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Here’s everything to know about voting by mail in Los Angeles County

A sign encourages people to keep six feet apart at a polling place in Santa Clarita in May
All registered voters in California will be mailed ballots for the Nov. 3, 2020, election. At in-person voting sites, like this one in Santa Clarita for a May special election, social distancing measures will be in place.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Because of concerns about the coronavirus, Gov. Gavin Newsom last month ordered that ballots be mailed to all of California’s 20.6 million voters for the Nov. 3 general election.

Although President Trump has baselessly called mail-in ballots “dangerous,” California leaders are worried that millions of people showing up at polling places could be dangerous to people’s health as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Here’s what to know about voting by mail, from Dean Logan, who runs elections in Los Angeles County as the registrar-recorder/county clerk.

Registering to vote


You can register to vote or confirm your registration at the L.A. County registrar’s website. To verify that you’re registered, you’ll be asked for your last name, date of birth, house number and ZIP Code. You can also call (800) 815-2666.

You can register in person at libraries, post office branches or Department of Motor Vehicles offices. You can even register on election day at any vote center.

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Logan said that his office will send information about the election to each registered voter in L.A. County. The information will include how to request ballots in different languages.

If you aren’t registered and want to receive a mail-in ballot, you must register by Oct. 19, 2020.

Checking your address


You can check your address of record at the California secretary of state’s website.

After entering your name, California driver’s license or identification card number, partial Social Security number and date of birth,
you’ll find out what address you are registered at, if your voting status is active, if you’re a permanent vote-by-mail voter and your party preference.

If you need to change your address or any other information, you can re-register online.

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Whether you’re breaking quarantine to protest in the streets or looking for ways to participate safely from home, here’s how to get started.

Voting in person


In 2020, L.A. County transitioned from precinct-based polling places to vote centers, where any voter can cast their ballot.

The process in the March 3 primary was criticized for delays and long lines caused by technical issues. Logan said his office was preparing for long lines this November and officials are seeking out larger vote center locations that can accommodate more people.

“We will have to plan for social distancing,” Logan said.

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In other California counties, in-person voting may be different under rules issued by Newsom.

What else should voters know?


If you return your ballot by mail, it must be postmarked no later than election day. No postage stamps are required. You can also return it in person at any vote-by-mail drop box or at any vote center in the county any time on or before election day.

What if you forgot to sign the envelope on your ballot? You have up to eight days after election day to return an “unsigned ballot statement,” which you must sign. You can drop the form off at a voting center, a drop box, in person or via email, snail mail and fax.


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