I do not vote by mail, and plan to vote at my polling place. Why was I sent a ballot in the mail?
You are in a "mailed ballot only" precinct. In any given election, registered voters may reside within a precinct that contains a unique set of districts that are distinct from surrounding precincts. In addition, there may be relatively few registered voters residing in that unique precinct. If a precinct contains fewer than 250 registered voters, California law allows the Registrar of Voters Office to declare these small precincts "mailed ballot only" and provide a Vote by Mail ballot to each voter along with a notice that there will be no polling place for that precinct. The notice you received also lists every Sonoma County polling place in the event you prefer to return your ballot in person on Election Day. Postage for these ballots is paid by the Registrar of Voters Office.
I lost my Vote by Mail ballot. What should I do?
You have a couple of options:
1) Before Election Day, call the Registrar of Voters Office and inform staff that you lost your ballot. Staff will inform you of your options to obtain a second Vote by Mail ballot, which may include issuing you a second Vote by Mail ballot if there is sufficient time before the election.
2) If it is Election Day, you can go to your assigned polling place and vote a provisional ballot OR go to the Registrar of Voters Office and inform staff that you lost your ballot. You will be issued a second Vote by Mail ballot. Whenever a second ballot is issued, the first ballot is voided so it cannot be counted if both are returned.
I lost my envelope to return my Vote by Mail ballot. What should I do?
You received your ballot along with a blue Vote by Mail envelope for returning your voted ballot. If the Vote by Mail envelope has been lost or misplaced, call the Registrar of Voters Office and another Vote by Mail envelope will be mailed to you if there is sufficient time to receive it before the election. If it is Election Day, go to the Registrar of Voters or the nearest polling place in Sonoma County and ask for a Vote by Mail envelope for your ballot. Complete the voter information section (please make sure it is legible) and sign and date the envelope. Drop the Vote by Mail envelope (with your ballot enclosed) into the ballot box.
Important: Do not forget to sign and date the blue Vote by Mail envelope for your ballot to count.
I sent my Vote by Mail ballot back. Can you confirm you received it?
You can check whether your Vote by Mail ballot has been received by using the Vote by Mail Ballot Status Lookup on the Registrar of Voters website. In a statewide election, you can check the Secretary of State Vote by Mail Ballot Status Lookup. You may also call the Registrar of Voters Office and staff will check for you. You may also sign up to track your ballot from start to finish, including when your ballot is received and counted, at Where's My Ballot.
I forgot to mail my Vote by Mail ballot. Will it count as long as I have it postmarked before midnight on Election Day?
Yes; Vote by Mail 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. If it is Election Day, you may hand deliver your ballot to the Registrar of Voters Office or any polling place in Sonoma County before 8:00 p.m.. If you are unable to personally return your Vote by Mail ballot, you may designate another person to return your ballot for you by any means noted above.
Important: Do not forget to sign and date the return envelope for your ballot to count.
I heard that Vote by Mail ballots are only counted if a contest is close. Is that true?
No; All valid Vote by Mail ballots are counted. Because voters are cautioned that Vote by Mail ballots returned to the polls on Election Day will not be included in election night results, this has been misunderstood to mean they are not counted at all. This rumor is likely due to a misunderstanding of how Vote by Mail ballots must be processed.
Because signatures on Vote by Mail ballots must be verified before the ballots can be counted, ballots received within 1-2 days prior to Election Day may not be counted and included in semi-final results reported on Election Night. It may take up to one week to verify all signatures on Vote by Mail ballots returned close to, or on, Election Day before the votes cast can be counted and included in the final, official results.