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Stanislaus County
Elections
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  • Vote by Mail / Vote by Mail Voting

Questions

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Questions About Voter Registration

For additional information see Voter Registration Information on this site.

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Questions About Vote by Mail

For additional information see Vote by Mail Voting.

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Questions About Voting

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QUESTIONS ABOUT MULTILINGUAL SERVICES

For additional information on bilingual services, to request an interpreter OR to request bilingual materials prior to an election call our Spanish language assistance hotline at 209-525-5230

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QUESTIONS ABOUT VOTERS WITH DISABILITIES

For additional information, see Services for Voters with Disabilities.

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QUESTIONS ABOUT RUNNING FOR OFFICE

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MISCELLANEOUS INFORMATION

For additional information and services not addressed in our FAQ's, please see the homepage or call 209-525-5200 or 209-525-5230 for assistance in the Spanish language.

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IMPORTANT CONTACT NUMBERS

California Secretary of State 800-345-VOTE
Stanislaus County Registrar of Voters (English) 209-525-5200
(Spanish) 209-525-5230
Telephone Device for Deaf, TDD 209-525-5245

For additional information and services not addressed in our FAQ's, please see the homepage or call 209-525-5200 or 209-525-5230 for assistance in the Spanish language.

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QUESTIONS ABOUT VOTER REGISTRATION

Q: Who can register to vote?

A: You may register to vote if you meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • A citizen of the United States;
  • A resident of California;
  • At least 18 years of age as of the day of the next election;
  • Not in prison or on parole for the conviction of a felony;
  • and not declared to be mentally incompetent by a court

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Q: When can I register to vote?

A: There is no waiting period; you may register or re-register to vote at any time. To be eligible to vote in an election you must have registered by 15 days prior to the election.

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Q: How can I get a form to register to vote?

A: You may register to vote:

  • By mail: Mail-in registration forms are widely available at most County buildings, post offices, libraries, city halls, fire stations, Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offices and public assistance offices (CSA, WIC).
  • By phone: call the registrar's office at 209-525-5200 or 209-525-5230 for Spanish language assistance; 209-525-5245 (Telephone Device for Deaf, TDD). Registration forms are also available by calling the California Secretary of State's office at 1-800-345-VOTE.
  • In Person: Go to the Stanislaus County Elections Office;
  • At any City Clerk's office in the state or County or voter registration event anywhere in California;
  • At the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV): Fill out a voter registration form when applying for or renewing your driver's license or California State ID card;

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Q: May I register to vote at my business address or may I use my P.O. Box number?

A: No. A person may only register to vote at his or her place of residence. A business address or a P.O. Box number may only be used as a mailing address.

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Q: When is it necessary to re-register?

A: You may register to vote:

  • When you move, change your name or wish to change your political party affiliation. Your voter registration should always reflect your current residence address to ensure that you receive the correct ballot material regarding candidates and measures on which you can vote.

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Q: What if I just moved and did not re-register? Will I be eligible to vote?

A: If you were previously registered within Stanislaus County and moved within the County's borders, you can vote at the polling place for your new address. You should bring your California Driver's License or California State ID Card with your current address or TWO of the following forms of identification that include your name and current residence address:

  • Mail addressed to the voter at current residence address
  • Utility bill
  • Credit card bill
  • Military identification
  • College or university fee card or student identification card
  • Lease agreement
  • Mortgage statement
  • Property tax statement
  • Income tax return
  • Bank statement
  • Preprinted check or bank deposit slip
  • Vehicle registration
  • Sworn statement from another voter in the precinct, stating that he or she knows and can identify the person who is attempting to vote and attesting to the name and residence address of the person attempting to vote. This sworn statement must be given in the presence of a poll worker at the polling place.

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Q: I did not vote in the last election. Do I need to re-register?

A: No. You are registered to vote as long as you remain at the same address and you should continue to receive election materials in the mail. However, if you move to a different address or have not voted in the last several elections, you may be sent a notice requesting that you confirm that you have not moved or provide current residence address information. Your registration may be canceled for failure to respond to an address confirmation mailing or if you have not voted at any elections between the date of the mailing and two consecutive federal general elections.

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Q: How is the information on voter registration cards used?

