Vote by Mail

Apply to Vote By Mail

Apply by Mail

You may use the application printed on the voter information guide that is mailed to you by your county elections official prior to every election. You may also visit or write to your county elections official for an application or you may use the California Vote-By-Mail Ballot Application (PDF).

After reading the instructions, type your information directly into the application, then print, sign, and date the application. Mail the completed application to your county elections office. Please do not mail it to the Secretary of State's office because this will delay receipt of your vote-by-mail ballot.

Any time after 7 days before Election Day, you will need to apply in person at your county elections office to request a vote-by-mail ballot for that election.

Apply by Telephone

Contact your county elections official to see if your county allows you to apply by telephone.

Lost Your Vote-By-Mail Ballot/Need a Replacement?

Apply for second ballot

If you failed to receive your vote-by-mail ballot or you have lost or destroyed your original ballot, contact your county elections official in order to be sent a second vote-by-mail ballot.

Late Vote-by-Mail Ballot Application

If you failed to receive vote-by-mail ballot or you have lost or destroyed your original vote-by-mail ballot, the timeframe to request a vote-by-mail ballot has passed, and you are unable to vote in person at the polls, you may apply in writing for a late vote-by-mail ballot. This application will need to be provided in person to the county elections official by you or your representative. (Elec. Code, § 3021.)

  1. Once you mark your ballot, fill out and sign the envelope, you can personally or through your authorized representative, submit your ballot either to your elections official or any polling place within your jurisdiction.
  2. California Late Vote-by-Mail Ballot Application Form (PDF)

Voting By Mail in Lake County

Instead of going to the polls on Election Day, you may vote using the vote-by-mail ballot that will be sent to you.

After you have voted, insert your ballot in the envelope provided, making sure you complete all required information on the envelope.

Voted Vote-by-Mail Ballots may be returned as follows:

  • Voted Ballots returned in person or by an authorized representative: Must be received by the Registrar of Voters office, Room 209, Courthouse, Lakeport or by any voting precinct board or Vote Center within the State of California no later than 8pm on Election Day.
  • If someone other than yourself is hand delivering your Voted Ballot to any polling place or Registrar of Voters office on Election Day, you must complete the Authorization Statement on your vote-by-mail ballot return envelope. In compliance with the California Elections Code, this office is not allowed to count your ballot without proper authorization.
  • Voted Ballots returned at Lake County Drop box locations: Must be received no later than 8pm on Election Day.
    • Drop boxes will available during the vote-by-mail period beginning 29 days before Election until 8pm on Election Day in front of the Courthouse or near or in front of the entrance to the Clearlake, Lakeport, Middletown, and Upper Lake County Library buildings.
  • Voted Ballots returned by mail delivery: Due to possible postal service delays in the General Election, as long as a voter’s ballot is POSTMARKED on or before Election Day, ballots will be accepted up to 17 days post-Election Day. Voters are advised to request to have their ballots POSTMARKED to assure that your ballot is received in a timely manner and can be counted.
    • You are advised to mail your voted ballot 7 to 10 days prior to Election Day to ensure your ballot is received in time to be processed and counted.
    • After you have voted make sure to sign the ID envelope, date it, seal it and return in your postage paid return envelope.

When your vote-by-mail ballot is received by the Lake County Registrar of Voters office, your signature on the return envelope will be compared to the signature on your voter registration card to ensure they match. To preserve the secrecy of your ballot, the ballot will then be separated from the envelope, and then it will be tallied.

All valid vote-by-mail ballots are counted in every election in California, regardless of the outcome or closeness of any race. For additional information on how and when ballots are verified and tabulated, please visit our description of how the official canvass of the vote is completed.

Voting for the First Time

When you registered to vote, you were asked to fill in your driver license number, California identification number, or the last four digits of your Social Security number. If you did not include this information when you registered, send a photocopy of some personal identification with your Vote-by-Mail Application or to your county elections official before the election.

A copy of a recent utility bill, the county Voter Information Guide you received from your county elections office, or another document sent to you by a government agency are examples of acceptable forms of identification. Other examples include your passport, driver license, official California identification card, or student identification card.

If your identity cannot be verified, then your Vote-by-Mail ballot envelope will not be opened. For more information on identification to use when you vote for the first time, check the complete list of acceptable forms of identification (PDF) or call the Secretary of State's toll-free voter hotline at (800) 345-VOTE (8683).

Status of your Vote-By-Mail Ballot

California Elections Code section 3017(c) requires county elections officials to establish procedures to track and confirm the receipt of voted vote-by-mail ballots and to make this information available by means of an online access system using the county's elections division web site or via a toll-free telephone number.

You may also check the status of your ballot by visiting, “My Voter Status.”

Where's My Ballot?

The California Secretary of State is now offering Where's My Ballot?—a new way for voters to track and receive notifications on the status of their vote-by-mail ballot. Powered by BallotTrax, Where's My Ballot? lets voters know where their ballot is, and its status, every step of the way.

A voter who has signed up will receive notices via email, text, or voice message from the county elections official regarding the status of the voter's vote-by-mail ballot including:

  • When the ballot has been delivered
  • The date that the voter's ballot is expected to be delivered to the voter
  • If the voter's ballot is returned as undeliverable to the county elections official by the USPS
  • When the voter's completed ballot has been received by the county
  • Whether the voter's completed ballot has been accepted or a reason why the ballot could not be accepted and instructions of steps the voter can take in order to have the ballot accepted
  • The deadline for the voter to return his or her ballot if the county has not received a voter's completed ballot by specified dates as determined by the county elections official

Sign-up at to receive automatic email, SMS (text), or voice call notifications about your ballot.

Where'sMyBallot? is available in every county in California.