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Vote-by-Mail FAQs

When will vote-by-mail ballots be mailed to voters for the November 3, 2020 Presidential General Election?

Ballots will begin to be mailed on October 5, 2020. You can expect to receive your vote-by-mail shortly after this date.


I am registered to vote in Orange County and have received my ballot by mail, but I work in another county. Can I drop my ballot off at a Vote Center or ballot drop box that is not located in the county that I am registered?

Yes. You can drop off your voted ballot at any Vote Center or ballot drop box in the State of California, by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day. Your ballot will be mailed to the county identified on the return envelope.


I don’t want to vote my vote-by-mail ballot because I heard that they don’t get counted. Is this true?

No. All valid vote-by-mail ballots are counted in every election in California, regardless of the outcome or closeness of any race.


What is the deadline for me to mail my vote-by-mail ballot back to the Orange County Registrar of Voters’ office?

All ballots returned by mail must be post-marked on or before Election Day, November 3, 2020,  and be received by the election’s official no later than 17 days after the election, November 20, 2020.


What is the deadline to update my mailing address to receive a vote-by-mail ballot for this election?

The deadline to update your address is 15 days before Election Day, October 19, 2020.


Can I return my vote-by-mail ballot by an express delivery service like UPS, FedEx, or USPS Priority Mail?

Yes. Please make sure to include the original vote-by-mail ballot and return envelope with your signature.


How can I request a replacement vote-by-mail ballot?

You can request a replacement ballot using this link: https://ocvote.com/vlt/ or by calling (714) 567-7600. You can also go to any Vote Center in Orange County to obtain a replacement vote-by-mail ballot.


What is the deadline to request a replacement vote-by-mail ballot for mailing for the November 3, 2020 Presidential General Election?

The deadline to have a replacement vote-by-mail ballot mailed to you is October 27, 2020. If you require a replacement vote-by-mail ballot after this date, you can obtain one in-person at an Orange County Vote Center or by visiting the Registrar of Voters’ office at 1300 S. Grand Ave., Building C, Santa Ana, CA  92705.


Can I request a replacement vote-by-mail ballot to take home at a Vote Center?

Yes, you can obtain a replacement ballot for yourself to take home from any Orange County Vote Center.


Can I request a replacement vote-by-mail ballot for someone else at a Vote Center?

No, you can obtain an emergency ballot for someone other than yourself with a completed application signed by the voter beginning October 28th – November 3rd only at the Orange County Registrar of Voters, 1300 S. Grand Ave., Building C, Santa Ana CA  92705. This ballot cannot be mailed back through the U.S. Postal Service.


What are my options if I made a mistake on my vote-by-mail ballot? Can I just cross it out and circle the one I want? Or do I need to request a replacement vote-by-mail ballot?

You can request a replacement vote-by-mail ballot by calling the Orange County Registrar of Voters’ office at (714) 567-7600 or by visiting an Orange County Vote Center. You can also cross out the contest for which you would like to reflect a different selection and mark the correct box. However, do not initial it or put any identifying marks on your ballot.


Why does it say “Permanent Vote-by-Mail” on my registration status?

Being registered under the Voter’s Choice Act, you will have the option to vote at home or in-person. If you see “Permanent Vote-by-Mail” on your status, you are set to receive the official ballot by mail. You still have the option of voting at a Vote Center or at the Orange County Registrar of Voters’ office if you prefer to vote in-person.


Will my vote-by-mail ballot show my party affiliation on it?

No, your party affiliation will not be reflected on your vote-by-mail ballot.


How can I change my mailing address for my vote-by-mail ballot?

You may contact the Orange County Registrar of Voters’ office at (714) 567-7600 to update your mailing address. You do not need to re-register to update your mailing address.


When does my vote-by-mail ballot get counted?

Ballots returned via a secure drop box or through the mail, start processing as soon as they are received in our office. The initial results on Election Night at 8:05 p.m. reflect  the majority of the vote-by-mail ballots that have been received in our office prior to Election Day.


What happens when my vote-by-mail envelope is damaged or torn?

You may contact the Orange County Registrar of Voters office at (714) 567-7600 to request a replacement envelope on or before October 27, 2020. If you need a replacement envelope after October 27, 2020, you can request a replacement envelope at any in-person Voter Center in Orange County or visit the Orange County Registrar of Voters’ office.


What should I do if my signature has changed since I last updated my voter registration?

To ensure your signature is up to date, you will need to complete a new California Voter Registration form. You can pick-up the California Voter Registration form at the Post Office, DMV, library, or any City Hall. You can also register online at https://www.ocvote.com/registration/register-to-vote. If you would like a California Voter Registration form mailed to you, simply call the Orange County Registrar of Voters’ office at (714) 567-7600; a form will be mailed to you.


I won’t be at my home address when the vote-by-mail ballots are mailed out; can I have my ballot mailed to me at a different address?  

Yes, we can mail your ballot to any address within the U.S., and to most countries outside of the U.S.  If you need your ballot mailed to a different mailing address than what we have on record, you can update your address from this link: https://www.ocvote.com/registration/keeping-your-registration-up-to-date/changes-to-your-voting-record. You can also call our office at (714) 567-7600.


Do I have to bring the vote-by-mail ballot that I received in the mail to a Vote Center if I want to vote in person?  

No. You do not need to bring the vote-by-mail ballot you received in the mail in order to vote in-person at a Vote Center. Once you have voted at the Vote Center, your original vote-by-mail ballot will be voided.


What is the deadline for me to return my ballot to a ballot drop box or Vote Center?

The deadline to hand-deliver your ballot is Election Day, November 3, 2020.


How can I get my ballot to you if I am unable to return my ballot?

You can use your vote-by-mail envelope to authorize someone to return it for you. You will have this person print and sign their name on the envelope and indicate his/her relationship to you.


Is there another option available for me if I did not receive my vote-by-mail ballot and I am unable to vote in-person at a Vote Center?

Yes, you may vote a Remote Accessible Vote-by-Mail ballot that allows you to access your ballot electronically by visiting ocvote.com/ravbm. You will be able to download your electronic ballot, mark it on your computer or your own assistive device, then print and return the ballot in an envelope following the instructions included with the ballot.  If you have any questions on this process, please call the Registrar of Voters’ office at (714) 567-7600.