And, they're off! Millions of ballots were handed over to the U.S. Postal Service to be distributed into the mailboxes of San Diego County voters as soon as Oct. 5.
This year, every registered voter in California will be receiving their ballot in the mail for the 2020 November Election in order to reduce the number of people at the polls in light of the coronavirus pandemic. But for some, it may be for the first time voting by mail. Here's what to know.
How to Return My Mail-In Ballot in San Diego County
First, complete these steps to ensure your vote will be counted:
- Fill out your vote-by-mail ballot and put it back in the yellow postage-paid envelope
- Date and sign the outer envelope with a signature similar to the one on your voter registration form, your driver's license or your state ID.
- Return your ballot as soon as possible, starting on Oct. 5. It must be postmarked by Nov. 3
- Track the status of your ballot using this tool
San Diego County voters have a few options this year to return their mail-in ballots.
- The easiest option is to send it back through the mail. Use your return service box or find a blue U.S. Postal Service Collection Box near you. If you use this option, you must ensure your ballot is postmarked by Nov. 3 to be counted. Mailing your ballot back earlier is best.
- If you'd rather drop off your completed ballot in person, you can do so at any of the 126 Mail Ballot Drop Off locations around the county from Oct. 6. to Nov. 3. Be sure to check the location's hours online first.
- Voters can also drop off their completed mail-in ballots at any of San Diego County's "Super Poll" locations on Oct. 31 to Nov. 2 from 8 p.m. to 5 p.m. and on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Drop off your completed mail-in ballot at the Registrar of Voters Office at 5600 Overland Ave., San Diego on Oct. 5 to Oct. 30 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. The office will also be open Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Election Day, Nov. 3, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Find a location near you using the map below:
If you prefer to vote in person, there are ways to do so but be aware that polling locations are limited this year. To ease capacity, the registrar's office is opening polling locations early from Oct. 31 through Nov. 2 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Use this guide to find your assigned polling place or check the back of your sample pamphlet. Be sure to bring your vote-by-mail ballot with you if you choose this option.
In-person voters will find fewer polling places this year, and your usual polling location will most likely not be there.
In-person voters can even vote as early as Oct. 5 at the Registrar's Office located at 5600 Overland Ave., San Diego. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and on Election Day, Nov. 3, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
"The Registrar especially encourages older adults and people with underlying medical conditions to avoid long lines and crowded polling places by voting early," the agency said.