• I Voted StickersPermanent Vote by Mail, Military and Overseas Voters, Mailed Ballot Only Elections

Vote by Mail

Overview

If you are not able to vote at your polling place on Election Day, or simply prefer the convenience of voting by mail, you may apply for a Vote by Mail ballot.

California law allows official ballots to be mailed to Vote by Mail voters beginning 29 days before an election.

Permanent Vote by Mail Voters

California law permits you to choose to become a Permanent Vote by Mail voter when you complete your Vote by Mail application or re-register to vote.

When You Request Permanent Vote by Mail Status

You will be added to the list of voters who are automatically sent an official ballot for future elections.

Loss of Vote by Mail Voter Status

You will remain on the list of Permanent Vote by Mail voters unless you fail to return your Vote by Mail ballot for 4 consecutive statewide general elections:

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Voters in Mailed Ballot Precincts

In any given election, registered voters may reside within a precinct that contains a unique set of districts distinct from surrounding precincts. There may be relatively few registered voters residing in that unique precinct.

If a precinct contains less than 250 registered voters, California law allows the Registrar of Voters Office to provide:

  • Vote by Mail ballot to each voter.
  • Notice that there will be no polling place for that precinct.

    The notice must inform voters of the 2 nearest polling places, in the event the voter wishes to return the ballot in person on Election Day.

Return postage is prepaid by the Registrar of Voters Office.

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Information For Voters Who Are:

  • Temporarily Living Overseas
  • Indefinitely Living Overseas
  • In the Military (including eligible spouses and dependents)

Information for Military and Overseas Voters

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To Become a Vote By Mail Voter

All completed applications must be mailed, faxed, or returned in person to the Registrar of Voters office.

  • Print the and complete the County of Sonoma Application Form (PDF: 48 kB).
  • or, Remove and complete the application printed on the back cover of the County Voter Information Guide that was mailed to you.
  • or, Write a Letter and include the following information:
    1. The Election for which you are requesting a ballot
    2. Your Name
    3. Sonoma County Residence Address
    4. Mailing Address (if different)
    5. Your Signature
  • or, Apply In Person at the Registrar of Voters Office

    You may obtain and complete an application form at the Registrar of Voters Office.

    You will receive your ballot before you leave.

    Once you receive your ballot, you may:

    • Vote your ballot at the Registrar of Voters Office.
    • Take it with you & return it by mail using the prepaid postage envelope
  • or, Send Someone on Your Behalf to the Registrar of Voters Office

    If you are unable to personally deliver your Vote by Mail application, you may choose to send an eligible representative (must be 16 years of age or older) to deliver your completed application form for you:

    • Spouse
    • Child
    • Parent
    • Grandparent
    • Grandchild
    • Sibling
    • Person residing in your same household

    The representative will be given your Vote by Mail ballot to deliver back to you.

  • or, Visit California Secretary of State: Apply to Vote By Mail to print an application.
    • Carefully read and complete an application form.
    • Return the completed application to the Registrar of Voters Office

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Deadline for Requesting a Vote by Mail Ballot

The last day to request a Vote by Mail ballot by mail is 7 days prior to an election, after which Vote by Mail ballots are available only by applying in person at the Registrar of Voters Office.

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Voting and Returning Vote by Mail Ballots

Voting Your Ballot

  • It is important to know how to properly mark your ballot. Carefully read your ballot, as it will tell you how many votes you may cast for each contest. Ballot reading machines “see” the marks you make and tabulate your votes
  • Use a blue or black pen only – no other colored ink or pencils!
  • Marking more voting spaces than allowed is called an “overvote,” and none of your votes for that contest will be counted. Conversely, if you mark fewer voting spaces than allowed, it is an “undervote”. However all votes for that contest will be counted
  • You are not required to vote on every contest on your ballot
  • Do not sign the ballot(s), make any stray marks, or attempt to erase/change a vote, if you make a mistake contact the Registrar of Voters Office for Instructions

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After Voting Your Ballot

  1. Insert the voted ballot(s) into the blue Vote by Mail envelope
  2. Sign and date the Oath under the security flap on the envelope
    All signatures on Vote by Mail ballots are verified; your ballot will not be counted if you do not sign the Oath 

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Returning Your Vote by Mail Ballot

Vote by Mail ballots may be returned:

  • To the Registrar of Voters Office by mail 
    • Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked before or on Election Day and delivered to the Registrar of Voter office via USPS or a bona fide private mail delivery company no later than three days after Election Day
  • In person to the Registrar of Voters office or any polling place in Sonoma County on Election Day no later than 8:00 PM
  • To one of our 24 hour drop boxes up to Election Day:
    • Santa Rosa Veteran’s Memorial Building
      1351 Maple Avenue, Santa Rosa
    • Petaluma Veteran’s Memorial Building
      1094 S. Petaluma Boulevard, Petaluma

Important InformationNote: All ballots must be returned in the blue Vote by Mail envelope that has been signed and dated by the voter. By law, the signature on the envelope must be verified against the signature on the voter’s registration card. You may sign your name in pen or pencil. 

If you are unable to personally return your Vote by Mail ballot, you may authorize any person to return your blue Vote by Mail envelope.

Important InformationImportant! Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked before or on Election Day and delivered to the Registrar of Voters office via USPS or a bona fide private mail delivery company no later than three days after Election Day.

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Voting at a Polling Place

Vote by Mail voters may vote at polling places on Election Day.

A poll worker will ask you to surrender the ballot you received in the mail (turn it in to the poll worker) before issuing you a ballot at the polling place.

If you are unable to surrender your Vote by Mail ballot, you will be issued a provisional ballot.

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Signature Missing or Mismatched

Signature Missing

If you did not sign your envelope, we cannot count your ballot without your signature. You should receive an Unsigned Ballot Statement in the mail. You may complete the statement and return it in the envelope provided, or come into the Registrar of Voters office and sign your ballot envelope. Read the instructions carefully before completing the statement. Failure to follow the instructions may cause your ballot not to be counted. 

Important You must complete and return the form according to the instructions in order to have your ballot counted. If you did not receive, or have lost your Unsigned Ballot Statement, print this form, sign it, and return it according to the instructions, or call our office.  Unsigned Ballot Statement (PDF: 75 kB)

Signature Mismatch

If the signature on your Vote by Mail envelope does not match the signature on file with the Registrar of Voters office, you should receive Signature Verification Statement in the mail. You may complete the statement and return it in the envelope provided, or come into the Registrar of Voters office and verify your signature. Read the instructions carefully before completing the statement. Failure to follow the instructions may cause your ballot not to be counted.

Important You must  complete and return the form according to the instructions in order to have your ballot counted. If you did not receive, or have lost your Signature Verification Statement, print this form, sign it, and return it according to the instructions, or call our office. 

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Contact Information

Deva Marie Proto

County Clerk-Recorder-Assessor-Registrar of Voters

Business Hours
Monday – Friday
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Addresses

Registrar of Voters

435 Fiscal Drive

Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.4657357, -122.7251823
Mailing Address
PO Box 11485
Santa Rosa, CA 95406-1485
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Vote by Mail Forms

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