Vote by Mail

Vote by Mail Unit
Phone: (530) 886-5650
Toll-free: 1-800-824-8683
Email: [email protected]

If you have any questions not answered on this page or need further clarification, please call our office, send us an email, or visit us at the Elections Office in Rocklin.

Table of Contents

Receiving and Returning Your Ballot

Vote by mail allows individuals to vote without going in person to a vote center.

As of September 27, 2021, every active registered voter is provided a vote-by-mail ballot for every election in which they are eligible to vote. (AB 2608) The Elections Office will mail out ballots by the 29th day before each election and continue until seven days before Election Day. (Election Code § 3000)

Alternatively, voters may vote in person at our main office in Rocklin beginning 29 days before the election and up until 8:00 PM on Election Day. Certain vote centers open 10 days before the election, with the remainder opening 3 days before Election Day. It is recommended, but not required, that you bring your vote-by-mail ballot with you to in-person voting locations to surrender it.

Be sure to sign the return envelope for your voted ballot, or your ballot cannot be counted. If you are unable to return your voted ballot yourself, you may authorize a representative to deliver the ballot for you.

Ballots may be returned by mail, at an official drop box, at any vote center, or at the Elections Office in Rocklin. Look for locations and times of drop boxes and vote centers on our website under “Where to Vote” or in your county voter information guide. You may also drop off your ballot at any out-of-county drop box, vote center, or polling place in California and it will be forwarded to us.

To be counted, voted ballots must be received by the Elections Office no later than 8:00 PM on Election Day or received up to seven days after Election Day if postmarked on or before Election Day. Consider mailing your ballot back early.

Note: Since all voters now receive a vote-by-mail ballot, “Permanent Vote by Mail” (PVBM) status is no longer used.

Temporary or Seasonal Mailing Address Change

If you want to receive your ballot at an address other than the mailing address on your voter record for a particular election or range of dates, we have several options available to you.

  • One-time Mailing Address Request:
    Have your ballot sent to a different address for an upcoming election, prior to the 29th day before Election Day when ballots are mailed out. If it is past this date, see the Replacement Ballot Request section.
  • Seasonal Mailing Address:
    Tell us to set a range of dates when you will be staying at a different mailing address. You can provide multiple date ranges and choose whether to have them recur yearly. This is helpful if you regularly stay at a vacation home, college dorm, or other living arrangement that temporarily changes where you receive mail.
  • Military and Overseas:
    See the Military and Overseas Voters section.

To set up either the one-time mailing address change or seasonal mailing address, contact the Elections Office by phone, email, mail, or in person.

  • If you choose email or mail, make sure to include your full name, Placer County residence address, and date of birth to confirm your identity so that we can make changes to your voter record.
  • For one-time requests, also include the name and date of the election.
  • For seasonal requests, also include the date range(s) and whether they should recur yearly.
  • For written requests, it is helpful if you include your phone number and/or email address, in case there is an issue processing your request

Military and Overseas Voter

See main page: Military and Overseas Voting Program

Military and overseas voters receive certain benefits through the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA). To qualify, a voter must be absent from the county in which he or she is otherwise eligible to vote who is any of the following: (Elections Code § 300(b))

  • A member of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, or Space Force; Merchant Marines; a member of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps; a member of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps of the U.S.; or a member on activated status of the National Guard or state militia.
  • Residing outside the U.S.
  • A spouse or dependent of any of the above (must live out of the county)
  • A person born outside the U.S., who is a U.S. citizen and who has not registered to vote in any other state, and their parent/legal guardian was a Placer County resident when parent/legal guardian was last living in the U.S.

To update your registration status as military or overseas, you must re-register to vote and select the appropriate classification. You can do so at registertovote.ca.gov or with a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA).

UOCAVA voters receive their ballot 45 to 60 days before every election, rather than the usual 29 days. They also have the option to receive their ballot by mail, email, or fax and return their voted ballot by mail or fax.

If faxing: You may return your ballot by fax only if you are living outside the territorial limits of the United States or are called for military service within the United States on or after the seventh day before Election Day. 

Remote Accessible Vote by Mail (RAVBM)

See main page: Remote Accessible Vote by Mail

Even if you do not qualify as a military or overseas voter, you may choose to receive your ballot electronically. The main difference is that you will receive the link for your ballot by email 29 days, rather than 45 to 60 days, before Election Day, and you cannot return it by fax.

