Voting in Los Angeles County is about to begin.
The L.A. County Registrar-Recorder’s Office is set to mail ballots for the Nov. 3 elections to every registered voter — not just those who have opted for mail-in voting — today. Here’s what voters need to know.
Q How do I vote by mail?
A You can fill out your ballot as soon as you receive it, and you must sign the eligibility oath and date the return envelope for your vote to count. Every signature is verified before the ballot is cleared for counting; if a signature is missing or if the signature does not match the one on file, according to the Registrar-Recorder’s Office, county officials will notify you and give you the opportunity to provide a valid signature.
Voters who want to take their time with their ballots can wait until Election Day to mail them in. Ballots don’t need postage but must be postmarked by Nov. 3 and received within 17 days of the election to be counted.
If you don’t want to drop your ballot in a mailbox, you can also drop it off at any vote-by-mail drop box location or any vote center in L.A. County.
Here are drop box locations on the Peninsula; all of them are open 24 hours:
- Palos Verdes Estates City Hall, 340 Palos Verdes Dr. West, Palos Verdes Estates, 90274
- Rancho Palos Verdes City Hall, 30940 Hawthorne Blvd., Rancho Palos Verdes, 90275
- Rolling Hills Estates City Hall, 4045 Palos Verdes Dr., North, Rolling Hills Estates, 90274
To find other South Bay drop boxes or vote centers near you, visit bit.ly/34jfjen.
No matter how you submit your ballot, it must be sealed inside the official signed and dated return envelope, which will come with the ballot.
After you submit your ballot, you can track when it gets received and counted by visiting lavote.net/av_inquiry.
Q How do I know if I’m registered?
A Ballots are being sent out automatically to all registered voters — meaning you won’t get one if you’re not registered.
If you’re not registered, you can change that online at registertovote.ca.gov. But if it’s less than 15 days before the election, you’ll need to complete what’s called Same Day Voter Registration, which can be done in-person at the county elections office or at a vote center. To find a vote center where you can complete Same Day Voter Registration, visit caearlyvoting.sos.ca.gov.
Q What if I’m temporarily living away from my permanent address?
A To receive your ballot at a temporary address, you can fill out an online form at bit.ly/3ixTpt7. It will not permanently change your voter registration, but you must fill out the form by Oct. 27, to receive a ballot at the temporary address.
Q Can I still vote in person?
A All voters can still cast a ballot in person if they prefer. You can go to any vote center in L.A. County. Some will open early on Oct. 24; the rest will open Oct. 30. During the early voting period, all vote centers will be open every day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. On Election Day, vote centers will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
To vote in person before Oct. 24, you can head to the third floor of the registrar’s headquarters at 12400 Imperial Highway, Norwalk, where early voting begins on Oct. 5.
If you do choose to vote in person, you must maintain precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus by wearing a face covering and gloves (which will be provided on-site if needed) and staying 6 feet away from others. Election workers also will wear gloves and masks and wipe and sanitize all surfaces after each voter uses a ballot-marking device.
To speed up the process of voting in-person, you can scan your personal quick check-in code, which is available online with your voter registration verification; it’s also printed on the sample ballot and vote center postcard that voters receive in the mail. Voters can show the code to an election worker at the vote center to instantly check in.
Q Is voting by mail safe?
A Yes. Although some officials on the national level have recently cast doubt on the security of voting by mail, experts agree there is little evidence to back up claims that voting by mail is insecure or leads to voter fraud.
Historically, there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud through mail-in voting. In the state’s March primary, more than 75% of California voters received a vote-by-mail ballot. The switch to providing all registered voters with a mail-in ballot for the November elections comes after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill in June requiring county officials to do so. When he signed the bill into law, Newsom cited health risks associated with voting in person amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Secretary of State Alex Padilla, the state’s chief elections officer, agreed with the move.
“Expanding vote-by-mail statewide is a necessity to protect our right to vote and our public health,” Padilla said in a statement.
“Voting by mail has worked safely and securely in California for decades. Mailing every voter a ballot for this election is simply common sense.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.