Forget About Nov. 2; Election Day is Now - NBC Bay Area

Forget About Nov. 2; Election Day is Now



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    Election Day is quickly turning into election month here in California. The polls are open for one day only on Nov. 2, but the voting starts now.

    Voting by mail is becoming an increasingly popular choice here in the Golden State. Mail-in ballots comprised 57.9 percent of the total votes cast in the June 8 primary.

    Many of the ballots are on their way to mail boxes across the state right now. You can vote as soon the ballot arrives. Votes just have to be back in county election offices by 8 p.m. Nov. 2.  Postmarks don't count.

    "When you vote by mail, your mailbox is your polling place," said Secretary of State Debra Bowen in a prepared statement.

    Bowen said Californians are opting to vote by mail because of its ease and convenience.

    Prior to 1978, only people who had a certified medical excuse or planned to be out of town on Election Day were allowed to vote through the mail. That all changed in 2001 when it became law that any registered voter may choose to become a permanent vote-by-mail voter.

    More than 6 million Californians are registered as permanent vote-by-mail voters. Hundreds of thousands more choose to cast their ballots through the mail on a one-time basis each election.

    Here's how it works: 

    • Vote-by-mail ballots may be mailed or dropped off at any polling place within the voter's county.
    • Once county elections officials determine the signature on the vote-by-mail ballot return envelope matches the voter's signature on his or her voter registration card, and the voter did not vote elsewhere in the same election, the ballot is counted.
    • You can request a vote-by-mail ballot by either using the application printed on the back of the sample ballot booklet mailed by county elections officials, or get it online at this link.