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California Vote-by-Mail Tip Sheet

October 2014

1. Return your ballot by mail a week prior to Election Day.

Ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day by the county that sent it. Unlike a tax return, postmarks don’t count.

2. Voters who do not mail their ballots a week before the election should return them in person.

Ballots can be returned to county election offices or to any polling place within the voter’s county on Election Day.

3. Be sure to sign your ballot envelope.

Ballots sent in envelopes lacking a voter’s signature will not be counted.

4. Sign your name the same way as when you registered to vote.

Voters who register online should check their driver’s license signature to make sure their ballot envelope signature will match.

5. If you make a mistake or lose your ballot you can still vote.

Voters can seek replacement ballots from their county elections office or get a provisional ballot at their polling place on Election Day.


To check the status of your vote-by-mail ballot, contact your county election office or use the county's online lookup tool if available.


More information about improving California's vote-by-mail process is available.



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This page was first published on February 12, 2004 | Last updated on October 28, 2014
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