A: Information on voter registration cards will be used by elections officials to send voters official information on the voting process, such as the polling place location and the issues and candidates that will appear on the ballot. Commercial use of voter registration information is prohibited by law and is a misdemeanor. Voter information may be provided to a candidate for office, a ballot measure committee, or other persons for election, scholarly, journalistic, political, or governmental purposes, as determined by the Secretary of State. Driver’s license and Social Security numbers, or your signature as shown on your voter registration card, cannot be released for these purposes. If you have any questions about the use of voter information or wish to report suspected misuse of such information, please call the Secretary of State’s Voter Protection and Assistance Hotline. Certain voters facing life-threatening situations may qualify for confidential voter status. For more information, please contact the Secretary of State’s Safe At Home program or visit the Secretary of State’s Web site. The next question also provides some information on confidential voters.

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Q: I would like to register and vote but I am a public figure. Will my address be made public?

A: You can be declared a Confidential Voter By Order of Superior Court or Safe at Home Program. Any person may have his/her residence address, telephone number and email address declared confidential upon order of the Superior Court or upon presentation of certification that the person is a participant in the Secretary of State's Address Confidentiality for Victims of Domestic Violence and Stalking Program.

  • Any person granted confidentiality under these circumstances shall be considered a vote by mail voter for all subsequent County elections or until the County is notified otherwise by the court, the Secretary of State's office or in writing by the voter.

Under current state law, voter registration information is a matter of public record. Public access to specific voter information, including home address and telephone number, however, is restricted.

Exceptions: Confidential voter information is available to:

  • Candidates
  • Central Committees
  • Authorized persons who use this information for election purposes or scholarly, journalistic (media), political or governmental uses

 

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Q: I became a "new citizen" after the registration deadline. Can I still register and vote?

A: Yes. Persons who become citizens after the close of registration may only vote at the Elections Office between the 14th and 7th day before an election. New citizens must present a Certificate of Naturalization and declare that they have established residency in Stanislaus County.

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Q: Can an ex-felon register to vote and be eligible to vote?

A: Yes. An ex-felon can register to vote and is eligible to vote in elections if he/she is not in prison or on parole for a felony conviction.

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Q: How can I obtain a voter complaint form?

A: Click here

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Q: I registered at a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office. Why does the County say I'm not registered?

A: A number of citizens who thought they had registered at DMV offices are not actually registered. Although they checked the box on the DMV form indicating they wanted to register to vote, many forgot to complete the attached voter registration form. A voter registration form must be completed and signed in order to become a registered voter.

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Q: Why is the DMV involved in voter registration?

A: The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (also known as Motor Voter) permits persons conducting business at a DMV office to register to vote or update voter registration information.

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Q: May I sign a petition if I am not registered to vote?

A: No. You must be a registered voter for your signature to be valid on a petition. If you complete and sign a voter registration form on the same date or a date prior to signing the petition, your signature will be valid. The elections official must receive the completed/signed voter registration form on or before the date the petition is filed with the elections office.

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Q: Is it true that voter registration lists are used to select citizens for jury duty?

A: Yes. California State Statutes require that lists of registered voters be provided to the Jury Commissioner to be used for jury duty selection.

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Q: If I cancel my voter registration, can I be certain that I will not get a summons for jury duty?

A: No. The Jury Services Division requests a list of active and canceled voter files. Additionally, California State Statutes require that lists of licensed drivers, obtained from Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), also be made available to the Jury Commissioner. For additional information regarding voter registration, see Voter Registration on the the Registrar of Voters website.

 

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QUESTIONS ABOUT VOTE BY MAIL BALLOTS

Q: How can I vote a vote by mail ballot?

A: Rather than going to the polling place to cast a ballot on Election Day, you may request a vote by mail ballot. Any registered voter may apply for a vote by mail ballot. Applying is easy. Simply select one of the following options:

  • By Mail: 1.) Complete the vote by mail ballot application that is on the back cover of the sample ballot (sent to you prior to each election) and mail to the County Elections Office.
  • By Mail: 2.)Send a signed letter requesting vote by mail status to the Stanislaus County Clerk-Recorder & Registrar of Voters Office at 1021 "I" Street, Suite 101, Modesto, CA 95354.
  • By Fax: The fax number for the Stanislaus County Clerk-Recorder & Registrar of Voters Office is 209-525-5802.
  • If you apply in writing or by fax, your request must include your name, your residence/home address, the mailing address where you want your vote by mail ballot to be sent and the name and the date of the election for which you are applying. Remember to sign and date your request!
  • By Internet: Download and complete a vote by mail ballot application from our website under the “Vote by Mail Voting” section. Further information can be obtained by calling the office at 209-525-5200 or 209-525-5230 for Spanish language assistance.
  • By Telephone: Call the Elections Office at 209-525-5201 and ask for a onetime switch to vote by mail. A permanent switch cannot be done over the phone. Phone requests must be made at least seven days before an election.

