There is no shortage of reasons to vote on November 3rd. This election will determine if and how the federal government moves forward on climate change, anti-racism, responding to the global pandemic, economic recovery and more. Also, debates and negotiations on the next Farm Bill will be informed by members of Congress elected this year. In California, there are a number of propositions to consider (stay tuned for an upcoming blog on Propositions 15 and 16), and of course there are many important school board, city council, and Supervisor races and local measures.
The pandemic has led to some changes voting procedures that give people more flexibility than ever about how to cast their votes. We want to share some guidance and resources to make sure everyone has access to the information they need to participate in this critical election.
For more details and information specific to your location, the California Secretary of State website is a one-stop shop to check your registration status, register, and find information about when and how to vote. They offer information in 10 languages.
Vote by Mail vs. In Person
For the first time, all registered California voters will automatically receive a vote-by-mail ballot so you have the option to avoid polling places and potential COVID exposure. You should receive yours in the next few days if you are registered to vote and your address is current.
If you decide to vote by mail, here are some things to consider:
- You can vote as soon as you receive your ballot. Voting early gives more time to process the ballots and determine the results.
- Use blue or black ink to fill in your votes.
- Put your ballot in the return envelope, seal it and sign your name on the back of the envelope.
- To return your ballot:
- Drop it in a US Postal Service box, no stamp needed, no later than 5:00pm on November 3rd (ideally sooner), OR
- Drop it in an official ballot drop box, OR
- Drop it off at a polling place between Oct. 31st and Nov 3rd at 8:00pm
If you want to vote in person, note that every county in California is offering one or more early voting locations for at least four days before election day (i.e., from Oct. 31st to Nov. 3rd). This is an effort to increase voter turnout and reduce wait times. Bring your mail-in ballot with you to your polling station to show that you have not yet voted and to make it easier and quicker for you to vote in person. If you vote in-person, DO NOT also mail your ballot.
You can find your polling locations, ballot drop-off boxes, and hours here.
California counties were required to mail their ballots to registered voters no later than October 5th, so you should receive yours no later than about Oct. 12th. Check your status if you don’t receive it to make sure you are registered at your current address.
Last day to register to vote online.
If you miss the registration deadline, you can register in person at a polling place as late as November 3rd.
Last day to vote by mail or in person! Some counties are offering multiple in-person voting days, and all of California is mailing ballots to registered voters.
If voting by mail, be sure your ballot is in a mailbox or designated ballot box by 8:00pm.
In-person voting at a polling place (find yours here) can be done between 7:00am and 8:00pm. Bring a mask and remember to respect physical distancing!
You can track when your ballot will arrive and when it was received after you mail it.