California voting tracking: How to check your status

The stakes are stratospheric in this year’s midterm elections, with control of both houses of Congress at stake, nearly every statewide office in California up for grabs and meaningful measures on abortion, the environment and gambling on the ballot.

Across the country, states are seeing an unusually high number of mail-in ballots in the weeks leading up to Election Day. By Oct. 26, 17.1 million ballots had been mailed for the Nov. 8 election, more than 10% of them in California, according to the United States Election Project.

If you’re one of the nearly 1.9 million Californians who have already mailed in your ballot, you may be wondering if it actually made it to your county election office. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to check: The state offers a free tool that can tell you instantly if your ballot has been accepted.

For the record:

October 28, 2022, 2:17 p.mAn earlier version of this story said ballots had to be postmarked by Nov. 6. The deadline is November 8.

This tool can also help you track the progress of ballots you submit or submit in the time remaining before the election. Ballots that arrive up to seven days after the polls close will still be counted if they are postmarked no later than Tuesday, November 8.

To sign up for ballot tracking, go to the Where’s My Ballot page on the California Secretary of State’s website and enter your name, date of birth and zip code. If you have already submitted your ballot, the site will immediately tell you what the status is – whether the envelope has been received and, if so, accepted or rejected.

In Los Angeles County, you can check to see if your ballot has been received and your signature verified at lavote.net/AV_Inquiry.

The Secretary of State’s system has been designed to track your ballot from the time it is sent to you until it is received for counting. Once you’ve registered, you can have the system notify you of receipt and receipt of your ballot envelope by email, text message, phone call, or a combination thereof. You can also limit the time for which notifications can be sent and choose which of 10 languages ​​to use for messages.

If your ballot envelope is rejected, it may be because a vote has already been recorded for you, there was more than one ballot in the envelope, or there was a problem with your signature on the back – perhaps missing or not matching what county election officials had on file. Signature comparisons are usually performed first by machine and then manually for envelopes rejected by the machine.

If your ballot is rejected because of signature problems, county election officials must notify you within 24 hours and give you a second chance to verify your signature before the election results are verified. They will send you a form to sign along with a postage paid envelope and this new signature will be compared to your ballot envelope.

However, not every voter will be able to solve the signature problem. In the 2022 primary election, about 25,000 mail-in ballots were rejected due to signature discrepancies. Still, it was only three-tenths of a percent of the 6.7 million ballots received.

Many more postcards — nearly 70,000 — were rejected because they arrived too late. The Secretary of State’s statistical breakdown does not reveal how many were postmarked after the deadline — which would be voter error — and how many were postmarked on Primary Election Day but delivered more than a week later — which would be the U.S. Post Office. Service error.

The Postal Service was criticized during the November 2020 election for allegedly failing to deliver tens of thousands of ballots on time in states with much tighter deadlines than California, though a later inspection by the Postal Service’s inspector general suggested the problem was overblown.

However, if you mailed in your completed ballot and the state tracking tool says it still hasn’t been delivered on Election Day, you can cast your provisional ballot in person at one of your county’s polling centers. According to the Secretary of State’s office, provisional ballots are usually counted after regular and mail-in ballots to ensure no one voted twice. If the county has a valid postal ballot from you, your provisional ballot will not be counted.

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