to all registered voters.
After you complete your ballot, be sure to return it ASAP!
Need your ballot sent to a different address? Apply for your ballot here no later than 7 days before Election Day and follow the steps listed above. If you need a ballot mailed to a different address after this date, contact your county elections office.
Remember to sign your return ballot.
After completing your ballot, put it into the return envelope provided by the state. Sign the self-affirmation on the return envelope.
Be sure that your signature matches your signature on file with the state! If you registered online or at the DMV, check the signature on your license. If the signature does not match, your ballot could be tossed and will not count.
If you return your ballot by mail, your postage is prepaid. You can also return your ballot via commercial delivery services, such as FedEx or UPS (at your expense).
You can also drop off your ballot in person at your local elections office, drop box, early voting locations, or polling place.
Any designated person can drop off a ballot for you. You must fill out the authorization section found on the outside of the ballot envelope.
If you decide to vote in person rather than use your mail-in ballot, go to your polling place or early voting location and vote. To vote at a vote center, you do not need to bring your unused ballot. To vote at a polling place, you do need to bring your unused ballot to be "surrendered." If you do not bring your ballot, you will vote via provisional ballot.
California does offer voters a chance to address challenges to their ballot.
Your state has a cure period, which means you can “cure” a challenge to the signature on your ballot if it was done incorrectly. You will be contacted if there is a challenge to your signature through Election Day.
If there is a challenge to your ballot signature, you will have until 2 days before the election’s certification (date TBD) to “cure” the challenge. If you did not sign your ballot, you will have until the 8th day after Election Day to “cure” the mistake.
You may get a call from a number you don’t recognize with the notification that you need to cure your ballot. Be sure to pick up so that you don’t miss your chance to make sure your vote is counted!
California voters are not required to show ID at the polls or by-mail, except for some first time voters who did not include required ID info on their voter registration form. A current driver’s license number or last four of social security number should have been provided on the original voter registration form. If this information was not provided, a first time voter will have to show ID at the polls. Valid forms of identification include;
Photo IDs that have photograph and name:
“Non-photo” IDs that have name and address:
Enter your address below to see what you can expect on Election Day.
Primary Type (D): Mixed
Primary Type (R): Closed
California’s Republican Party requires that voters register as Republican to participate in their presidential primary. California’s Democratic Party holds a presidential primary that is open to both registered democrats and voters that are unaffiliated with a political party. Voters may register to vote and change their party affiliation through Election Day.
In addition to the presidential primary, the state primary elections will also be on the March 5th ballot. The state primary in California is a top-two primary system in which the top two candidates who get the most votes move onto the general election, regardless of party affiliation. Every voter can participate and vote for every candidate, regardless of party. The top-two vote getters move on to the general election. The California primary election includes the following races;
– U.S. senator
– U.S. representative
– State legislators
– School boards
– Municipal elected officials
– Ballot measures
Your state automatically registers people to vote at the address on their drivers license or other state issued ID card. If you have moved but have not updated your ID with your new address, changed your name or want to add a political party selection, you must update your voter registration. Click here to check to see if you are registered to vote, and update your registration if needed.
You can register to vote and cast your ballot on Election Day at your polling place or local elections office. Bring a valid ID and proof of residence with you.
You can return your mail-in ballot to your early voting site.
Exact early voting dates and hours vary and are determined by your county elections office.
Some states have laws that specifically allow citizens to preregister at a certain age while others allow registration as long as you’re 18 by the next election. Preregistration means you’ll be automatically registered to vote on your 18th birthday without taking any additional steps.
In California, you can preregister to vote if you are 16. Register to vote today!
Some states even let you vote in their primaries at 17 if you’ll be 18 by the general election so you can participate in the whole process!
You can not vote in the California primaries if you are 17 by the next election.