How to tell if your mail-in ballot has been counted for the 2022 midterms

Workers sort mail-in-ballots
Workers sort mail-in-ballots at the Santa Clara County registrar of voters office in 2021 in San Jose.
(Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

The stakes are stratospheric in this year’s midterm election, with control of both chambers of Congress in play, almost every statewide office in California up for grabs, and meaningful abortion, environmental and gambling measures on the ballot.

Across the country, states are seeing unusually high numbers of mail-in ballots being cast in the weeks before election day. According to the United States Election Project, 17.1 million ballots for the Nov. 8 election had been mailed by Oct. 26, more than 10% of them in California.

If you are one of the nearly 1.9 million Californians who’ve already sent your ballot on its way, you may be wondering whether it actually reached your county’s elections office. Happily, there’s an easy way to check: The state offers a free tool that can tell you instantly whether your ballot has been received.


For the record:

2:17 p.m. Oct. 28, 2022An earlier version of this story reported that ballots had to be postmarked by Nov. 6. The deadline is Nov. 8.

The tool also can help you track the progress of the ballot you mail in or drop off in the dwindling amount of time left before the election. Ballots that arrive up to seven days after the polls close will still be counted as long as they are postmarked no later than Tuesday, Nov. 8.

To sign up for ballot tracking, go to the Where’s My Ballot page at the California secretary of state’s website, then enter your name, date of birth and ZIP Code. If you’ve already sent in your ballot, the site will tell you immediately what the status is — whether the envelope has been received, and if so, accepted or rejected.

Who is running for California governor? What are the propositions on the ballot? Here is your guide to the 2022 midterm election.

Nov. 8, 2022

In Los Angeles County, you can check to see whether your ballot has been received and your signature verified at

The Secretary of State’s system was built to follow your ballot from the moment it’s sent to you to the moment it’s accepted for counting. Once you’ve registered, you can have the system notify you when your ballot envelope is received and accepted by email, text, phone call or a combination of those. You also can limit the hours when notifications can be sent and pick which of 10 languages to use for the messages.

If your ballot envelope is rejected, it may be because a vote had already been recorded for you, there was more than one ballot in the envelope or there was a problem with your signature on the back — perhaps it was missing or it didn’t match what county elections officials had on file. Typically, the signature comparison is done first by a machine, then by hand for envelopes the machine rejects.

If your ballot is rejected because of a signature problem, county election officials are required to notify you within 24 hours and give you a second chance to verify your signature before the election results are certified. They’ll send you a form to sign, along with a postage-paid return envelope, and that new signature will be compared against your ballot envelope.


Not every voter manages to fix a signature problem, however. In the 2022 primary election, about 25,000 mail-in ballots were rejected because of mismatched signatures. Still, that was only three-tenths of a percent of the 6.7 million ballots received.

Here’s how to vote in the California midterm election, how to register, what to do if you didn’t get mail ballot or if you made a mistake on your ballot.

Nov. 1, 2022

Far more mail-in ballots — almost 70,000 — were rejected for arriving too late. The Secretary of State’s statistical breakdown doesn’t reveal how many of those were postmarked after the deadline — which would be the voter’s fault — and how many were postmarked by primary election day but delivered more than a week later — which would be the U.S. Postal Service’s fault.

The Postal Service came under withering criticism during the November 2020 election for allegedly failing to deliver tens of thousands of ballots on time in states with much tighter deadlines than California’s, although a later review by the Postal Service’s inspector general suggested that the problem was overstated.

Nevertheless, if you dropped your completed ballot into the mail and the state’s tracking tool says on election day that it still hasn’t been received, you can cast a provisional ballot in person at one of your county’s voting centers. According to the Secretary of State’s office, provisional ballots are typically counted after regular ballots and mail-in ballots to make sure that no one voted twice. If the county has a valid mail-in ballot from you, your provisional ballot will not be counted.

California’s 2022 election ballot includes races for governor, attorney general, Legislature and Congress, local contests and statewide propositions.

Nov. 1, 2022

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