California Election 2020: Everything to know about propositions, mail-in ballot vs. in-person voting, key dates and deadlines

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- From the differences between mail-in ballots and in-person voting to the key dates and deadlines. Here's a roundup of what you need to know about the 2020 election.

How to Vote In Person


All registered voters in California will receive a mail-in ballot. However, if you are not able to or do not want to vote by mail, here's what you need to know about voting in person.

Absentee vs. Mail-In


This year's election will rely more on ballots sent through the mail, than those cast in the ballot booth.

Go here for a look at the difference between voting by mail and absentee voting.

And go here to clear up any confusion you may have about mail-in voting amid the coronavirus pandemic.

How to Cast Your Ballot


Some things are different this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Here's how it'll work:

  • All registered voters in California will be mailed a ballot. (Three Bay area counties, Napa, San Mateo, and Santa Clara were already doing this).
  • Ballots will go out around the first week of October.
  • All vote by mail ballots in California come with prepaid postage.
  • You can return your ballot at any time up to and including Election Day, November 3.
  • The envelope must be sealed, signed, and dated.
  • It can be turned into your county election's office, a ballot drop box, a vote center, or any polling place.
  • If you're mailing it back, there's more time this year for it to arrive, because of concerns about the U.S. Postal Service.
  • A ballot with a postmark no later than November 3 can be received as late as November 20 and it will still count.

On Election Day you can vote in person, where stations will be set up six feet apart. While you're encouraged to wear a mask, you won't be refused your right to vote if you don't wear one.

See Gov. Gavin Newsom's executive order on mail-in voting here.

And you can register to vote here.

How to Track Your Ballot


As millions of Californians prepare to vote by mail in the November 2020 election, the state has launched a new tool that lets you see exactly where your ballot is.

Go here to find out how you can track your ballot mail-in ballot and see when it's counted.

California Propositions


There are 12 props on the California ballot. To help you sort out where you stand, we've put together an interactive guide to the 2020 propositions in California.

App users: For a better experience, click here to view the full map in a new window


You can also go here for everything you need to know about the the 2020 ballot measures.

Key Election Dates


  • Sept. 24 - Oct. 13: Voter information guides are mailed out (though some people had reported receiving them even earlier).

  • Oct. 5: Mail-in ballots start getting sent to voters and early voting starts in California. The state will send out mail-in ballots through Oct. 27.

  • Oct. 19: Last day to register to vote online or by mail. If you miss this deadline, you can still register to vote in-person at early voting locations or on Election Day, and then file a provisional ballot.

  • Oct. 27: Last day to request a mail-in ballot

  • Nov. 3: Election Day, the last day to vote in person or turn in your mail-in ballot

  • Nov. 20: The last day county elections offices can receive mail-in ballots, which must all be postmarked on or before Nov. 3.

Get the latest stories and videos about the 2020 election here.

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