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Sorry, You Can't Change Your Vote After It's Cast

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Say you cast your vote early. Yay, democracy! Then your candidate drops out of the race. What now?

Sorry, there are no do-overs.

We've had quite a few people ask our Voter Game Plan team whether they could change their vote since their candidate is no longer in the running. Tom Steyer, Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg announced in recent days they were suspending their presidential campaigns.

The short answer is: no. Once your vote is cast, it's cast. The California Secretary of State confirmed this on Twitter on Monday.

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But let's say, hypothetically, that you dropped your vote-by-mail ballot in a mailbox yesterday. Then you tried to vote in person today. In all likelihood, your vote-by-mail ballot wouldn't have been received yet. What happens then? Can you "beat" your vote-by-mail ballot to the punch?

The first vote received and processed is the one that will count. So if your in-person vote is processed first, that's the vote you'll have. But whenever your vote-by-mail ballot comes in, it'll flag you as having attempted to double-vote, in violation of the oath you signed on your ballot that you've only cast one vote.

The tangible consequences of this aren't entirely clear, but election officials have said definitively: Don't try to double vote.

Have more questions our Voter Game Plan team can answer? Here's where you can ask us, or check out everything else we've already answered.

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