Permanent Vote by Mail


Effective January 1, 2002, the California Elections Code allows any registered voter to become a Permanent Vote by Mail voter (Chapter 922, AB 1520, 2001 Statutes).

When an application for Permanent Vote by Mail status is received and processed by the Registration & Elections Division, all election materials including an official ballot will automatically be mailed to the voter for each election in which the voter is qualified to participate, usually within 20 days before an election. The voter no longer needs to submit a Vote by Mail ballot request for each subsequent election.

Failure to vote in four consecutive statewide elections, however, will cancel your Permanent Vote by Mail status. This will not affect your active voter registration status. If this happens, you can reapply to become a Permanent Vote by Mail voter.

If you wish to obtain further information, please call the Registration & Elections Division at 650.312.5222 or email

Emergency Vote by Mail Voting – Authorized Ballot Pickup

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.

Overseas Voting – Uniformed and Overseas Voters

San Mateo County voters who are overseas or in the military may register and apply for an absentee ballot by completing a Federal Post Card Application form (Standard Form 76). This form is available at your local US Embassy or by visiting the Federal Voting Assistance Program website.