Want to vote in person? Here's where to go, what to know in the Bay Area

ByBrandon Behle, Kris Reyes via KGO logo
Tuesday, October 6, 2020
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Not sure how to vote early in California? Here's what you need to know if you want to vote in-person and where to find your polling location for the November 2020 election.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Early voting has officially started in California and this year -- amid the coronavirus pandemic -- you have a few choices.

CA PROPS: Everything to know about the 2020 ballot measures

All registered voters in California will receive a mail-in ballot for the November 2020 election. However, if you are not able to or do not want to vote by mail, you can still vote in person. Here's what you need to know.

Is everyone really getting a ballot in the mail?

Yes, all registered voters in the California are getting a ballot in the mail. But that doesn't mean you have to vote by mail. You have three options: fill out your ballot and mail it back, fill out your ballot and drop it off at a ballot box, or take it to a polling location and exchange it for an in-person ballot and vote in person.

What is early voting and how can I do it?

Early voting refers to any voting option you do before the actual Election Day on Nov. 3, 2020. That includes dropping off your ballot at a polling location/ballot box beforehand, or going to an early polling location and turning in your vote-by-mail ballot in exchange for an in-person ballot.

When does early voting start?

California counties were required to send out ballots by Oct. 5. Many people have already received their ballots and drop-off locations are open, so early voting has started.

But in-person voting hasn't started everywhere. It depends on your county. Some counties are opening polling locations as early as Oct. 5, while others are waiting until Oct. 31 to start staffing polling locations.

Where can I vote in-person?

There are far fewer polling locations this year amid the pandemic, so don't expect to be able to vote where you did last election. If you'd like to vote in-person, you can search the state's directory of polling locations here. Select your county from the drop-down menu and check the box for "Early Voting." The directory also specifies which locations offer same-day voter registration.

RELATED: What you need to know about vote by mail in California

Is it safe to vote in person?

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla says mail-in ballots are the safest way to vote this election amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but for those who want to vote in-person, there are also safety measures in place. In-person voting locations will be required to implement social distancing measures and everyone is asked to wear masks. You may also see some plexiglass dividers and markers on the floor to space out people waiting in line.

Can I still register to vote?

Yes! The deadline to register to vote in California online or by mail is Monday, Oct. 19. If you miss this deadline, you can still register and vote, but you must do so in person at your country's registrar of voters office. You can register to vote in-person all the way up until and on Election Day.

What if I actually want to vote by mail?

That works too! And we've got you covered. Everything you need to know about mail-in voting can be found here.

CA PROPS: Everything to know about the 2020 ballot measures

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