election guide

Voting Guide: What San Diego Voters Should Know About California's 2022 Primary Election

From how to vote and when to what you'll see on your ballot this year, here are answers to your Primary Election-related questions

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Yet another election is upon San Diego voters, who will be asked to narrow down pools of candidates to the two top vote-getters, which will then face off in November. As you look over your ballot, you may have some questions. So, NBC 7 put together this guide answering some of the most common election-related questions to prepare you to vote in California's 2022 Primary Election.

Here's what you should know:

When is the California Primary Election?

Election Day for the 2022 California Primary Election is on June 7, 2022, but San Diego County voters have the option of submitting their ballots early by either using drop boxes across the county or by voting at an official Vote Center, hundreds of which are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through June 6. All polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.

What's a Primary Election?

Different states use primary elections for different purposes but in California, the Primary Election is used to determine who will be on the Nov. 8, 2022, General Election ballot.

In June, voters will see a full list of candidates vying for a spot on the November ballot, but only the top two vote-getters, regardless of party preference, will move on to the general election.

There are some races that could be determined outright during the primary election but those are rare and typically only for special election races (California has one special election this go-around). The majority of races will head to November.

Am I registered to vote?

If you think you may have registered to vote before, or want to make changes to your voting preferences, check your registration status here.

If you've recently moved or changed your name, you must re-register to vote by completing a new voter registration form.

May 23 was the last day to register online or by mail to vote in the state of California. But, if you missed the deadline, not to worry. There is still a way to vote in the June 7 primary. (We'll explain that next).

NBC 7's Priya Sridhar has more details on what is going on in this week's Politically Speaking.

Can I still register to vote?

Luckily, for those that miss out on registering to vote during the window, the state of California allows residents to register using what's called conditional voter registration up until and on Election Day, but it must be done in person.

To register to vote, you must be:

  • A U.S. citizen
  • A California resident
  • At least 18 years old on or before the next election
  • Not in state or federal prison for a felony conviction
  • Not declared mentally incompetent by court action

If you meet the criteria, go to the Registrar's office at 5600 Overland Ave., San Diego, or any vote center to register and to vote using a provisional ballot. Rest assured, your vote will still be counted once you've been verified as a registered voter.

You will also be registered to vote in any future elections.

Secretary of State - Voting In California

Can I vote in person this year?

Yes, and not just on Election Day. In-person voters can vote as early as May 28 at 39 vote center locations across the county and at the Registrar's Office located at 5600 Overland Ave., San Diego. The polling locations are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. On Election Day, the voting hours will change from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Starting June 4, another 179 locations will open. Check out the map below to find a vote center near you.

Voters who choose to vote in person can take their vote-by-mail ballots to cast them at a vote center. But if you forget to bring your ballot, the vote center will have electronic ballot marking devices so you can cast your ballot in person. Upon check-in, workers will ensure your mail-in ballot is suspended and your in-person ballot counts.

Note that if you do not bring your mail-in ballot with you, you will be voting on an electronic machine, which prints out a paper ballot to be submitted to poll workers. See what that's like here.

NBC 7's Alexis Rivas explains the new way to track your voting mail-in ballot.

Can I vote by mail this year?

Yes, voting by mail is encouraged. Every registered voter in California should have received a vote-by-mail ballot for the 2022 Primary Election. (If you haven't yet, click here.)

First, make sure your ballot is ready to go by signing and dating your return envelope and sealing your ballot inside.

Then, drop it in your mailbox or at any blue U.S. Postal Service Collection Box. Use this tool to find one near you.

California's 2022 Primary Election is already next month, but voters can already cast their ballots early. NBC 7's Audra Stafford speaks with the San Diego County Registrar of Voters to share what locals should know.

What if I don't want to send my ballot through the mail?

Not a problem. The San Diego County Registrar of Voters has set up hundreds of secure ballot drop off locations (including Vote Centers) across the county. Check out the map below to find one near you.

When is the General Election?

Voting in the Primary Election is really to set the stage for the 2022 midterm General Election. The General Election will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.

Can I take a selfie with my ballot?

Yes. Voters can take photos of their ballot and share it on social media after the state Legislature overturned a law in 2017 that prohibited it. Keep in mind that it is still illegal to take photos or videos of other people voting.

What's on my ballot?

San Diego County registered voters will be asked to narrow down the voting pool to the top-two candidates for the 2022 General Election in November.

This tool below helps you track what's on your ballot for California races.

Find Your California Primary Candidates

Enter an address, city, county or zip code.

Note: The candidate order is randomized. Source: California Secretary of State
Amy O’Kruk/NBC

And, to find your districts and what candidates are on your ballot locally, Use this tool from the San Diego County Registrar's office to get a sample ballot specific to your voting address.

Here are the top five races NBC 7 thinks San Diego County voters should keep an eye on this Primary Election. Check out all NBC 7's election coverage here.

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