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How to Vote in California’s 2022 Elections

En español | California’s Nov. 8 general election will decide races for the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, governor, the state Senate and Assembly, attorney general and other state offices. The state’s primary took place on June 7.

Essential info:

  • Voting by mail: All registered voters will be sent a mail-in ballot for the primary and general election.
  • Early in-person voting: Some California counties offer early in-person voting up to 10 days before every election. Check with your county elections office to see if early in-person voting is an option.  
  • In-person voting on Election Day: The general election takes place Tuesday, Nov. 8. Polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Find your polling place online on the state elections website.
Californians Vote In Gubernatorial Recall Election
Voters exit a polling location in San Francisco.
Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

What's new this year?

The secretary of state's office will send all registered voters a mail-in ballot for the November election. And California's new redistricting plan has resulted in the loss of one congressional district and the redrawing of certain state legislative districts, which may change which candidates appear on your ballot.

What races are on the ballot?

  • US Senate: Mark Meuser (R), Alex Padilla (D)
  • US House of Representatives: All 52 congressional seats
  • Governor: Brian Dahle (R), Incumbent Gavin Newsom (D)
  • State Senate: 20 of 40 seats
  • State Assembly: All 80 seats
  • Secretary of State: Rob Bernosky (R), Incumbent Shirley Weber (D)
  • Other statewide offices, including lieutenant governor, attorney general, controller and treasurer

How do I register to vote?

  • Online: Use California’s online portal to register, check your registration status or change your party preference. Residents ages 16 and 17 can preregister to vote online. By doing so, they will be automatically registered upon their 18th birthday.
  • By mail and in person: You cannot download and print an online registration form from the California state elections website. But you can pick one up at your county elections office, most public libraries, Department of Motor Vehicles offices, and U.S. post offices. Eligible residents will be automatically registered to vote while obtaining or renewing a driver’s license or vehicle registration unless they choose to opt out.
  • By phone or email: Call 800-345-8683 or send an email to the California Elections Division to have a registration form mailed to you. 

Completed applications must be postmarked or hand-delivered to your county elections office by Oct. 24 to vote in the general election.

If you miss the deadline, you can register conditionally (also known as same-day registration) and vote at your county elections office, polling place or county vote center. Your ballot will be counted after your county elections office completes the voter registration verification process.

How can I get a mail-in ballot? Are there important deadlines?

All registered voters will be sent a mail-in ballot by the state elections office no later than Oct. 10 for the general election. If you don’t receive your mail-in ballot or have lost or damaged your ballot and are unable to vote in person at the polls, you can request a replacement mail-in ballot online, by phone or in person.

Completed mail-in ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received by your county elections office no later than seven days after an election — Nov. 15 for the general election. You can also drop off your mail-in ballot in person at any polling place, county vote center or ballot drop box, or at your county elections office between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Can I track my mail-in ballot?

Use the state election office’s online tool to track your ballot.

Can I vote in person before Election Day?

This depends on the county. If you live in a Voter’s Choice Act county, you may start in-person voting up to 10 days before an election at a local vote center. Locations can be found along with polling places on the state elections website. At these centers, voters can drop off their ballot in person, get a replacement ballot, cast a ballot with a voting machine, register to vote or update an existing registration, and find voting material in multiple languages. Contact your county elections office to find out if early in-person voting is available in your county.

Information about vote center locations and ballot drop boxes will be posted on the state elections website at least 30 days before the June 7 primary. Check back for updates.

When is Election Day? When are polls open?

The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 8. Polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Find your polling place online at the California elections website.

Do I need identification to vote at the polls?

Only those who didn’t provide a driver’s license number or state ID and/or the last four digits of your Social Security number while registering to vote online will need to show an approved form of ID on Election Day. Approved IDs include a state driver’s license, a U.S. passport, a state ID card, or a student identification card showing your name and photograph. A complete list of acceptable forms of ID is posted online at the state election’s website.

Editor’s note: This guide was updated on June 8 with information about the state's redistricting plan. The guide was first published on July 30, 2020. 

Also of Interest:

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