How to return your vote-by-mail ballot
On June 18, 2020, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 860, which requires California counties to mail ballots to all registered voters for the November 3, 2020, Consolidated General Election and permits all voters to use a remote accessible vote-by-mail (AVBM) system to access their ballots.
Accordingly, the Department of Elections will mail ballot packets and open its AVBM System to all registered San Francisco voters starting 29 days before the November 3 election. This means the vast majority of voters will not need to take any action to receive a ballot in the upcoming election and any registered voter may vote using a vote-by-mail ballot instead of going to the polls on Election Day.
Voters can also choose to receive automatic notifications on the status or their ballots via email, SMS (text), or voice call. Visit wheresmyballot.sos.ca.gov to sign up for this service.
How to return your vote-by-mail ballot:
After marking your choices on your vote-by-mail ballot, place it in the official envelope provided by your county elections office and seal it. Sign the envelope where directed.
You have multiple options for returning your ballot. To ensure your ballot arrives by the deadline, return it either:
- By mail—must be postmarked on or before November 3 and received by your county elections office no later than March 6. No postage is required!
- In person—drop off at your county elections office, any vote center or polling place in California, or any ballot drop off location before the polls close at 8:00 p.m. November 3.
- State law gives voters the freedom to designate anyone they choose to return their vote-by-mail ballots. However, we recommend that you only sign your completed ballot over to someone you trust. And never hand over your vote-by-mail ballot if you have not sealed and signed the back of the return envelope provided by your county elections office.
- Even if you receive your vote-by-mail ballot and envelope, you can still vote in person at your polling place on Election Day. Bring your vote-by-mail ballot to the polling place and give it to a poll worker to exchange for a polling place ballot. If you do not have your vote-by-mail ballot and envelope, you may have to vote using a provisional ballot. This ensures that you have not already cast a ballot. (See page 27 of this guide for more information about provisional ballots.)
Postage pre-paid ballots: ‘No Stamp, No Problem’ – Hooray!
All California vote-by-mail ballot return envelopes now have pre-paid postage, ensuring that voting is free and convenient for all California voters. After you have filled out your vote-by-mail ballot, place it in the return envelope, seal the envelope, sign on the designated line, and place it into the mailbox.