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FAQ: How To Vote In LA For The June 7 Primary Election
From registering to vote to dropping off your mail-in ballot, we've got your questions about voting in the L.A. primary election covered.
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The Voter Game Plan team is here to help you navigate the process of voting in the June 7, 2022, primary election! We’re still voting during a pandemic, so voting by mail is definitely encouraged, and just as in 2020, every registered voter in California should automatically receive a vote-by-mail ballot.

Everything you need as you prep for the June 7 Primary Election — study our interactive voter guides, ask questions, print your ballot and more.

If you prefer to vote in person, you should have plenty of options.

For this election, San Diego, Riverside, and Ventura counties join Los Angeles and Orange counties as Voter's Choice Act counties. That means more days (and ways) to cast a ballot. If you vote in a Voter's Choice Act county, you can vote in person at any vote center in your county. You can vote as early as May 9 at the registrar's office in Norwalk (if you vote in L.A. County) and at the registrar's office in Santa Ana (if you vote in Orange County). Other vote centers in L.A. County and Orange County will open on May 28. At vote centers, you can get help in multiple languages, use accessible voting machines, replace a lost or damaged ballot, register to vote, make changes to your voter registration and more.

And Voter Game Plan is here to help you navigate the process with a guide, some great conversations we’ve had recently with some of the candidates for Board of Supervisors and L.A. mayor, and a quiz to help you identify which mayoral candidates’ views most align with your own (available soon).

If you need to contact your local county elections office, here's a handy list of contact information.

We've also answered some frequently asked questions about the voting process below. We'll be updating the FAQ as we answer more, so check back often.

If you have a question that's not being addressed, ask us! You can submit your question below and the Voter Game Plan team will do our best to get you an answer.

What questions do you have about the June 7 primary election?
Whether it's about how to register to vote or making sense of a candidate's platform, we're here to help you get ballot ready.

The basics

Am I eligible to vote?

According to the California Secretary of State, you are eligible to vote in California if you are:

  • A U.S. citizen living in California
  • At least 18 years old on Election Day (June 7, 2022)
  • Not currently serving a state or federal prison term for a felony
  • Not currently found mentally incompetent to vote by a court

Am I registered to vote?

You can check to see if you are registered on the California Secretary of State's website. You can also call 1-800-345-VOTE (8683) or email elections@sos.ca.gov. Be sure details such as your name and mailing address are up to date. If you need to update anything, re-register.

You can register to vote here.

You may be registered and not even realize it. Since the New Motor Voter Act launched in 2018, eligible adults who visit the DMV for a new license or other services are automatically registered to vote, unless they opt out.

Since 2017, 16- and 17-year olds have been able to pre-register to vote. Eligible teens who pre-register will have their registration activated when they turn 18. You can pre-register here.

When is the deadline to register?

May 23, 2022, is the deadline to register online for the June 7 primary election. However, if you miss that deadline, you can still do same-day registration at any vote center in your county, all the way up to and including Election Day.

If you register to vote after May 23, that means you will register "conditionally" and will cast a provisional ballot. Provisional ballots are placed in pink envelopes, secured for processing, and counted after election officials have confirmed your voter information. Learn more about provisional voting in L.A. County.

For more information on registering to vote, contact your local county elections office.

How do I vote if I'm experiencing homelessness?

You can still register to vote if you are experiencing homelessness. When you register, you will see an option to select "I do not have a street address." It will allow you to list your cross streets, city and county instead of a residential address. Enter a location near where you've been staying. This is needed so that election officials can assign you a precinct. You do need to provide a mailing address, but this can be anywhere that you can reliably receive mail. Check out the FAQ on voting by unhoused communities reporter Ethan Ward for more details.


Voting by mail

How do I get a vote-by-mail ballot?

County elections officials mail vote-by-mail ballots to all active registered voters. To be sure you get yours, first check to be sure that you are registered to vote by May 23 and that your mailing address is correct. If you are all set, you should receive a ballot in the mail. Next, watch for your ballot to come in the mail. Your county elections office will begin mailing ballots by May 9. To see if your ballot has been mailed out, use the Where’s My Ballot? tracking tool. If your ballot doesn't show up by the week of May 16, contact your county registrar. The last day to request a new vote-by-mail ballot is May 31.

How do I cast my vote-by-mail ballot?

