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Presidential Primary: Frequently Asked Questions


Key Dates |  Your Ballot and Registration  |  Voting on Election Day at a Poll  |  Turning in a Vote-by-Mail Ballot  |  Links and Phone Numbers 

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Key Dates

Monday, February 3: Early voting begins, by mail and at the Registrar of Voters office in Kearny Mesa
Tuesday, February 18: Voter registration deadline (forms must be received by elections officials by this day or registraton completed online)
Tuesday, February 25: Last day to request a vote-by-mail ballot, including for nonpartisan voters to request a Democratic ballot to be mailed to them
Monday, February 24: Ballot drop-off locations open (during each location's open hours; check here)
Saturday, February 29: Satellite election offices open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Feb. 29, March 1, and March 2 (locations will be posted here
Tuesday, March 3: Election Day -- voting and "conditional" (same-day) voter registration available at all polling places from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. 

Your Ballot and Registration

Who is on my ballot for the Primary Election?

  • Primary Election for candidates running for President, as well as Federal, State, Educational, Cities of Chula Vista and San Diego.
  • County Central Committee Elections for voters registered with a political party.
For a comprehensive list of Democratic candidates, please check here.

Do I have to vote on everything for my ballot to be counted? 

  • You do not have to vote on everything. Your ballot will be counted for the items you vote on. We hope you will vote for all Democratic Party endorsed candidates (see our Voter Guide)! 

Can I still sign up to vote by mail?

  • Yes, if you would like to receive your ballot in the mail, make sure you fill out and return this Permanent Mail Ballot application to the Registrar of Voters. Once you fill out your ballot, please make sure you have it in the mail and postmarked by Election Day (March 3, 2020).

What are my rights as a voter?

I am registered as No Party Preference. Can I still vote in the March 3rd Primary?

  • Yes you can, however your ballot will not include Democratic presidential candidates. If you are registered as No Party Preference but you want to vote for a Democratic presidential candidate in the March Primary, you can request a Democratic ballot from the Registrar of Voters. Go to the Registrar in person (5600 Overland Avenue, San Diego, CA 92123) to pick up your ballot up until Election Day, or call the Registrar (858-565-5800) no later than Tuesday, February 25 to request a mail ballot to be sent to you. If you are registered as anything other than a Democrat or NPP and would like to vote in the Democratic Primary you will need to re-register as one of those. For more information about, please contact the Registrar of Voters.

Am I registered to vote? How do I check my registration? 

What if I missed the registration deadline?

  • If you did not register to vote by the February 25, 2020 deadline, you may still conditionally register to vote and cast a provisional ballot. To do that, you must visit the San Diego County Registrar of Voters office during the 14 days before the election or on Election Day. The ballot will be processed after Election Day. Once your voter registration is processed and determined to be eligible, the provisional ballot you cast can be counted and your registration becomes permanent.

What if I've been convicted of a crime? 

  • A misdemeanor conviction does not affect your right to vote. You cannot register to vote if you are: serving a state prison sentence or on parole for a felony conviction, or serving a term or are under state/county supervision for a low-level felony as defined by the 2011 Public Safety Realignment Act. When you have completed your sentence, your right to vote is reinstated and you can register or reregister to vote. You can vote when you are on probation. See the Secretary of State's Voting Rights page.  

What is the Democratic Party's endorsement process and timeline?

  • The San Diego County Democratic Party endorses candidates for local office, and promotes candidates for state and federal office based on endorsements made by the California Democratic Party and the Democratic National Committee, respectively. For more information about our timeline for endorsements, please check here.

How do I volunteer?

  • You can help volunteer for the party by signing-up here, or you can call our office at (858) 277-3367. Also, there are numerous Democratic clubs throughout San Diego County that you can get involved with, either located near you, or focusing on an affinity of your choice. 

Voting on Election Day at a Poll

Where is my Polling Place? 

  • Your polling place is listed on your sample ballot. A few polling places may have changed; confirm the address before going to the poll. You can confirm your polling place and view a sample ballot at Smart Voter, a project of the League of Women Voters

Can I take the Democratic Voter Guide with me to the polls? What about the Sample Ballot?

