Questions about Voting

Becoming a Vote By Mail voter
How can I become a Vote By Mail voter?
On your initial Voter Registration form, you can make the choice to receive a Vote By Mail ballot through the mail in every election. If you are already a registered voter and want to change your status to permanent vote by mail voter, send us your request in writing to the Contra Costa Election Division. Include your name, date of birth, address, mailing address, and signature.

How can I make a one time request for a Vote By Mail ballot?
For a one time request, you can email your request to us at Include your name, date of birth, and mailing address if different from residence address.

Why am I a Vote By Mail voter if I didn’t request to be one?
Voters who live in precincts with fewer than 250 voters may be sent a Vote By Mail ballot.

Questions About My Vote By Mail Ballot
When can I expect my ballot in the mail?
All ballots are mailed 29 day before Election Day.

What do I do if I damage or lose the ballot?
You can request a replacement ballot by sending an email to Provide your name, date of birth, address, and mailing address if different. You can also call our office at (925) 335-7871.

How can I check the status of my Vote By Mail ballot?
You can confirm if our office has issued or received your ballot by going to the Status of my Vote By Mail lookup.

Are there any special Instructions for voting by mail?
Along with the ballot you will receive instructions for signing and returning the ballot.

Returning My Vote By Mail Ballot
What’s the deadline to return the Vote By Mail ballot?
If you return your ballot by mail, the ballot must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received within three days of the Election.

Military or Citizens Overseas
When will I receive my ballot?
Vote By Mail ballots are mailed to military personnel and citizens living outside the U.S. 45 to 60 days before Election Day.

I requested for my ballot to be sent via email, what do I do next?
Before the election, you will receive an email with instruction to go to the Voting Away From Home Lookup, answer a few questions, and you will be able to download your ballot.

How can I return my ballot?
You can return it by mail to the Election Office or by fax to (925)335-7843. By law you cannot return your voted ballot via email. Ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received within three days of the Election.

How can I check on the status of my Vote by Mail ballot?
You can confirm if your Vote by Mail ballot was issued or whether is has been received by our office by going to the Status of my Vote By Mail lookup.

Do all military, their dependents, and citizens living overseas have to vote by mail?
Military personnel and their dependents stationed outside Contra Costa County and citizens living outside the U.S. would be voting by mail.

Election Day
What do I do when I go to the polling place?
First, locate your precinct table by finding the line you should be in based on the first letter of your last name, sign in the roster, and receive your ballot. Second, mark your ballot and run it through the ballot scanner.

How do I mark my ballot?
Completely fill in the oval(s) corresponding to your voting choices. Use the black marker provided. For an example on how to mark your ballot see How To Mark Your Ballot document.

What are my rights as a voter?
As a registered voter you have rights regarding voting. Go to our web page Voting on Election Day and select Voter Bill of Rights to read a list of your voting rights.

Accessibility and Language Assistance
I have a physical disability, will I be able to go into a polling place and vote?
Accommodations are made for you to vote. Voting equipment, materials, signs, entries, and pathways follow ADA guidelines. If your polling place is not accessible, curbside voting is available upon request. If you have questions or need assistance, send us an email to or call us at (925) 335-7800.

I feel more comfortable with another language, is there language assistance?
Most of the election materials are written in English and Spanish. In some selected precincts, materials are also available in Chinese and Tagalog. If you have any questions or need assistance, contact us by email at or call our office at (925) 335-7800.

Can I campaign for my candidate or for a cause at the polls?
The area up to 100 feet from the entrance(s) to the voting room(s) is an electioneering free zone. You cannot verbally campaign or display election propaganda for a candidate or a measure within this area.

Can I go to the polls and see how the voting takes place?
Poll watchers are allowed to observe the voting process without interfering, disrupting, or hindering the voting process. You should avoid doing the following things:

  • Don’t touch any of the election materials (ballots, rosters, etc.).
  • Don’t sit at the processing table.
  • Don’t discuss any ballot or political issue.
  • Don’t loiter in the area where voters are marking their ballots.

I became a new citizen just after the deadline to registration to vote, can I vote?
Yes, you can vote if you became a naturalized U.S. citizen after the registration deadline. Come to our office to register and vote. Remember to bring your Certificate of Naturalization.

I am a victim of domestic violence and I don’t want my name listed at the poll. Is there a way I can vote?
Yes, victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking can apply for the Safe at Home program. Your personal registration information will remain confidential, visit the Secretary of State to learn more about the Safe at Home program. To register to vote call the Secretary of State at (877) 322-5227 o go to the Contact Information – Safe at Home webpage.

I am a registered voter but I am laid up in a hospital. How can I vote?
A hospital form for Vote by Mail ballot should be available to you at your hospital or convalescent home. You can authorize a volunteer to pick up your ballot for you. The ballot must be mailed to our office or dropped off at any polling place in the county. the ballot is mailed to our office it mast be postmarked no later than Election Day; if the ballot is dropped of at a polling site, it must be delivered before the polls close at 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.

I am being held in the county jail before my trial, can I vote?
Under certain circumstances you may be eligible to vote. For more information about inmate voting visit the Voting rights: persons with a criminal history webpage.