Election day is coming up. Here’s what to expect and what you can still do

A woman drops off her ballot in an official ballot box in Huntington Park.
The 2020 election is just days away. Do you know where your ballot is?
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

After approximately 10,000 years of the 2020 presidential campaign cycle, election day, Tuesday, is almost here.

Already, more than 80 million ballots have been cast. Midway through October, more than 1 million had already arrived in California.

But it’s not over till it’s over (which is not necessarily going to be Tuesday, by the way). Here’s what you can still do to make a difference, and what to expect once the big day gets here.

Research what’s on your ballot

Still need to fill out your ballot? You’ve got this last weekend to buckle down and do some research. You don’t have to vote in every race on the ballot. If all you care about is the presidential contest, you can fill in that bubble and leave the rest blank. Here’s our guide to what’s on the ballot, and the L.A. Times editorial board’s endorsements.

Drop off your ballot or vote in person

The United States Postal Service says mail-in ballots sent via regular mail might not make it before election day. A better bet: Drop yours off at a dedicated ballot box, or vote in person.

If you didn’t register to vote in California, you can still cast a ballot. California has conditional voter registration — sometimes called “same-day voter registration” — which lets you register up until the day of the election at your county elections office or a community vote center. You can then cast a ballot, which will be processed and counted after county election officials verify your registration.


Here’s our interactive map where you can enter your address and find your nearest ballot box and voting center.

Track your ballot

Sign up for California’s ballot tracker to get alerts about when your ballot is received and counted.

Help your friends and family vote

You’ve earned that “I Voted” sticker. Share the love by checking in with your loved ones. Reach out directly, or make a post on social media offering whatever help you feel comfortable giving — helping to research propositions, driving someone to the polls or helping them find an official ballot drop box.

Volunteer for your candidate or party

It’s not too late to do some phone banking or texting. Search “(candidate) phone banking” or “volunteer for (candidate)” to find information on how you can still help. It will probably feel a little bit more productive than spending the weekend doomscrolling.

Ask your questions about the 2020 election here. We’ll do our best to answer.

Nov. 3, 2020

Know what to expect on election day

We can’t see the future and tell you exactly how election day will go or what happens after. But we can tell you how our politics team plans to cover it.

As for voting, states have until Dec. 8 to count up all the votes and declare a winner — and there is a legal system in place for what happens if a state’s outcome is still disputed at that point. If the electoral college is deadlocked, we might wind up with President Pelosi, though the odds of that happening are slim.

If you feel like you just can’t wait for the election to be over, you aren’t alone — scientifically speaking, everything is terrible now. The end is in sight.

Until then, take a few deep breaths, and perhaps consider reading through our 13-step guide to staying sane.