Any registered California voter may choose to receive an Vote by Mail ballot and vote by mail instead of casting their ballot at their polling place on Election Day. The Elections Office must have a signed request in writing for an Vote by Mail ballot in order to mail a ballot to a voter. Ballots may be mailed anywhere in the world. To have one-time Vote by Mail status, the voter must apply by mail at least 7 days prior to an election or in person by 8 p.m. Election Day.
Beginning in 2002, California Election Code Section 3201 allows any voter to apply for permanent Vote by Mail voter status. The status previously had been available only to voters with certain disabilities. Permanent Vote by Mail voters receive a mail ballot for each election rather than having to request on each time. California voters can apply for permanent Vote by Mail status through the Elections Office at any time.
Voted Vote by Mail ballots must be received by the Elections Office by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day in order to be counted. The Vote by Mail ballot envelope must be signed by the voter in order to be counted. The signature on the outside of the envelope is verified on each and every Vote by Mail ballot received by the Elections Office.
Vote by Mail Ballot Request
Voters will receive a sample ballot pamphlet in the mail approximately 4 to 5 weeks prior to an election that they are eligible to vote in, or register in advance as a permanent Vote by Mail voter. The back cover of the sample ballot will have an application to request an Vote by Mail ballot. Complete, sign and mail the application to the Elections Office so that we receive it prior to the 7th day before the election, and the voter’s ballot will be mailed to the address specified on the application. Or, you may send a written request with the following information.
- The election the ballot is being requested for
- The voter's full name
- The voter's residence address
- The address the voter would like the ballot mailed to
- The voter's signature and the date of the request
- Telephone number (optional)
A voter may request an Vote by Mail Ballot Form from the Elections Office at 209-525-5200, or 209-525-5230 for Spanish language assistance.
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Voted Vote by Mail Ballot Return
A voter may return the voted Vote by Mail ballot by mail to the Stanislaus County Elections Office, 1021 I Street, Suite 101, Modesto, CA 95354, or by bringing it into the Elections Office or, by dropping it off at any Stanislaus County polling place on Election Day. If the voter is unable to return the ballot personally, the voter may have a relative (spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, brother or sister) deliver the ballot.
The Voter must remember to sign the ballot envelope or the Elections Office cannot count the ballot.
The Elections Office begins mailing out requested Vote by Mail ballots 29 days before the election and continues until the 7th day prior to the election. A voter may come into the office and pick up his or her ballot starting on the 29th day. The Elections Office will accept voted ballots beginning on the same day.
Because of the mail time to get the ballot to the voter and for the voter to mail the voted ballot back by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day, requests received after the 7th day before an election will not be mailed out. Voters may come into the Elections Office and pick up their ballots over the counter. If this is not possible, and may prohibit the voter from voting, the Elections Office will mail the ballot to the voter with the understanding that the voter is responsible for returning it on time to the Elections Office or to a Stanislaus County polling place in order to be counted.
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Mistakes Made On Vote by Mail Ballots
Contact the Elections Office for instructions on how to obtain a second ballot at 209-525-5200 or 209-525-5230 for assistance in Spanish if an Vote by Mail ballot is lost, destroyed, or a mistake is made that requires a second ballot.
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Concern Regarding Receipt Of Ballots By The Elections Office By Election Day
If a ballot is mailed prior to Election Day, but the voter has concerns that it may not have been received at the Elections Office on or before 8 p.m. Election Day, the voter may do the following:
- Cast a ‘provisional’ ballot which will be kept separate from the rest of the ballots in a sealed envelope until the status of the Vote by Mail ballot can be determined, or
- Contact Elections Office for more details.
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Requesting An Vote by Mail Ballot
Voters may either request an Vote by Mail ballot every time they want to vote by mail, or apply for permanent Vote by Mail ballot status. Call the Elections Office for more details.
Sign your ballot envelope or we cannot count your ballot.
The Elections Office will begin mailing out requested Vote by Mail ballots 29 days before an election and continuing until the 7th day prior to the election. A voter may come into the office and pick up his or her ballot starting on this 29th day. We will accept voted ballots beginning on the same day.
Because of the mail time to get the ballot to the voter and for the voter to return the voted ballot back by 8:00 p.m. on election night, requests received after the 7th day before an election will not be mailed out. Voters may come into the Elections Office and pick up their ballots over the counter. If this is not possible, and may prohibit a voter from voting, the Elections Office will mail a ballot with the understanding that you are responsible for returning it on time to the Elections Office or to a Stanislaus County polling place in order to be counted.
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Out Of The Country Voting
If you are in the Military or temporarily overseas you may qualify as a "Special Vote by Mail Voter." Your County Election Official will process these special Vote by Mail ballot applications as many as 60 days prior to the election. (Election Code 3103)
To apply for a "Special Vote by Mail Ballot" you may need to complete a "Federal Post Card Registration and Vote by Mail Ballot Request." To download the federal application, click on the link provided below:
Complete the application and either send it to our office via postal service at:
Stanislaus County Registrar of Voters
1021 "I" Street, Suite 101
Modesto, CA 95354
Or fax your completed application to us at 209-525-5803.
If you need further assistance or have any questions you can call us at 209-525-5200 or 209-525-5230 for assistance in Spanish. You can also email us at email@example.com
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Vote by Mail VOTING HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
It was not until the Civil War that anyone thought of "Vote by Mail voting." Although the new concept was not very successful during that period, it did enable soldiers and sailors to vote for the first time while on duty.
In 1896, Vermont passed the first statute extending the privilege of Vote by Mail voting to both civilians and military personnel. Most legislation pertaining to Vote by Mail voting has been introduced during wartime, when large numbers of eligible voters have been serving their country in the Armed Forces. Consequently, during World War II, Congress created a War Ballot Commission to help service members exercise their right to vote in the 1944 general election.
There have been several amendments to the Constitution of the United States to protect the right of citizens to vote, as well as acts of Congress such as the "Federal Voting Assistance Act" in 1955 and the "Overseas Citizens Voting Rights Act" in 1975. These laws were replaced by the "Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Vote by Mail Voting Act" (Public Law 99-410), which requires states to allow certain groups of citizens a reasonable opportunity to register and vote in presidential and congressional elections. Individuals covered under this law include members of the U.S. Armed Forces or Merchant Marines and their dependents, and citizens residing outside the United States. Additionally, states have passed laws which allow these citizens to register and vote Vote by Mail in federal and state elections.
Beginning in 2002, California Election Code Section 3201 allows any voter to apply for permanent Vote by Mail voter status. The status previously had been available only to voters with certain disabilities. Permanent Vote by Mail voters receive a mail ballot for each election rather than having to request on each time. California voters can apply for permanent Vote by Mail status through county elections offices at any time. As a protection against fraud, any permanent Vote by Mail voter who fails to cast a ballot in a statewide primary or general election will be removed from the list of permanent Vote by Mail voters but retains active voter status. Voters may re-apply for permanent Vote by Mail status at any time.
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Disclaimer: The information contained in these pages was valid at the time of publication. The County Clerk-Recorder & Registrar of Voters reserves the right to modify, update, change or make improvements at any time, without notice, and assumes no liability for damages incurred directly or indirectly as a result of errors, omissions or discrepancies.
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