The remote accessible ballot allows you to mark the ballot using your own computer and assistive devices, such as screen readers. The ballot must be printed out and returned by mail, in a ballot drop box, at a vote center, or at our office. Like all ballots, to be counted they must be received by the Elections Office no later than 8:00 PM on Election Day or received up to seven days after Election Day and postmarked on or before Election Day.

Replacement Ballot Request

You have several options to request a replacement ballot, should you make a mistake on, lose, or damage your ballot, or otherwise need a new one. Please note, you can receive at most two (2) replacement ballots. (Elections Code § 14288)

  • Fill out and submit a Replacement Vote-by-Mail Ballot Application for the current election by mail or in person at the Elections Office located at 3715 Atherton Road, Rocklin, CA 95765. For added convenience, the Placer County Elections Office may be open on weekends before an election. For election-specific hours, see the Current Elections page.
  • Submit a written request to the Elections Office. Written requests must include your original wet signature, full name, Placer County residence address, date of birth, the name and date of the election you are requesting a ballot for, the mailing address you wish the ballot to be sent to (if different from your residence address), and optionally your phone number and/or email address, in case there is an issue processing your request. Please include the following statement with your written request:
    • “By requesting a replacement vote-by-mail ballot, I hereby certify that I did not receive a vote-by-mail ballot for this election, or if I did receive a ballot, that ballot has been lost or destroyed. I certify under penalty of perjury that the information I have provided is true and correct.”
  • The last day, by law, to request a vote-by-mail ballot is seven days before an election. If it is past this date, either vote in person or contact our office at 530-886-5650 (toll-free at 1-800-824-8683) for more information as we may be able to provide other accommodations.
    • Visit a vote center up to 10 days before Election Day or the Elections Office up to 29 days before Election Day to vote in person.

All requests should be sent to:

Placer County Elections Office
3715 Atherton Road Ste 2
Rocklin, CA 95765

Crossover Ballots for No Party Preference Voters

California uses a modified-closed Primary, which allows crossover voting for No Party Preference voters during a Presidential Primary Election (as well as voters affiliated with unqualified political parties). A Presidential Primary is the only election in which your political party affiliation affects the ballot you receive. A crossover ballot is like a qualified party’s ballot except for the absence of county central committee races. Qualified political parties notify the Secretary of State before each Presidential Primary Election to state whether they will permit crossover voting for No Party Preference (Nonpartisan) voters.

Before every Presidential Primary, the Placer County Elections Office sends a postcard to all unaffiliated voters informing them of the parties that will allow crossover voting that year. The postcard lets unaffiliated voters choose to receive a crossover ballot or decline and receive a No Party Preference ballot without any presidential candidates. You may also request a crossover ballot by submitting a written statement to our office by mail or in person. Your statement must include your original wet signature, full name, Placer County residence address, date of birth, and the party ballot requested.

If you would prefer to vote a party’s regular ballot or vote for presidential candidates of parties that are not permitting crossover voting, you must re-register to vote and change your political party affiliation.

Frequently Asked Questions: Vote by Mail

Do I have to request a vote-by-mail ballot for every election?

No. Every voter receives a vote-by-mail ballot now for every election in which they are eligible to vote, regardless of their previous Permanent Vote by Mail status.

What if my ballot does not arrive in the mail?

You can sign up for tracking notifications from the Secretary of State’s BallotTrax system at wheresmyballot.sos.ca.gov. BallotTrax will show the status of your ballot in its dashboard as well, or you can use Placer County’s Vote by Mail Tracking tool. You can check whether your voter record is active using either the Secretary of State’s Voter Status tool or Placer County’s Am I Registered tool.

You can also contact the Elections Office at 530-886-5650 (toll-free at 1-800-824-8683) or [email protected] to confirm your ballot status, the date your ballot was issued, and your voter registration status.

If necessary, a replacement ballot can be issued. See the Replacement Ballot Request section above.

How will I receive information about candidates and measures?

The Secretary of State mails every household with registered voters in California a state voter information guide for statewide candidates and measures, unless the voter has opted to receive an electronic voter information guide by email. The Placer County Elections Office mails every active registered voter a county voter information guide, detailing all local candidates and measures, and has an opt-out system.

