Vote by Mail FAQs
How much time do I have to return my Vote by Mail ballot?
Vote by Mail ballots must be received by the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division on or before 8 p.m. on Election Day, or be postmarked on or before Election Day and received by the Friday after Election Day.
You may drop off your Vote by Mail ballot at any Vote Center in the County, any city hall or at any of the four Voting Centers (Redwood City, San Mateo, East Palo Alto, and South San Francisco) before 8 p.m. Election Day and it will be counted.
What should I do if I think my Vote by Mail ballot will not arrive at the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division by the 8 p.m. deadline?
You may come use our 24-hour ballot drop box located at 40 Tower Road in San Mateo up until 8 p.m. on Election Day. Also, on Election Day, you may return your Vote by Mail ballot to any Vote Center, Ballot Drop-Off Box location, or city hall in San Mateo County between the hours of 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
What should I do if I cannot return my Vote by Mail ballot myself and it is too late to send it in the mail?
You may authorize a relative (spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, brother or sister) or any person residing in the same household to return your ballot. On the return envelope, you must sign your name and print the name of the person you are authorizing to return your ballot. That person must also sign in the space provided.
If I lose the Vote by Mail ballot sent to me, can I get another one?
Yes. Call the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division at 650.312.5222 and a second ballot will be sent to you. You must sign the statement sent to you with the second ballot indicating you have lost or did not receive your Vote by Mail ballot.
You may also go to any Vote Center.
I am out of the country and the mail is slow. Can I apply earlier than the normal 29 days?
Yes. Go to this website and follow the directions. You may receive a special Vote by Mail ballot that can be sent out as early as 60 days prior to an election.
I will be in another state during the election. How can I get a one-time ballot mailed to me there for this election if I’m not a military or overseas voter?
Voters who are traveling out of state during the election, can request a one-time Vote by Mail ballot to be sent to a temporary mailing address (the address where they’ll be during the election). Voters can request this ballot via phone, email, or on our website here.
How do I qualify for Permanent Vote by Mail status?
California allows any voter to request Permanent Vote by Mail status. Simply complete the online form. You can also call 650.312.5222 and request an application from our office. A Vote by Mail ballot will automatically be sent to you for all future special elections.
If I request a Vote by Mail ballot, can I change my mind and vote at any Vote Center?
Yes. If you have not already cast your ballot for the election, you may visit any Vote Center in the County to obtain a replacement ballot. Your previously issued ballot will be void upon the issuing of your replacement ballot.