What you need to know to vote in California's 2022 General Election
California is holding its general election on Nov. 8. With the voting season upon us once more, it can be daunting to understand the “who, what, where, when and how” of voting. KPBS spoke with the San Diego County Registrar of Voters and researched answers to frequently asked voter questions.
What is the statewide general election about? And what's on the ballot?
The statewide election is a chance for voters to make the final choice among the top two vote-getters in the primary election for elected offices — including governor, state Assembly and Congress. Voters may also decide the runoffs for nonpartisan offices that have not been decided in the primary.
And voters will weigh in on statewide propositions and local measures on the ballot.
For the full list of races and candidates on your ballot, visit the KPBS interactive guide.
How do I register to vote?
You can register to vote or check your registration status online on the California Online Voter Registration page. In California, the last day to register to vote for any election is 15 days before election day. For the Nov. 8 election, the deadline is Oct. 24.
The San Diego County Registrar of Voters is also doing voter registration drives at events throughout the county.
"Now that we have same-day registration, folks can show up at any vote center up until Election Day to register and vote on the same day," Registrar of Voters Cynthia Paes said.
➡ To register online you will need the following:
- Your state driver's license or identification card number
- The last four digits of your social security number
- Your date of birth
How can I vote by mail?
All active registered voters will begin to receive vote-by-mail ballots on Oct. 8. And you can start dropping off your ballot on Oct. 10, when early voting begins.
➡ 'Inactive' registered voters
Voters will be given an inactive status when a "county elections official receives information (for example, from the post office) indicating the voter has moved out of state or mail is returned undeliverable without a forwarding address."
You can submit your ballot by:
- Mailing your ballot to a county elections official.
- Vote-by-mail ballots that are mailed must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received by your county elections office no later than seven days after Election Day.
- If you are not sure your vote-by-mail ballot will arrive in time, bring it to any Voter Center or ballot drop-off location between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Election Day.
- Vote-by-mail ballots that are personally delivered must be delivered no later than the close of polls at 8 p.m. on Election Day.
- Dropping your ballot off at a drop-off location or into a ballot drop box in the county.
- Vote-by-mail ballots that are personally delivered to a ballot drop-off location must be delivered no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day.
- Authorizing someone to return the ballot on your behalf.
- Anyone may return your ballot for you, as long as they do not get paid on a per-ballot basis. In order for your ballot to be counted, you must fill out the authorization section found on the outside of your ballot envelope.
What if I want to vote in person?
The Registrar of Voters is encouraging voters to cast their ballots early. Ballots can be dropped off at the Registrar of Voters' office in Kearny Mesa starting Oct. 10. Some vote centers will open for early voting starting Oct. 29.
"With this election, we will have 11 consecutive days of early voting," Paes said. "We will have 39 locations opening across the county starting Saturday, Oct. 29."
An additional 200-plus vote centers will be opened starting Nov. 5. All vote centers will open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Election Day. On Election Day, they will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Locations will offer voter registration upon arrival, replacement ballots, accessible voting machines and language assistance to those who need it. Voters are not limited or assigned to any vote centers. They can vote at any vote center in the county, Paes said.
"Don't wait until Election Day," she said. "You're getting your mail ballots nearly a month in advance. Act on that mail ballot or vote early at any of our vote centers."
When will voter guides be sent out?
The Registrar of Voters will start sending those out starting Sept. 29.
"We will start with the larger quantities of pamphlets, meaning those pamphlets that cover larger portions of the county will be mailed first," Paes said. "Each day, more pamphlets will enter the mail stream until all have been mailed."
All voters should receive them by Oct. 7, she said.
For KPBS' nonpartisan guide, visit the KPBS Voter Hub.