California’s primary election will take place on March 5, Super Tuesday, along with more than a dozen other states. But voting will actually begin on Feb. 5 as soon as voters receive their ballots in the mail.
Here are some things to know about how to vote and where to access more information about the election:
How do I check if I’m registered to vote?
Voter registration status can be checked at the secretary of state’s office here. You’ll need to enter your name, date of birth and either your driver’s license or state ID number, or the last four digits of your Social Security number.
You may have to re-register if you have changed your name or moved and haven’t notified the Department of Motor Vehicles or the U.S. Postal Service.
Can I still register to vote?
The last day to register to vote is Feb. 20. You can submit an application through the secretary of state’s office at this website.
Eligible Californians who miss the deadline can still cast a ballot by completing a conditional voter registration application at their county elections office, vote center or polling place. Such ballots are not tallied until county elections officials verify that the applicant is eligible to vote in the election.
If you’re not affiliated with a political party:
Nearly 4.8 million Californians are registered as having no party preference, more than 1 out of 5 of every registered voter in the state. If one wants to vote in the presidential primary, one must take extra steps.
No-party-preference voters who want to cast ballots for presidential candidates in the Democratic, Libertarian or American Independent primary must request a ballot from their county elections office. An application and methods to submit it can be found here.
Alternatively, Californians voting in person at an early voting center or polling place can request a ballot for these three political parties when they check in.
Voters who want to cast ballots in the Republican, Green or Peace and Freedom presidential primary must register with these parties. Voters can switch their party affiliation online here. After Feb. 20, registration must be changed in person at a county elections office, vote center or polling place.
Where can I find out what’s on the ballot?
Voter guides have been mailed to all registered voters. They can also be found in multiple languages here.
Presidential, congressional and legislative races are among the contests on the ballot.
Here is information Times reporters gathered about the races:
How can I vote by mail?
County elections officials are expected to begin mailing ballots to all registered voters by Feb. 5. These ballots can be returned by mail or at drop-off locations scheduled to open the next day, a county elections office or a polling place.
If you live in Los Angeles County, you can find a list of drop-off locations here.
If anyone other than the registered voter is returning the ballot, the voter must fill out authorization information on the ballot envelope.
If you are mailing your ballot, it must be postmarked by March 5 and received by March 12.
How can I vote in person?
In a wide swath of the state, early in-person voting centers will open on Feb. 24, including in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Diego and Ventura counties. Here’s where to find information for your county: https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voting-resources/county-elections-offices
On election day, voters can cast ballots at their polling places between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Polling places should be listed on your mail ballot or can be found at https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/polling-place.
How can I make sure my vote gets counted?
Voters can track their ballots by registering their name, date of birth and ZIP Code on the secretary of state’s website here. They will be able to see when their ballot was received and counted.
What happens after election day?
Many races will be called shortly after the polls close at 8 p.m. on election day, and others will be updated throughout the evening on the secretary of state’s election results website at electionresults.sos.ca.gov.
But the results of some close contests may not be known for days or weeks, as county elections officials tally ballots, particularly those received after election day. Vote counts will be updated at 5 p.m. on following days, and official results will be posted by April 12 at sos.ca.gov/elections.