If you are unable to make it to your polling place on Election Day you can still cast a ballot. The California Elections Code allows for any registered voter, regardless of the reason, to vote by mail, also referred to as casting an "absentee" ballot.

In order to vote by mail, you must request the ballot in writing from your county Registrar of Voters office, and most counties accept fax requests. If you have received the sample ballot mailed by the County Elections office, you can use the form printed on the back cover. Otherwise, simply write a request yourself and include the following information:

County Elections offices will accept absentee ballot requests until October 27th.

Once you have received your ballot and voted, make sure to sign the envelope provided with the ballot. You are responsible for paying the postage to mail the ballot back to the county.

Your absentee ballot must be received by your County Elections office before the close of polls (8pm) on Election Day. You may return the ballot by mail, walk it into the county elections office yourself or return the ballot to your precinct's polls. Only under very specific circumstances may your ballot be returned by someone else. If you are considering having someone else return your absentee ballot, first call your County Elections office to find out what is required and if your circumstances qualify.

For more in-depth information about the absentee voting process, visit the Secretary of State's Guide to Absentee Voting.

This page first published October 20, 1998

Last updated October 20, 1998

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