Help! I want to vote but . . .

Californians may feel a little left out of the Presidential election fun (though we’ll point out the obvious: polls don’t elect the president, you still have to actually vote), still, this election is shaping up to offer some very close races on important propositions (Props 30, 34, 36, 37, 38 and possibly 32), local measures, and elected officials (including a handful of state races that have attracted over $50 million in out-of-state spending).  So, make sure you vote, encourage others to vote, and check-out our revised FAQ for answers to frequent voter conundrums.


  • I moved within my county and forgot to re-register!

No problem – go to your correct precinct, or any precinct within your county and ask for a provisional ballot.  Your provisional ballot will be verified after the election and your votes for all offices, propositions and measures to which you were entitled to vote (based on where you live) will be counted.

Unfortunately, if you moved out of your county your vote cannot be counted unless you re-registered.

  • I’m registered to Vote-by-Mail but I lost my ballot!

No problem.  Go to your voting precinct and tell the precinct captain your ballot was lost, destroyed, or eaten by your dog.  No matter what, make sure you get a provisional ballot — so long as you are not voting twice, your provisional ballot vote will be counted.

Stil have your Vote-by-Mail ballot.  That’s OK too, just surrender it at your polling place and you can vote in person.

  • My name isn’t on the polling roster at my precinct!

Not your problem.  Mistakes happen, just ask for a provisional ballot.  So long as you are in the right county (kinda hard to miss that one) your vote will count.

  • Where is my polling place again?

Checkout the California Secretary of State’s “Find Your Polling Place” page and select your county.  We have a lot of Silicon Valley (i.e., Santa Clara County) readers so here is the link to the yes, wait for it – Voter Mobile App!

  • Oh crap I’ve procrastinated and didn’t mail by Vote By Mail (aka absentee ballot) yet, can I still vote?

Yes! You have two options for getting your vote in and counted.  Some of this varies by county a bit, so check your county elections official for specifics.

  1. Return it in person to a polling place or elections office in your county before or on Election Day. Many counties will have authorized VBM ballot drop-offs locations, like City Halls for your convenience.
  2. Authorize a relative or person living in the same household as you to return the ballot on your behalf.
  • I sent in my Vote By Mail/provisional ballot but how do I know it was counted?

After that whole dangling chad incident in Florida, people have gotten awfully persnickety about knowing whether or not their ballot was counted. Well good news, there is a law for that. Under the Federal Help America Vote Act of 2002, every voter who casts a provisional ballot is entitled to find out from his/her county elections official if the ballot was counted and if not, the reason why it was not counted. Similarly, the Elections Code section 3017 provides that vote by mail voters can also track their ballots.  Again this tracking process varies by county so click here to find the appropriate website or phone number by county to track your ballot.

Voting is a privilege, a right, and a duty.  Learn the positions of the candidates, analyze the propositions and measures, and make your vote count.
  1. #1 by Carla on November 8, 2012 - 12:03 am

    this is excellent info! can we borrow next election for DAWN?! 🙂

  2. #2 by politoesq on November 11, 2012 - 3:10 pm

    Hi Carla,

    Thanks for the kind words. We are honored when groups link to us or re-publish our material – preferably with attribution – our first priority is getting quality information into the hands of voters. We think the more groups there are out there helping voters educate themselves the better!

  1. I want YOU to VOTE! « art predator

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