How to Vote by Mail

Lynda Roberts, Registrar of Voters, Elections

Voting by mail is safe, secure, and simple to do. These are the steps to voting by mail:

  1. Register and check your status:
    • If you are not already registered to vote, register online
    • Check your voter status on the Secretary of State's website My Voter Status page to make sure you are an active registered voter and that all of your registration information is current.
  2. Sign up for ballot tracking (Optional): sign up at Wheres My Ballot? and receive notifications about the status of your ballot at all stages.
  3. Check your mailbox:
    • Look for your County Voter Information Guide mailed out 40 days before the election. Allow 5-7 days for arrival time.
    • Vote-by-mail ballots begin to be sent out 29 days ahead of the election. Allow 5-7 days for arrival time.
  4. Once you have your ballot:
    • Use your County Voter Information Guide to review the contests on the ballot
    • Mark your choices on your ballot by following the instructions provided
    • Seal the ballot inside the yellow return envelope provided
    • SIGN AND DATE the outside of the yellow envelope where indicated. Your signature must compare to the signature we have on file
    • Wear your ‘I Voted’ sticker included in your vote-by-mail packet
  5. Return your ballot: the earlier you send your ballot back, the better. The Elections Department processes ballots that arrive early and those votes are counted toward election night results. If we do not receive your ballot before Election Day, your vote will be processed but in the days following the election.
    • How to send in your ballot:
      1. Mail your voted ballot. Your return envelope is self-addressed, and postage paid, so just place it in the mailbox. Make sure it is mailed with enough time to be post marked on or before Election Day.
      2. Drop off:
        • Using one of the designated drop boxes in Marin County, locations and times vary by election. See a List of Drop Boxes
        • At one of the vote centers in Marin County, locations and times vary by election. See a List of Vote Centers
        • If it is a statewide election, at any county election’s office, polling place, vote center, or drop box in California