Question:  What do I need to know about how to vote in the November election?

The Presidential General Election held on November 3, 2020, will be the first one where every California voter will automatically receive a Vote By Mail ballot. This is a result of Executive Order N-64-20, and is an effort to allow everyone an opportunity to vote safely from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. It may seem like a big change to transition to only Vote By Mail ballots, but the fact is that California has been moving in this direction for a while. In fact, in the March primary, 72 percent of California voters used a mail-in ballot.

If you are registered to vote, you do not have to take any action to receive your ballot by mail. All Vote By Mail ballots will automatically be sent to registered voters starting on October 2. If you do not receive yours in the mail within two weeks of that date, then you can visit to request a replacement. Be mindful that the last day to request a replacement ballot in the mail is October 27.

Once you receive your ballot in the mail, simply fill it out, sign the envelope, and either mail it back or take it to a ballot drop-off location.  All mailed ballots must be postmarked on or before election day and must be received by the Elections Division by November 20. If you plan to mail it, it’s best to send it in as early as possible just to be safe.

There is much in the news about U.S. Postal Service delays and this can be cause for concern. If you wish to drop off your ballot in person, the County of Ventura has made ballot drop-off locations widespread. There are more than 30 drop-off locations in the county that will be available starting on October 5 through November 3. Check for one near you at

Additionally, starting on October 31 through Election Day, there will be 47 in-person polling locations where you can drop your ballot, utilize curbside voting on a touchscreen device, receive language assistance, and other services to assist you in the process. To learn more about polling locations, or about changes to this year’s Election Day processes, visit

You can even track your ballot and sign up to receive alerts at

If you are not currently registered to vote, you still have time to register and vote in this election. You can register online at,or call (805) 654-2664 and request a form be mailed to you.  If you do not register more than 15 days prior to the election, then you may vote by registering and casting a Conditional Voter Registration (CVR) ballot at the Elections Division office or at your closest polling place. To check your voter status and ensure your information and address are current then visit

Ultimately the goal is to make it easier and safer for voters to cast their ballots. Because of the amount of mail in voters across the country, the final election results are not expected on November 3. Everyone has a chance to have their vote counted, so be sure to send yours in or drop it off appropriately.

The ability to vote is a key freedom in our country. It is important to stay informed and participate in this important civic process.  

Martha Shapiro can reached at Senior Concerns at 805-497-0189 or by email at




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