  • Yes, absolutely. The Voter Guide will help you identify the endorsed Democratic candidates. Only federal and state offices have a party designation. All judicial, educational, county, municipal, utility and other offices will not list the candidates' party affiliation. If a race or ballot measure is not listed, then the Democratic Party has not taken a position on it. Having the Voter Guide with you, or marking your sample ballot in advance and taking it with you, will help you vote for the full slate of endorsed candidates and ballot measures.

Can I take campaign materials with me or wear a campaign button or shirt at the polls?

  • No. Campaign materials are strictly prohibited.

What if I'm not on the voter list? 

  • As the poll worker to check again and confirm that you are at the right location for your address. If your name is not on the list, ask them to check the "blue" or "pink" lists. If your name is not on any of the lists, and you are in the right polling location, ask for a "provisional ballot" and you will be allowed to vote with that provisional ballot.

Do I need an ID to vote? 

  • California is not a Voter ID State. In almost all cases, as a voter you are not required to show any identification to be able to cast a ballot. However, if you are a first-time voter who registered by online or by mail and did not provide your driver license number, California ID number or the last 4 digits of your Social Security number on the registration form, you may be asked to show a form of ID when you arrive at the polls (utility bill, passport, drivers license, state ID, student ID with name and photograph). If you do not have an ID with you, ask for a provisional ballot and cast your vote with the provisional ballot which does not require an ID.

What if I go to the wrong polling place or I can't make it to my polling place in time? 

  • If at all possible, go to the right polling place. If you do not have time, and you can make it to the Registrar of Voters in Kearny Mesa, go there so you can vote your full ballot. If you can not make it to your assigned poll or to the Registrar, go to any polling location and ask for a "Provisional Ballot." You will be limited in that you will only be able to vote on the offices that ballot has in common with your home precinct. The closer you are to your home precinct, the more you will be able to vote on.

What if I'm waiting in line to vote when the polls close?

  • You can vote if you are in the polling place or in line before 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.

What if I have to work on Election Day? 

  • If you do not have enough time to vote outside of your work day, you have the right to take up to two hours off work to vote without loss of pay by giving your employer two working days' notice. The time off must be at the beginning or the end of your workday.

What if someone challenges me on my right to vote based upon my citizenship, residence, or identity, or tries to intimidate me? 

  • This is extremely rare. Intimidating voters is against the law. Please report any incident like this to official precinct workers. The only person who can challenge your right to vote is an official precinct worker. If the pollworker is the problem, call the Registrar or Voters at (858) 565-5800 or the San Diego County Democratic Party at (858) 277-3367.

What if I need a ballot in a language other than English? 

  • You can ask for a ballot in your language. Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Tagalog should be available. If not available, there may be a posted translation. Click here for the form to make the request.

What if I need help voting because of a disability or my polling place is inaccessible because of a physical disability?

  • If you can't read or write, or have a physical disability, you can ask for assistance. You can have a precinct worker come outside the polling place and allow you to vote there.

What if I need to take my children to the polling place? 

  • You can bring your children under 18 into the voting booth with you.

What if I make a mistake on my ballot? 

  • If you make a mistake, you have the right to receive a replacement ballot up to two times.

When would I need a provisional ballot?

  • If there is ever a question about your right to vote, you can always vote by "provisional ballot." A "provisional ballot" is the same as a regular ballot, but it won't be counted until county officials are able to confirm your registration information after the election. In some cases, documentation of your residence address may be required;

When can I vote a provisional ballot?

  • Election officials can't confirm your registration
  • You received ballot in the mail but never returned it
  • Records show that you have moved
  • It appears that you have already voted
  • You are voting at a polling place outside your home precinct

What if I've been convicted of a crime? 

  • A misdemeanor conviction does not affect your right to vote. You cannot register to vote if you are: serving a state prison sentence or on parole for a felony conviction, or serving a term or are under state/county supervision for a low-level felony as defined by the 2011 Public Safety Realignment Act. When you have completed your sentence, your right to vote is reinstated and you can register or reregister to vote. You can vote when you are on probation. See the Secretary of State's Voting Rights page.  

