Frequently Asked Questions

About Voting and Special Elections

  1. How is a special recall election conducted?

    A special recall election shall be conducted, canvassed, and the results declared in substantially the manner provided by law for a regular election for that office. (Elections Code section 11328)

    If a majority of the votes at a recall election are "No," the officer sought to be recalled shall continue in office. (Elections Code section 11383)

    If a majority of the votes on a recall proposal are "Yes," the officer sought to be recalled shall be removed from office upon the qualification of his successor. If at a recall election an officer is recalled, the candidate receiving the highest number of votes for the office shall be declared elected for the unexpired term of the recalled officer. (Elections Code sections 11384 and 11385)

  2. How are special elections conducted?

    California conducts open primaries for legislative, congressional, and constitutional offices. In an open primary, all candidates for an office are listed on the same ballot and anyone can vote for any candidate, regardless of party preference. If no candidate receives a majority of the votes in a special primary election, the two candidates who receive the most votes will move on to a run-off election. (Elections Code sections 10705 and 10706)

    If any candidate receives a majority (over 50%) of the votes in the June 5, 2018, Senate District 32 Special Primary Election, he or she will be declared elected, and no special general election will be held. (Elections Code section 10705)

    At the April 3, 2018, Assembly District 39 and Assembly District 45 Special Primary Elections, no candidate received a majority of the votes; therefore, the two candidates who received the most votes moved on to the June 5, 2018, Assembly District 39 and Assembly District 45, Special General Elections.

  3. Who are the candidates?

    The Secretary of State's list of candidates includes the names for all candidates on the ballot for:

  4. What does "party preference" mean when listed with a candidate's name on the ballot? What are the qualified political parties and abbreviations of those party names?

    A candidate must indicate his or her preference or lack of preference for a qualified political party. If the candidate has a qualified political party preference, that qualified political party will be indicated by the candidate's name on the ballot. If a candidate does not have a qualified political party preference, "Party Preference: None" will be indicated by the candidate's name on the ballot.

    The abbreviations used on the Secretary of State's Election Night reporting website for the qualified political parties are:

    1. DEM = Democratic Party
    2. REP = Republican Party
    3. AI = American Independent Party
    4. GRN = Green Party
    5. LIB = Libertarian Party
    6. P&F = Peace and Freedom Party
  5. When is the last day to return my voted vote-by-mail ballot?

    Vote-by-mail ballots that are personally delivered to a polling place, county elections office, or a designated ballot drop-off location must be delivered no later than the close of polls at 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.

    Vote-by-mail ballots that are mailed must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received by your county elections office no later than 3 days after Election Day.

    If you are not sure your vote-by-mail ballot will arrive in time if mailed, bring it to any polling place or a designated ballot drop-off location in your county or your county elections office no later than 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.

  6. How do I return my vote-by-mail ballot on Election Day?

    You may return it in person to any polling place in your county, your county elections office, or a designated ballot drop-off location on Election Day. If you are unable to return the ballot yourself, you may designate any person, as long as they do not get paid on a per ballot basis, to return the ballot to the elections official or the precinct board at any polling place within the jurisdiction or to a designated ballot drop-off location. The ballot must be received by the elections official or the precinct board before the close of the polls at 8:00 p.m. on Election Day in order to be counted.

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About Election Results and this Website

  1. Will the unofficial election results change after Election Night? When will all of the election results be final?

    Yes, election results will change throughout the canvass period as vote-by-mail ballots, provisional ballots, and other ballots are processed. Depending on the volume of these types of ballots, it may take several days for the county elections official to verify voter records and determine if ballots have been cast by eligible voters.

    The county elections official must report final results for the Senate District 29 Special Recall Election, Assembly District 39 and Assembly District 45 Special General Elections, to the Secretary of State by July 6, 2018.

    The county elections official must report final results for the Senate District 32 Special Primary Election to the Secretary of State by June 14, 2018. The Secretary of State will certify the election shortly thereafter. (Elections Code sections 15374, 15375, and 15501)

  2. On Election Night: Why would the county elections office not report any results immediately after the polls close?

    State law requires county elections officials to send their first batch of results to the Secretary of State's office no more than two hours after they begin tallying the votes after polls close on Election Day. The county elections official will continue to report results periodically until all polling place ballot totals have been reported. The county elections official will continue to count ballots not cast at polling places in subsequent days. (Elections Code sections 15150 and 15151)

  3. When are vote-by-mail ballots counted?

    Vote-by-mail ballots that are received by the county elections office before Election Day are typically counted on Election Day. In the days following the election, the county will continue to count vote-by-mail ballots that were dropped off at polling places or ballot drop-off locations on Election Day and any vote-by-mail ballots received in the mail up to 3 days after the election. Depending on the volume of these types of ballots, it may take several days for the county elections official to verify voter records and determine if ballots have been cast by eligible voters.

    All vote-by-mail ballots that the county elections official determines have been cast by eligible voters are counted and included in the official election results. (Elections Code section 15320)

    You may check the status of your vote-by-mail ballot by visiting My Voter Status.

  4. When are provisional ballots counted?

    All provisional ballots, including conditional voter registration provisional ballots, that the county elections official determines to be valid and cast by eligible voters are counted and included in the official election results. Depending on the volume of these types of ballots, it may take several days for the county elections official to verify voter records and determine if ballots have been cast by eligible voters. (Elections Code sections 2170 and 14310)

    You may check the status of your provisional ballot by visiting My Voter Status.

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