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Voting Guide: How to Cast Your Ballot

How to Register to Vote
Registering to vote is simple. Visit IWillVote.com to find out how and where to register. You can register online in California as long as you have your California driver’s license or California identification card number and know the last four digits of your social security number. You can also have a form mailed to you or pick one up in person. The deadline to register was 15 days before Election Day, but California law allows residents to register up to and on Election Day at some early voting and polling stations. To see a list, visit Bit.ly/CAVotingLocations.

How to Vote in Person
To vote in person, visit Bit.ly/CAPollingLocations to find your designated polling place. Your assigned polling place is also printed on the back of your sample ballot pamphlet. You must be registered to vote in order to receive a designated polling place, and you must vote there, unless you fill out a provisional ballot. Many polling locations are already open for early in-person voting, and will remain so through November 3.

How to Vote by Mail
All registered voters in California will automatically receive a vote-by-mail ballot. Ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day, but it is safest to mail your ballot as soon as possible. You can track your ballot at Bit.ly/TrackMyBallotCA. Alternatively, ballots can be dropped off at official ballot boxes; see below.

How to Drop Off Your Ballot
Mail-in ballots can be dropped off free of charge at any official ballot drop-off box. To locate an official ballot drop-off box, visit Bit.ly/CABallotBox. Only use ballot boxes listed on the official website (Bit.ly/CABallotBox). The deadline to drop off ballots is 8 PM on November 3. Remember to use the provided return envelope and be sure to sign the back of the envelope.

Annika Ross and Nicole Lyons

Avoid Common Mistakes That Can Disqualify Your Ballot

Follow the instructions: Be sure to follow every instruction that comes with the ballot. Use a blue or black ink pen. Be careful not to get the ballot wet or crinkle the pages. 

Sign the envelope: Failing to sign the ballot can disqualify your vote. Likewise, using any signature beside the one the state has on file can also disqualify your vote. If your ballot is rejected, you will be notified by the county, but it is still prudent to check that you have provided all requisite signatures. 

Myths About Voting By Mail

Voting by mail has a high chance of fraud: 

This is false. Multiple news sources report that senior FBI officials say, “It would be extraordinarily difficult to change a federal election outcome through this type of fraud alone, given the range of processes that would need to be affected or compromised by an adversary at the local level.”

Voting by mail is dangerous for your ballot:

This is false. Compared to in-person voting — which uses electronic voting machines — mail-in ballots are almost more secure because there are no electronics involved in the process. However, they are both extremely secure ways of voting. There is almost no chance of your ballot getting accidentally or deliberately thrown out when voting by mail — unless of a failure to follow instructions disqualifies it, in which case you will be notified.

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