What to expect when voting this year

For the first time in history, more than 20 million mail-in voting ballots are being sent out to California votes this year, just one of the many changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s what you need to know to make sure your vote counts.

Register to vote: If you haven’t registered to vote, there’s still time. State law requires registration 15 days before an election, however there are options for same-day registration as well. See all the details and register to vote here: https://registertovote.ca.gov/

Not sure if you’re registered to vote? You can check here: https://voterstatus.sos.ca.gov/Watch your mailbox: State law requires absentee ballots to be mailed no later than Monday, 29 days before the Nov. 3 election so if you haven’t received your ballot it will arrive soon.

Understand how mail-in ballots work: If you’re going to be mailing in your ballot, do it as early as possible, and follow these directions.

  • Fill out your ballot
  • After you have voted, insert your ballot in the envelope provided, making sure you complete all required information on the envelope.
  • Sign and date the back of the envelope.
  • You may return your voted ballot by mail, in person, or to a drop box. No postage is necessary.

Know voting deadlines

  • If you are returning your ballot by mail, it must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received by your county elections office no later than 17 days after Election Day.
  • If you are returning your ballot in person or dropping it in a drop box, it must be delivered no later than the close of polls at 8:00 p.m. on November 3rd.

Voting in person: In-person voting locations will be available to voters. Polling locations may be found online by visiting the Secretary of State’s My Voter Status tool. Remember that you’ll still need to follow COVID-19 safety protocols such as wearing a mask and social distancing.

Volunteer: Even with quarantine restrictions, volunteers are still needed to ensure the voting process runs smoothly. You can check with your county elections office, or on the California Secretary of State website for more information.

Report voting issues: If you have questions or want to report potential voting fraud or other issues, you can call the Secretary of State’s Voter Hotline at (800) 345-VOTE (8683) or contact your county elections office.

Kristy CooperWhat to expect when voting this year