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Vote by Mail Ballots

Are there circumstances under which a voter can be required to vote an absentee ballot?

Yes. If an election precinct has 250 or less registered voters on the 88th day prior to an election, that precinct may be declared a "Vote by Mail Ballot" precinct by the elections official due to the unavailability of voting locations and pollworkers in small precincts. All voters in such designated precincts will automatically be sent absentee ballots for that election.

How can I request an absentee ballot?

Rather than going to the polling place to cast a ballot on Election Day, any registered voter may request an absentee ballot by filling out a Vote by Mail applications:

For more information, visit Apply to Vote by Mail.
How do I turn in my absentee ballot on Election Day?

You may return it in person to any precinct polling place in Los Angeles County or to the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk's office by 8 p.m. on Election Day. If due to illness or physical disability, you are unable to return the ballot yourself, then you may authorize in writing a spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister or person residing in your household to return the ballot to the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk's office or to any polling place within Los Angeles County by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

I am physically challenged/disabled and I must vote by mail. Do I have to apply for an absentee ballot for each election?

No. You can apply for "Permanent Absent Voter" status with the Permanent Vote by Mail Application. Once on file, you will no longer have to apply for future elections. A ballot will automatically be mailed to you for each election. A spouse or other person who resides with you may also want to apply for permanent absent voter status. Once a voter receives permanent absent voter status, he/she will retain this status as long as he/she casts a ballot in all statewide elections.

For information on becoming a permanent absent voter, refer to your sample ballot booklet or call the Absent Voting Section at (800) 815-2666 Option 2.

I received an absentee ballot application from a political campaign. Is it legal to use?

Yes. Individuals, organizations and groups may distribute absentee ballot applications. However, they must use the standard format as specified in the California Elections Code. Election officials are not responsible for absentee ballot applications mailed to these individuals or groups. To ensure your ballot is mailed to you in a timely manner, it is recommended that you fax, mail or bring your application directly to the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk.

If I request an absentee ballot, can I change my mind and still vote at my polling place?

Yes, but please take your absentee ballot to the polling place and surrender it to the pollworkers before voting a regular precinct ballot. If you do not have your absentee ballot to surrender, you will be allowed to cast a provisional ballot at the polling place. Your provisional ballot will be counted after the elections official confirms that you did not previously vote using an absentee ballot for that election.

When can I apply for an absentee ballot?

You may request an absentee ballot:

  • As early as 60 days before an election: Except for overseas ballots, absentee ballots are mailed to applicants beginning on the first legal day to mail, which is 29 days prior to an election. The elections official cannot accept any mail applications less than 7 days (6 or less days) before an election.
  • During the final 6 days before an election: If you become ill, disabled or find that you will be away from your polling place on Election Day, you may vote an emergency absentee ballot. You can vote in person at the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk's office or send in a written/signed request for an absentee ballot authorizing another person to bring you the ballot and return it to the elections office or any polling place after you have voted.

The RR/CC begins mailing absentee ballots 29 days prior to the election.

When is the last day to return my voted absentee ballot by mail?

Absentee ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day to be counted.

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