OK, California, there’s just one more round to go.
You picked the top candidates in the June primary election, and now those matchups are coming soon to an election booth — and mailbox — near you. Official state voter guides will soon arrive in the mail, followed by the ballots you can fill out and return if you’re not in the mood for in-person voting.
So what are we voting on this time? And how, exactly, do we do that?
Here’s what you need to know:
When is the election?
Election day is Nov. 8. But in California it’s really an election month, with all 22 million registered voters in the state getting mail-in ballots.
When will I get my ballot?
Ballots will be mailed out no later than Oct. 10. In Los Angeles and Orange counties, election officials sent overseas voters their ballots beginning in early September.
What are voters deciding on?
Gov. Gavin Newsom is up for reelection for his second and final term after he beat a recall attempt last year. California voters will also pick candidates for lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer, insurance commissioner, controller and superintendent of public instruction.
State Assembly seats and even-numbered state Senate districts are up this year as well. And voters will cast ballots for the state Board of Equalization and the judicial system.
Californians will also cast votes in two separate U.S. Senate races — though they’re both for the seat held by Sen. Alex Padilla, who was appointed by Newsom after Kamala Harris left the Senate to become vice president. A special vote to finish the term ending Jan. 3, 2023, and the regularly scheduled vote for the six-year term ending in 2029 are next to each other on the ballot.
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What about Los Angeles County and L.A. races?
Municipal contests are unfolding around the state. None is more exciting than the Los Angeles mayoral race between Rep. Karen Bass and real estate developer Rick Caruso to succeed termed-out Mayor Eric Garcetti.
The city’s highest office was last open in 2013, and this is the first time in more than a century the election was realigned to coincide with state and national elections. It has attracted more than $77 million in candidate spending, making it the most expensive candidate campaign in the city’s history. Billionaire Caruso has spent more than $62million of his money on the race.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who has come under fire for his handling of misconduct allegations, gang-like cliques of sheriff’s deputies and other scandals, is facing off against former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna to be the county’s top law-enforcement officer.
State Sen. Bob Hertzberg and West Hollywood Councilmember Lindsey Horvath are running for a seat on the county Board of Supervisors to replace retiring Sheila Kuehl.
In Los Angeles, city races are being held for attorney, controller, four City Council districts and two school board districts.
What about the congressional races?
Call it the ‘I don’t know’ election in the fight for Congress. Republicans still have advantages, but Democrats appear energized in the post-Roe environment.
California is losing a congressional seat for the first time in its history as a consequence of slowed population growth. The shifting lines for 52 new districts — drawn by an independent panel after the 2020 census — have fueled increased competition, prompting some officials to resign early or not seek reelection.
Bass’ seat in South Los Angeles is among those with no incumbent. It will remain in Democratic hands. But because of the number of competitive races in California, which will still have the largest congressional delegation in the nation, the state’s voters could help decide which party controls Congress.
Are there propositions on the ballot?
Yes, there are seven. A simple majority is required for each measure to pass.
California’s November election will feature seven statewide ballot measures.
- There are two competing sports wagering measures: Proposition 26 would legalize in-person sports betting on tribal lands and at a few horse-racing tracks, and Proposition 27 would allow licensed tribes and companies such as FanDuel and DraftKings to offer online sports betting.
- Proposition 31 would ban the sale of most flavored tobacco products. Tobacco companies have spent tens of millions of dollars opposing the effort.
- Wealthy Californians would pay an additional 1.75% income tax on earnings above $2 million to fund zero-emission vehicles and wildfire programs if voters pass Proposition 30. A major financial supporter of the effort is the ride-sharing company Lyft.
- Though abortion rights are sacrosanct in California, the Legislature voted to put an amendment to the state’s constitution on the November ballot after the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade. Proposition 1 would explicitly protect the right to abortion in California.
- Proposition 28 would provide about $1 billion from the state’s general fund to pay for arts and music education in public schools.
- Voters will be asked — for a third time — if they want greater oversight of kidney dialysis centers. Proposition 29 would require clinics to have a physician, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant on premises during treatment hours.
How do I check if I’m registered to vote?
Californians can check their status at https://registertovote.ca.gov/. You’ll need your California driver’s license number or the last four digits of your Social Security number.
You may have to register again if you’ve moved and didn’t notify the Department of Motor Vehicles or Postal Service, or if you changed your name since the last time you voted.
How do I register?
Californians can register to vote at https://registertovote.ca.gov/.
What is the deadline to register?
Voters must register no later than 15 days before an election. So the registration for this year’s general election must be postmarked or submitted electronically on or before Oct. 24.
If you miss this deadline, you can still cast a ballot. Visit a county elections office or voting center to complete a conditional voter registration up until election day. This will allow you to cast a ballot, which will count after verification by count election officials.
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Where can I find a voter guide?
The voter guide that the secretary of state’s officemailed outSept. 29 is also available online.
Can I vote if I don’t have a permanent address?
Absolutely. Your right to vote isn’t canceled out if you’re homeless, living off the grid or don’t yet have a fixed place. You must be 18 or older on election day, a U.S. citizen and a state resident to qualify to vote.
Addresses are requested when registering to vote because it helps election officials determine which races you’re eligible to vote on. Plus, it allows them to mail you a ballot and voter guide. But voters can also fill out the address section with the place they spend most of their time.
What happens if I don’t get a ballot or if I lose it?
If you don’t receive your vote-by-mail ballot or lose or destroy it, you can contact your county elections official to be sent a second ballot.
If you don’t have a ballot and can’t vote in person at a voting center, you can apply in writing for a late vote-by-mail ballot by taking this application form to the county elections official. The late ballot can’t be returned by mail but must be returned in person by the voter or the voter’s representative.
How do I return my mail-in ballot?
Ballots can be placed in drop boxes or submitted in person at voting centers. To find your closest drop box or center, enter your city and ZIP Code here. Ballots can also be mailed to county election officials so long as they are postmarked on or before Nov. 8. (Don’t forget to sign the return envelope.) To be counted, a ballot must be received no later than Nov. 15.
I want to vote in person. How do I find out where to go?
Your sample ballot will have an address printed on it showing your local polling site. If an address isn’t listed, you’ll be able to call the secretary of state’s voter hotline or check online.
In L.A. County, the registrar’s Norwalk headquarters opens to in-person early voting Oct. 10.
In Orange County, vote centers open Oct. 29 and Nov. 5, according to the registrar.
In Riverside County, vote centers are anticipated to open as early as Oct. 10, according to the registrar’s calendar.
San Bernardino County residents can vote early at the registrar’s office beginning Oct. 11.
How can I make sure my vote gets counted?
After you’ve sent in your ballot, you can check here to track it online. You’ll be able to see when it was received and when it was counted.
What happens after election day?
County election officials will count ballots and certify the results. In many races, results may not be known for days because mail-in ballots postmarked on election day have until Nov. 15 to arrive. County election officials must send official totals to the secretary of state by the 31st day after the election.