The state voter information guide is available on the Secretary of State’s website. You can view an online version of your specific county voter information guide on the Your Voter Guide website.

You may opt out of paper voter information guides through the Secretary of State’s Voter Status tool or on our website’s opt-out page. You must provide an email to receive an electronic guide instead. This email is for internal use only. You may also opt out by phone, email, or in person if you provide your full name, Placer County residence address, date of birth, and the opt-out email where you want to receive your electronic voter information guides.

How do I vote using a vote-by-mail ballot?

To successfully complete a vote-by-mail ballot, you must:

  • Follow the directions included with your vote-by-mail ballot.
  • Use a black or dark blue ink pen and completely fill in the oval next to each candidate or measure on which you are voting.
  • Place your voted ballot in the return envelope provided, sign the envelope, print your full name and address on the back, and optionally include a phone number or email address in case we determine that your signature does not match your voter record and need further outreach.
    • Be sure that your signature matches what you put on your voter record. Ballots in envelopes missing a signature or with non-matching signatures risk not being counted. We will attempt to reach you by phone, email, and with a letter to verify your signature and count your ballot.
  • Return your voted ballot to the Elections Office for processing using any of the methods explained in the Receiving and Returning Your Ballot section above.

To be counted, voted ballots must be received by the Elections Office no later than 8:00 PM on Election Day or received up to seven days after Election Day if postmarked on or before Election Day. Consider mailing your ballot back early.

What if I make a mistake on, lose, or damage my vote-by-mail ballot?

You can request up to two (2) replacement ballots. See the Replacement Ballot Request section above.

What if I move to a new residence?

By law, election mail—including ballots and voter information guides—cannot be forwarded. You will need to re-register to vote to receive a vote-by-mail ballot at your new address. Your ballot will be sent to the mailing address currently listed on your voter record before every election in which you are eligible to vote. If you move or change your mailing address and do not update your contact information, your ballot will be returned to the Elections Office as undeliverable.

You can check which address you are registered at using either Placer County’s Am I Registered tool or the Secretary of State’s Voter Status tool.

How do I vote if I am not in Placer County during the election?

See the Temporary or Seasonal Mailing Address Change and Remote Accessible Vote by Mail (RAVBM) sections above.

If you are a member of the armed forces or residing overseas, see the Military and Overseas Program page. If eligible, you will receive your ballot 45 to 60 days before the election rather than 29 days before.

Can someone else pick up my replacement vote-by-mail ballot?

Yes. A replacement ballot can be issued to an authorized representative by following three steps.

  • The voter follows the steps outlined in the Replacement Ballot Request section above.
  • Along with the replacement ballot form, the voter submits a written request, signed under penalty of perjury, requesting that a ballot be provided to their representative.
  • The authorized representative signs an acknowledgment of receipt of the ballot. A form is provided to the representative at the Elections Office counter.

What should I do if I think the Elections Office may not receive my voted ballot in time by mail?

You can vote in person at any vote center in the county or the main Elections Office in Rocklin. If you are out of county, you can request a ballot with Remote Accessible Vote by Mail (RAVBM). See the RAVBM section above or contact the Elections Office at 530-886-5650 (toll-free at 1-800-824-8683) or [email protected] for more information.

Does the Elections Office count all vote-by-mail ballots?

Every vote-by-mail ballot received by our office is counted if these conditions are met:

  • The envelope was received by 8:00 PM on Election Day, or has a postmark dated no later than Election Day and is received by our office in the mail no later than seven days after Election Day.
  • The envelope has a verifiable signature, or follow-up with the voter has been successful to “cure” the signature: the voter provided a signed statement confirming the ballot is theirs.
  • The return envelope contains one, and only one, ballot.

What happens if my return envelope signature is missing or does not match?

Signatures are matched to the current signature on the voter’s record as well as any signatures on previous affidavits of registration. If there is a match, the ballot inside is counted. If no signature is present or no match is found, we attempt to contact you by phone, email, or one of these two letters in the mail:

We must receive the appropriate form back in our office with a signature at the very latest by two days before the end of the official canvass period (dates vary depending on the election). Shortly after this date, we complete the canvass and certify the results of the election. (Elections Code § 3019)

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