Here you will find more information on Vote by Mail ballots and the different ways you can return your voted ballot.
Receive a Vote by Mail Ballot
Every registered voter in San Mateo County will be mailed a ballot beginning 29 days before Election Day.
The ballot will come in an envelope that looks similar to this:
Inside the ballot packet you will find:
- Your Official Ballot
- A postage-paid return envelope
- Voting Instructions
Delivery of the mailed ballot depends on your local mail service. If you don’t receive your Vote by Mail ballot by three weeks before Election Day, you may contact us in a variety of ways:
Vote by Mail Ballot
Voting by mail is easy!
- Vote your ballot by filling in the box next to your choice.
- Put your voted ballot inside the postage paid return envelope.
- Sign the return envelope between the hole punches. This is important! (In order to count your ballot, we must match your signature on the envelope with the signature in your voter registration record.)
- Seal the envelope.
- Return the ballot.
Return Your Ballot
Don’t delay! Once you vote your ballot and properly sign the envelope, you need to return it on time. Here’s how:
- Drop it off in the mail. It can only be accepted if it is postmarked on or before Election Day, and received by our office within 7 days after Election Day.
- Drop it off at any Drop Box location.
- Drop it off at any Vote Center.
Availability of Indoor Ballot Drop Boxes is subject to the facility’s operating hours.
Pursuant to Elections Code Section 20136:
- Ballots shall be retrieved from both staffed and unstaffed drop boxes at least every 96 hours, excluding Saturdays and Sundays, between the 29th day before the election and the 10th day before an election.
- Ballots shall be retrieved from unstaffed drop boxes every 48 hours, excluding Saturdays and Sundays, after the 10th day prior to an election through the closing of the polls on Election Day.
- Ballots shall be retrieved from staffed drop boxes at least every 72 hours, excluding Saturdays and Sundays, after the 10th day before the election through the closing of the polls on Election Day.
Emergency Vote by Mail Voting – Authorized Ballot Pick-up
If, during the seven (7) days before an election, you find that you will be unable to vote in person on Election Day, you may request in a written statement, signed under penalty of perjury, that a ballot be delivered to your authorized representative. Your authorized representative will receive your ballot after presenting the signed statement at the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division.
If you make a mistake, you may get a replacement ballot.
- Call or text us at 650.312.5222;
- Fax us at 650.312.5348;
- Email us at email@example.com;
- Fill out the Online Replacement Ballot Request Form; or
- Go to any Vote Center in San Mateo County.
Replacement ballots are a normal part of the Vote by Mail process. Voters may receive additional ballots if they re-register, update their voter registration, or request a replacement from our office. Only the first ballot our office receives will be counted, ensuring NO ONE can vote twice.
If you would like your replacement ballot sent to you by mail, your request must be received by our office no later than a week before Election Day to allow for sufficient mailing time.
How To Mark a Paper Ballot
Marking a paper ballot is the same whether you vote by mail or vote at a vote center. The ballots are the same. The only difference is how you cast your vote: in person or by mail.
My Election Info
Confirm my registration status. During an election, you can confirm your ballot was received on this page.
Vote by Mail Process Overview
The San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division has decades of experience with Vote by Mail, with the majority of our voters preferring this voting method over in-person voting.