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Drop off or in person? Where to vote in the California recall election

=A woman drops off her ballot at an Official Ballot Drop Box located near the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA October 13, 2020. =
PASADENA, CA - OCTOBER 13: A woman drops off her ballot at an Official Ballot Drop Box located near the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA October 13, 2020. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
(Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times)

As California’s Sept. 14 gubernatorial recall election draws closer, it’s time to start thinking about how you will fill out your ballot and how you will submit it.

There are essentially three ways you can vote in California: in person, by mail or by putting your completed ballot into an official drop box.

All registered voters have been sent a ballot in the mail. (If you aren’t registered or need to check your registration status, you still have time to register and vote in the recall election.)

To mail your ballot back, just put it in the mail like any other envelope, hand it to your letter carrier or take it to a post office. No stamps needed. Mailed ballots must be postmarked by Sept. 14 and received by your county’s registrar by Sept. 21 to be counted. (Here’s everything you need to know about mail-in voting.)

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If you decide to vote in person, be sure to check the hours and locations of early-voting and election day vote centers. Because this election is not a regularly scheduled one, some counties have limited in-person voting centers and shortened early voting hours. On election day, polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. If you are in line at 8 p.m., don’t leave — you are still allowed to vote.

In the gubernatorial recall election, you can vote for a write-in candidate. But only certain write-in votes will be counted.

To drop off your ballot, take it to a drop box in your county (see below).

You can track your ballot’s status online once you drop it off or mail it in.

Los Angeles County

Drop off: There are more than 400 ballot drop-off boxes throughout Los Angeles County — open now through 8 p.m. Sept. 14. To find a ballot box near you, go to the L.A. County registrar website.

In person: If you’d prefer to cast your ballot in person, you can visit one of the county’s voting centers. (Unfortunately for Dodgers fans, there won’t be a voting location at the stadium this year. There’s a drop box near the Rose Bowl, though.) In-person locations have varying days and hours of operation. You can vote in person now at the county’s registrar headquarters — Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Other voting centers begin opening Sept. 4.

Orange County

Drop off: Drop-off locations are throughout the county. Boxes are available 24/7 until Sept. 14, when they close at 8 p.m.

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In person: The county has reduced the number of voting centers and their early-voting hours because this is not a regularly scheduled election. In-person voting locations can be found on the Orange County registrar website. You can cast your ballot in person Sept. 4-10 at select locations from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closer to the election, from Sept. 11-13, centers will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. And on the day of the election, voting locations will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Riverside County

Drop off: Drop-box hours vary depending on location. To find the closest box to you and verify its hours, go to the Riverside County registrar’s website.

In person: There are a total of 145 in-person voting locations throughout Riverside County. All locations will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 11-13 and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the day of the election. Other early-voting options include the registrar’s office and malls in Riverside, Temecula and Palm Desert.

What you need to know about California’s Sept. 14 recall election targeting Gov. Gavin Newsom.

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San Bernardino County

Drop off: The county has several drop-off locations open 24/7 (until polls close at 8 p.m. Sept. 14, election day).

In person: Early voting began Aug. 2 at the county’s registrar office, where you can cast your ballot until 8 p.m. Sept. 14. Other in-person voting centers and their hours of operation can be found here.

Ventura County

Drop off: Boxes throughout the county are open 24/7; locations can be found here.

In person: Ventura County’s in-person voting locations will be open Sept. 11-13 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. And on election day, Sept. 14, the polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Locations are subject to change, and it’s recommended you check the website before visiting one of the centers.

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Santa Barbara County

Drop off: All boxes are open 24/7 (with the exception of the box located in MacKenzie Park) until 8 p.m. on the day of the election. You can drive up to some of the boxes; others you’ll have to walk your ballot to the box. To find the nearest box to you, click here.

In person: Not all residents of Santa Barbara County are able to vote in person due to a limited number of polling places. If you live in an area without a polling place, you must vote by mail. To find out if you have a polling place near you, visit the Santa Barbara County registrar’s website.

Elsewhere in California

If you live in another California county, check with the registrar of voters in your county for information about drop-box locations and in-person vote centers.

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A primer on how voting by mail works, what the deadlines are, and how to track your ballot from the time it’s mailed to you to the time your vote is counted.


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