County elections officials mail vote-by-mail ballots to all active registered voters. If you failed to receive your vote-by-mail ballot or you have lost or destroyed your original vote-by-mail ballot, and you are unable to vote in person at the polls, you may apply for a vote-by-mail ballot by doing one of the following:
Completing the Vote-By-Mail ballot application that is included in your sample ballot, which your county elections official will mail to you prior to each election
Downloading and completing an vote-by-mail application on-line.
Contact your county election official to see if your county allows you to apply by telephone.
Elections officials process applications 29 days to 7 days before an election. You may request an Vote-By-Mail ballot more than 29 days before an election, but not fewer than 7 days in advance.
If you are voting by mail for the first time, and did not provide your driver license number, CA ID number, or the last 4 digits of your Social Security number on your registration application, you must provide a photo copy of the above ID with your vote-by-mail application. Other forms of ID include a recent utility bill, the county Voter Information Guide you received from your county elections office or any other governmental agency document (like your passport, driver license, student ID, etc.). If your ID cannot be verified your vote-by-mail ballot will not be opened.
You can find a complete list of acceptable ID here.
Track your Vote-By-Mail Ballot
You can track the status of your vote-by-mail ballot by visiting the "My Voter Status" website and the Where's My Ballot website.
Permanent Vote-By-Mail Voting (PAV)
Any registered voter may apply for permanent Vote-By-Mail voter status. If you are a permanent Vote-By-Mail voter, you will automatically receive an Vote-By-Mail ballot for each election. To become a permanent Vote-By-Mail voter, you must complete an application, which is available here. If you complete an application to become a permanent Vote-By-Mail voter, you will retain this status as long as you vote in all statewide primary and general elections. You can cancel your Permanent Vote-By-Mail Voting status by filling out the California Permanent Vote-By-Mail Status Form and submitting it to your Board of Elections.
Late Vote-By-Mail Ballot Requests
If you would like to request a Vote-By-Mail ballot after 7 days before the election, you will need to apply in person at your county elections office. Your county elections office may allow you to apply over the phone, just call to see if your office allows for telephone applications
Even if you receive your vote-by-mail ballot, you can still vote at a polling place on Election Day. Bring your unused vote-by-mail ballot to your local polling place anytime between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Election Day and give it to a poll worker, who will exchange it for a polling place ballot you can use instead. If you do not bring your vote-by-mail ballot with you, you will not lose your opportunity to vote at a polling place on Election Day. A poll worker will provide you with a provisional ballot, which will be counted after your county elections official has confirmed you are registered to vote in that county and did not vote more than once in that election.
Overseas citizens and U.S. military personnel can find information on how to register to vote and request an Vote-By-Mail ballot at the Overseas Vote Foundation.