You have options:

  • Mail it in, no postage required. Just make sure it's postmarked on or by June 7, 2022, and arrives within 7 days of the election. If you’re concerned it won’t be postmarked or arrive in time, you may want to choose these other options.
  • Turn it in at a vote center or polling place in your county by 8 p.m. on June 7, 2022.
  • Drop it in an official drop box in your county by 8 p.m. on June 7, 2022. Avoid fake drop boxes. Here is what official drop boxes in L.A. County and Orange County look like. 
  • Designate another person to drop it off for you — as long as that person doesn't get paid to pick up ballots. There's a space on your ballot envelope to write the name of the person you've chosen to turn in your vote.

Be sure to sign your ballot envelope with the signature that matches what the registrar has on file (probably your ID signature). Again, no worries about stamps! Postage is free for all mail-in ballots in the state of California.

Find an L.A. County vote center near you.
Find an L.A. County drop box near you.
Find an Orange County drop box near you.
Find an Orange County vote center near you.

How do I fill out the envelope for my vote-by-mail ballot?

Here's a handy guide for that.

Note: this is the L.A. County envelope. Let us know if you need help with a different county.

Should I worry if my vote-by-mail ballot isn't here yet?

County registrars will begin sending out vote-by-mail ballots to all registered voters beginning May 9, 2022.

To see if your ballot has been mailed out, use the Where’s My Ballot? tracking tool.

If you are registered to vote, and your address is up to date, but you have not received your ballot by the week of May 16, it's a good idea to contact your local county elections office to make sure nothing is amiss. The last day to request a new vote-by-mail ballot is May 31.

If all else fails, and you're registered in a Voter's Choice Act county, you can go to any vote center in your county to vote in person.

I used a pencil to fill out my vote-by-mail ballot. Is that OK?

Using a pen with blue or black ink is preferred. However, if you mistakenly use a pencil, your vote will still be counted. If you signed your envelope in pencil, it might get flagged as a signature issue, but if that happens, you should be notified by mail (and the Where's My Ballot? tracking tool if you sign up for texts) and have a chance to fix it.

I made a mistake on my vote-by-mail ballot. What do I do?

You have some options:

You can draw a single line across your mistake and make your correction.

If you mess up before the May 31 deadline, you can request a new vote-by-mail ballot. You can request a replacement vote-by-mail ballot in Orange County here. We'll have a link to request a new ballot online in L.A. County once that link is available. You can also contact your county’s election office.

In L.A. County and Orange County, or any other Voter's Choice Act county (these now include San Diego, Riverside and Ventura counties), you can go into any vote center in your county to get a new ballot and vote in person. You don't have to bring your vote-by-mail ballot — electronic check-in and online verification with a central voter database lets election workers print you a replacement ballot right there at the vote center.

How do I find and use a drop box?

Seal and sign your ballot and deposit it in an official drop box in your county before 8 p.m. on Election Day (June 7, 2022). Drop boxes should be available starting May 9 or 10. Make sure to drop your ballot in an official box and avoid fake ones. Here is what official drop boxes in L.A. County and Orange County look like.

Find an L.A. County drop box near you.
Find an Orange County drop box near you.

If I receive a vote-by-mail ballot, can I vote in person instead?

You definitely can. If you live in a Voter's Choice Act county, you don't even have to turn in your vote-by-mail ballot when you go to the voting center. It’s not required because the electronic check-in process is designed to void an outstanding ballot to ensure you don't vote multiple times. If you live in a non-Voter's Choice Act county, you should bring your ballot with you when you vote in person, just in case.

Find an L.A. County vote center near you.
Find an Orange County vote center near you.

What about accessible voting by mail?

There are options. Remote Accessible Vote by Mail (RAVBM) allows you to access and mark your ballot privately with your own assistive device. You can also designate someone to help you with your ballot (there are some rules around that here). Drop boxes should be accessible 24/7. In L.A. County, the envelope also features paper holes that you can feel to help guide your hand to the signature box. Learn more about accessible voting in L.A. County and Orange County.


Voting in person

Where do I go to vote in person?

You can vote in person at any polling place or vote center in your county. You can vote as early as May 9 at the registrar's office in Norwalk if you live in L.A. County, and at the registrar's office in Santa Ana if you live in Orange County. Other vote centers in L.A. County and Orange County open on May 28. You cannot vote at a polling place or vote center in a county other than the one in which you are registered to vote. At vote centers, you'll be able to get help in multiple languages, use accessible voting machines, replace a lost or damaged ballot, register to vote, make changes to your voter registration and more.

Find an L.A. County vote center near you.
Find an Orange County vote center near you.