Turning in a Vote-by-Mail Ballot (Remember to sign it!)

When must I return my vote-by-mail ballot? What are my options other than mailing it?

  • You must return your vote-by-mail ballot by Election Day.
  • You can mail your ballot or bring it to the elections office, designated drop-off locations from February 25 - March 3, or to any polling place in California. Drop-off locations may be faster than dropping at a polling location where there may be lines. Remember to sign the envelope! 
  • If sent by mail, in order to be counted, your ballot must be postmarked by 8 p.m. Election Day (March 3) AND an elections official in your county of residence must receive your ballot no later than the Friday after Election Day (November 9).  If you return your voted ballot by mail, remember to put the required postage on the envelope. The post office will not deliver it without the required postage.
  • If submitted in person, your ballot must be received by an elections official no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day (March 3).

I lost my mail-in ballot.  How do I vote?

  • Contact the Registrar of Voters and ask for a replacement. On Election Day, you can vote provisionally at the polls.

Where do I sign my ballot? Why do they need my address?

  • Make sure you sign your ballot in the box provided on the left side of the envelope. If someone else is returning your ballot, complete box on the right and make sure they sign it.

Why is my envelope blue instead of yellow?

  • Your precinct is required to vote-by-mail. The blue envelope does not require postage.

Where can I return my mail ballot before Election Day?

  • In addition to the Registrar of Voters, there may be other locations around they county where you can drop off your ballot. Call the Registrar of Voters (858-565-5800) for a full list and the hours they are open for ballot drop-off.

I mailed my ballot. How can I confirm if I got it to the Registrar?

  • You can check your voting status at any time on the Registrar's website. Just enter your house number, date of birth, and zip code to get the details of your registration and voting status.

I made a mistake on my mail-in ballot. Does it invalidate my ballot? How can I request a new one?

  • Errors made "bubbling in" or otherwise marking ballots will invalidate the selection for the particular office/measure you're voting on, but not the entire ballot. Corrections using an eraser or white-out are not accepted by the Registrar of Voters. If you would like to make a correction, request a new ballot by enclosing your ballot in the yellow or blue envelope, signing and dating, and marking the box in the upper right hand corner that says "SPOILED BALLOT." As long as you're mailing it with decent notice, you should receive a replacement ballot in time for the election. You can also bring your spoiled ballot to your home precinct polling place on Election Day in the designated, sealed envelope to request a new ballot.

If I lose the vote-by-mail ballot that was sent to me or I didn't get it, can I get another one?

  • Yes. However, you must sign a statement under penalty of perjury that you lost, destroyed, or did not receive the first vote-by-mail ballot. You will be sent a new ballot to complete and return and you will also be sent an affidavit to sign which you return in a separate envelope. Make sure you send the ballot and the affidavit in the correct envelopes. The elections official maintains a record of each request and provides a list of these requests to the polling place to ensure that each voter casts only one ballot. If you vote twice by vote-by-mail ballot, even if by mistake, neither ballot will be counted.

Can I give my voted vote-by-mail ballot to someone else to return for me?

  • You may designate someone else to return your ballot for you. Your designated person may return it in person to the election office or a dropoff location, or to a polling place in your county, or may place it in the mail for return to the elections official. Contact your county elections official for more information.

If I request a vote-by-mail ballot, can I change my mind and still vote at my regular polling place?

  • Yes. You must bring your non-voted ballot and give it to the polling place worker before voting a regular ballot.
  • If you are unable to surrender your ballot, you may still cast a "provisional ballot" at your polling place which will not be counted until the county elections official can determine that you have not also voted a vote-by-mail ballot.

I forgot to sign my ballot! What do I do?

  • The Registrar will contact you or you can contact them. Click here for a form to add a signature when you have forgotten to sign the envelope - make sure you follow all instructions and deadlines or your ballot will not be counted.


Links and Phone Numbers

County Registrar of Voters
5600 Overland Ave, San Diego, CA 92123 
(858) 565-5800

Military and Overseas voting

Find Your Polling Place:

Interactive Map of Polling Places with Democratic Party endorsements: coming soon

Drop-off Locations: