For the moment, at least, forget about Election Day. In California, balloting for the state’s June 3 primary starts today, which is 29 days before the actual election day.
Across the state, county elections officials are mailing vote-by-mail ballots for the June 3 election. That means anyone signed up to vote-by-mail should be getting their official ballots later this week.
Those voters can cast their ballots immediately and return them.
But whether a ballot is cast by mail or in a polling place, all ballots must be received by county elections officials no later than 8:00 p.m. on election day. Postmarks do not count, the Secretary of State’s office says.
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Secretary of State Debra Bowen said in a news release that voting by mail has been around for decades, but its popularity has increased since 1979. Starting that year, any registered voter in the state could choose to vote by mail for any reason at all.
Recent trends show voters like the option.
In the June 2012 presidential primary, 65% of voters cast their ballots by mail. More than 51% of ballots cast in the November 2012 general election were mailed.
The last day to request a vote-by-mail ballot is May 27. A registered voter may obtain a vote-by-mail application online at www.sos.ca.gov/elections/vote-by-mail/pdf/fill-in-vote-by-mail-app-instruct.pdf or use the application in the voter’s sample ballot booklet mailed by the county elections office.
Military and overseas ballots were mailed in April.
May 19: Last day to register to vote
May 27: Last day to request a vote-by-mail ballot by mail
June 3: Primary Election Day
Nov. 4: General Election Day
Fresno County: 2221 Kern St., Fresno; details: fblinks.com/fcvote or (559) 600-VOTE (8683)
Tulare County: 5951 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia; details: fblinks.com/tcvote or (559) 624-7300
Kings County: 1400 W. Lacey Blvd., Hanford; details: fblinks.com/kcvote or (559) 582-3211, ext. 4401
Madera County: 200 W. Fourth St., Madera; details: fblinks.com/madvote or (559) 675-7720
Merced County: 2222 M St., Merced; details: fblinks.com/mervote or (209) 385-7541
Mariposa County: 4982 10th St., Mariposa; details: fblinks.com/marvote or (209) 966-2007