On September 27, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 37 into law, which mandates that all Californians who are registered to vote will receive a vote-by-mail ballot. Any registered voter may vote using a vote-by-mail ballot instead of going to the polls on Election Day but have the option the vote in-person or drop off their ballot at voting locations or ballot drop boxes.  


  1. The voter may mail their ballot back to the county’s election official.   
  2. Vote-by-mail ballots that are mailed must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received by your county elections office no later than seven days after Election Day (SB 152 Elections, Section 1605 (D)). 
  3. If you are not sure your vote-by-mail ballot will arrive in time if mailed, bring it to any polling place in the state between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.  
  4.  The voter may return their ballot or vote in person at a voting location 
  5. Vote-by-mail ballots that are personally delivered must be turned in no later than the close of polls at 8:00 p.m. on Election Day. 
  6. The voter may drop off their ballot at a county’s ballot drop off box  
  7. Vote-by-mail ballots that are personally delivered to a ballot drop-off location must be returned no later than the close of polls at 8:00 p.m. on Election Day. 
  8. Voter may authorize a family member, roommate, coworker, friend, or volunteer to pick up their ballot and securely return their ballot on their behalf. 
  9. Anyone may return your ballot for you, as long as they do not get paid on a per ballot basis.
  10. You should fill out the authorization section found on the outside of your ballot return envelope with the name of the person you are authorizing to return your ballot.  


When the voter’s vote-by-mail ballot is received by the county elections official, their signature on the return envelope will be compared to the signature on their voter registration record to ensure they match. If the signatures are deemed to match, to preserve the secrecy of their ballot, the ballot will then be separated from the envelope, and then it will be tallied. 

All valid vote-by-mail ballots are counted in every election in California, regardless of the outcome or closeness of any race. 

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