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How to Use Your Vote-by-Mail Ballot

Nov. 3, 2020 election information and vote-by-mail ballot. Photo by Helen Arase


Alhambra , CA

Los Angeles County began mailing every registered voter a vote-by-mail ballot to arrive beginning Oct. 5.

In May, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order saying in addition to offering in-person voting, vote-by-mail ballots would be sent to every person registered to vote before Oct. 19 to discourage large gatherings and slow the spread of COVID-19.

There are multiple ways to cast your vote in the November election, and this vote-by-mail ballot, sometimes called an absentee ballot, can be sent to the county in three ways if you choose to use it.

Directions for filling out the ballot are included on the ballot itself. Locations to return your ballot near your residence will be included, along with an “I Voted” sticker. Look for multiple double-sided ballot cards. Use a black or blue ink pen.

Return by mail

Postage is prepaid for the U.S. Postal Service, so no stamps are required. All you have to do is seal and sign the return envelope included in the ballot packet and drop it in a mailbox or deliver to a post office. It must be postmarked by Nov. 3 and received by Nov. 20.

Remember to sign the back of the envelope, otherwise the county will mail a signature verification form – if they cannot get a signature, your vote will not count.

Deposit in a drop-box

A completed, sealed and signed ballot can be returned to one of 400 county drop-boxes. These Vote-By-Mail Ballot Drop-Off Locations are similar in design to a mailbox or donation container but operated by the county for secure ballot collection.

Each drop-box has additional security features than a mailbox or donation container and is bolted to the cement or chained in place. At the moment, the boxes will be emptied by county election workers every 72 hours; as the election approaches ballots will be picked up every 24 hours.

Alhambra’s two drop-boxes are at the Civic Center Library and Granada Park. Find another drop-off location on the county’s site.

Return in-person

The vote-by-mail ballot can be taken to any in-person polling location or Vote Center and given to election workers. As of Oct. 5, Alhambra has two planned Vote Centers, at Granada Park and the L.A. County Department of Public Works.

What to do if you do not use your mailed ballot

If you choose to vote in-person at a Vote Center, previously called a polling place, the county will cancel your vote-by-mail ballot.

Some Vote Centers will open on Oct. 24, or 11 days prior to Election Day. All Vote Centers will be available for casting votes on Oct. 30, five days before Election Day. Each day, centers will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Both of Alhambra’s Vote Centers at Granada Park and L.A. County Department of Public Works are five-day polling locations.

Find a Vote Center. See the interactive sample ballot.

If you do not register to vote before the Oct. 19 deadline, you may register at any Vote Center and cast a provisional ballot. When your registration has been verified, your vote will be counted.

If you need to make changes to your voter registration, such as address, name or party affiliation, you must re-register to vote. L.A. County suggests doing that before the registration deadline, Oct. 19.

If you damage or do not receive your ballot, contact the Registrar at 800-215-2666, option 2, or email your full name, date of birth and address by Oct. 27.

To request a vote-by-mail ballot or materials in another language, call the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s multilingual services at 800-815-2666, option 3.

Track your ballot with Where’s My Ballot.

Check your vote-by-mail registration status.

Read more general FAQs.

The Alhambra Source encourages comment on our stories. However, we do not vet comments for accuracy or endorse links to posts in the comment section. The thoughts and opinions expressed belong solely to the author of the comment.

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