Marissa Espiritu / CapRadio)
Election Day is Nov. 8. Once again, every registered voter in the state will receive a mail-in ballot, though there will be options to vote in-person and ways to register up through Election Day.
In Sacramento County, there are key races for Sacramento City Council, state Legislative seats, and more. While some races, such as for Sacramento County District Attorney and Sheriff, were decided in the June primary, most offices will be decided in this election. (If you'd like a refresh, here's what happened in the primary).
Here's what you need to know to register, learn about the candidates and cast your ballot in Sacramento County through Nov. 8.
📅 Key dates
There are a few key dates to remember as the election approaches.
Ballots Sent Out
Voter Registration Deadline
- Oct. 10: Deadline for counties to send mail-in ballots to all registered voters. Some ballot drop boxes open on this date.
- Oct. 24: The last day to register to vote online and get a ballot in the mail. After this day, you will have to register to vote at a polling place, vote center or your county elections office.
- Oct. 29: Some vote centers open in all Voter’s Choice Act counties (this includes Sacramento)
- Nov. 5: All vote centers open through election day
- Nov. 8: Election Day. You can register and cast a ballot through this day. Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by this day and arrive no later than Nov. 15.
- Dec. 8: Counties must finish counting ballots and certify their results
- Dec. 16: Deadline for the Secretary of State to certify the results. If the governor is recalled, he will need to vacate the office by this date and the winning replacement candidate will be sworn in.
Research your ballot
We partnered with Voter's Edge to create a personalized ballot where you can learn more about the races and candidates in your area. To get your ballot, enter your address below or click here to start.
This will work for any California address, even if you're outside the Sacramento area.
Find more detailed coverage on key Sacramento area races here.
Learn about local races
Learn about statewide propositions
California has seven propositions on the ballot this November. You can find information on each one here.
How to vote
To find everything you need to know about registering and voting in California, check out our California Voter FAQ. Here are the basics to get started:
How To Register
You can sign up or check your voter registration status on the Secretary of State’s website.
You can register to vote as long as you are over 18 and a United States citizen. Parolees are now able to vote in elections, after voters approved Proposition 17 in November 2020.
The last day to register to vote online and get a ballot in the mail is Oct. 24. After that, you will have to register to vote at a polling place, vote center or your county elections office. You can register and cast a provisional ballot through election day, Nov. 8. Here's a map of voting locations in Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer and Yolo counties.
If you haven’t voted in recent years or you have recently moved counties, you may be an inactive voter. Check your status on the Secretary of State’s website to make sure you receive a ballot in the mail.
How To Vote By Mail
All active, registered voters will receive a mail-in ballot in early October (Active means you’ve participated in recent elections). Counties must send those out by Oct. 10 and they are expected to arrive a few days later (though some may send them out sooner).
To vote, fill out your mail-in ballot and place it in the secure envelope. Make sure you sign the outside of your ballot envelope. No stamp is required. Election officials match your signature with the one on file to verify your identity.
Here's how to return your ballot:
- Drop it in any U.S. Postal Service mailbox.
- Use any designated ballot drop box. Those are typically located at libraries and community centers.
- You can also return your mail-in ballot in-person at your county elections office or any vote center or polling place. More information about specific locations is available on the Sacramento County Registrar's website and the California Secretary of State’s website or by contacting your county elections office.
Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by election day, Nov. 8, and arrive no later than Nov. 15.
Watch for common mistakes before you turn in your ballot. A recent study said the most common reasons mail-in ballots get rejected include: returning them too late, forgetting to sign the ballot envelope and signatures that don’t match the one on file.
Here are some tips on how to make sure your vote-by mail ballot gets counted.
How To Vote In Person
Your polling location will be listed on the sample ballot mailed by your county elections office. You can also contact your county elections office to ask for the location.
You can find an early voting location at caearlyvoting.sos.ca.gov. Voting locations will have separate lines for voters dropping off completed ballots.
On election day, you must be in line at the polling place or voting center by 8 p.m. on in order to register and cast your ballot.
What to expect after election day
Counties can begin releasing results on election night at 8 p.m.
Many races may not be decided on election night if there are still a large number of outstanding mail-in ballots.
Counties must finish counting ballots and certify their results by Dec. 8. The Secretary of State will certify the results on Dec. 16.
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