Can I vote in a county other than where I'm registered?

No. You can only vote in the county in which you are registered.

L.A. County and Orange County election officials say that if you do drop off your vote-by-mail ballot at a county other than your own, they will forward your ballot to the correct county.

You can mail your ballot from anywhere in the U.S., no postage required. Just be sure it will be postmarked on or before Election Day (June 7, 2022) and will arrive within 7 days of that.

What COVID safety measures are in place?

You can access L.A. County’s “Safe Election Plan” here. Wearing a mask is strongly encouraged. Gloves, masks and hand sanitizer will be available to you. Booths, machines and surfaces will be sanitized frequently. They also share some time-saving tips to limit how long you’re in there, such as bringing your sample ballot with you to speed up your check-in.

What accessible voting options are available?

Vote centers offer accessible voting machines, curbside voting, ballot-marking devices, step-by-step assistance and more. Learn more about accessible voting in L.A. County and Orange County.

What is a provisional ballot?

A provisional ballot is a ballot you cast when additional information about you needs to be verified — for example, if there is an error with your registration or if the registrar needs to verify that you are not voting twice. Provisional ballots are placed in pink envelopes, secured for processing, and then counted after election officials have confirmed your voter information. Learn more about provisional voting in L.A. County.


How votes are counted

Do I have to vote on everything for my vote to be counted?

Nope! The number of races or ballot measures you weigh in on is entirely up to you. Your ballot will be counted regardless of how many items you vote on.

How can I make sure my ballot was received and counted?

Use the California Secretary of State’s Where's My Ballot? tracking tool. Counties also have tracking tools:

Be vigilant. Mail-in ballots do get rejected — and there are a few main reasons:

  • The signature on your ballot envelope doesn't match the signature on file at the registrar's office. Be sure yours matches. (It’s probably the signature on your ID.)
  • You forgot to sign the ballot envelope. Be sure to sign your envelope.
  • Your ballot arrives too late to be counted, or it was sent too late (it's postmarked after Election Day). Be sure your ballot is postmarked or dropped off by 8 p.m. on June 7, 2022, and will arrive within 7 days of the election.  

In a study of three counties, the California Voter Foundation found an average of 1.7 percent of vote-by-mail ballots have been rejected since 2010 — and younger voters were more likely to have their ballots rejected.

In the March 3, 2020 primary, about 1.5% were rejected, representing more than 100,000 ballots.

In California you have a chance to "cure" your ballot if it's flagged for a missing signature or signature mismatch. That means your county registrar has to alert you to the problem. If your ballot is flagged for having a missing signature or a signature mismatch, you should be notified by mail and have a chance to fix the issue. Consider signing up for Where's My Ballot? text updates. That system should also notify you if there is an issue.

When does my vote-by-mail ballot get counted?

L.A. County election officials have said their goal is to include all vote-by-mail ballots received and processed by the Monday before the election (June 6) in the first count, which starts after the polls close at 8 p.m. on Election Day. That means the sooner you turn your ballot in, the better chance the county will process it early.

If your vote-by-mail ballot is not processed by the Monday before the election, it will be verified and counted in the 30-day period after the election when election workers process all votes that were not in the initial count.

Make sure your ballot is postmarked on or by Election Day (June 7, 2022) or dropped off at a secure ballot drop box or vote center in your county by 8 p.m. on Election Day — or it will not be counted.

How long will it take for results to come in?

It takes a long time to count ballots in the most populous state in the nation. We have more than 22 million registered voters in California, and the election system is designed to maximize participation, not speedy tabulation.

Vote-by-mail ballots that are postmarked on or by June 7 must be counted if they arrive up to 7 days after the election. County election staff also spend a lot of time verifying signatures and checking conditional registrations and provisional ballots.

Semi-final results will be announced on Election Night (June 7), and certified election results are tentatively scheduled for July 1.


I still have questions

Who do I contact if I run into problems at the polls?

The California Secretary of State has a voting hotline that you can call to report any issues: (800) 345-VOTE. You can also contact your local county elections office.

How do I get in touch with my local elections office?

Find contact information for your local elections office here.

How do I get in touch with KPCC/LAist?

Ask us anything below and our Voter Game Plan team will do our best to get you an answer.

What questions do you have about the June 7 primary election?
Whether it's about how to register to vote or making sense of a candidate's platform, we're here to help you get ballot ready.

Updated May 19, 2022 at 1:46 PM PDT
Note: This story was updated to include additional questions.