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Q: When do I apply for an vote by mail ballot?

A: You may request a vote by mail ballot:

  • For military and overseas civilian voters, as early as 60 days prior to an election. For other voters, vote by mail ballots are mailed beginning on the first legal day to mail, which is 29 days prior to an election. The elections official cannot accept any mail applications less than 7 days (6 or less days) prior to an election.
  • During the final 6 days prior to an election. If you become ill, disabled or find that you will be away from your polling place on Election Day, you may vote an emergency vote by mail ballot. You can vote in person at the Elections Office or send in a written/signed request for a vote by mail ballot authorizing another person to bring you the ballot and return it to the Elections Office or any polling place after you have voted.

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Q: When is the first day to apply for a vote by mail ballot for an election?

A: Sixty days prior to an election is the first day to submit an application for an election. Mailing of vote by mail ballots begins 29 days prior to the election.

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Q: When is the last day to apply for a vote by mail ballot for an election?

A: Seven days prior to the election is the last day to apply for a vote by mail ballot application for the election. However, if you become ill, disabled or find that you will be away from your polling place on Election Day, 6 days prior to an election, you may vote an emergency vote by mail ballot. You can vote in person at the Clerk-Recorder & Registrar of Voters office or send in a written/signed request authorizing another person to bring you the ballot and return it to the Elections Office or any polling place, after you have voted.

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Q: When is the last day to return my vote by mail ballot?

A: Mailed ballots must be postmarked by Election Day. Hand-delivered ballots must be dropped off a poll or the Elections Office by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Voters must sign their vote by mail envelope for a ballot to count. All signatures are verified against the voter registration file.

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Q: How do I turn in my vote by mail ballot on Election Day?

A: You may return it in person to any precinct polling place in the County or to the Elections Office by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day. If, because of illness or physical disability, you are unable to return the ballot yourself, you may authorize, in writing, a spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, brother or sister or person living in the same household to return the ballot to the Elections Office or to any polling place within the County by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

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Q: Are there circumstances under which a voter can be required to vote a vote by mail ballot?

A: Yes. If a voting precinct has 250 or less registered voters on the 88th day prior to an election, that precinct can be declared a "mail ballot precinct” by the Registrar of Voters due to the unavailability of voting locations and poll workers in small precincts. All voters in such designated precincts will automatically be sent vote by mail ballots for that election.

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Q: I am physically challenged/disabled and I must vote by mail. Do I have to apply for a vote by mail ballot for each election?

A: No. You can apply for "permanent vote by mail voter" status. Once on file as a permanent vote by mail voter, you will no longer have to apply for future elections. A ballot will automatically be mailed to you for each election. A spouse or other person who resides with you may also want to apply for permanent vote by mail voter status. Once a voter receives permanent vote by mail voter status, he/she will retain this status as long as he/she casts a ballot in all statewide elections. For additional information on becoming a permanent vote by mail voter, please refer to your sample ballot booklet or call the Elections Office at 209-525-5200 or 209-525-5230 for Spanish language assistance.

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Q: If I request a vote by mail ballot, can I change my mind and still vote at my polling place?

A: Yes, if you bring your vote by mail ballot to the polling place and surrender it to the poll workers before voting a regular precinct ballot. If you do not have your vote by mail ballot to surrender, you will be allowed to cast a ballot provisionally at the polling place. Your provisionally cast ballot will be counted after the elections official confirms that you did not previously vote using a vote by mail ballot for that election.

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Q: I received a vote by mail application from a political campaign. Is this legal to use?

A: Yes. Individuals, organizations and groups may distribute vote by mail ballot applications; however, they must use the standard format as specified in California Elections Code. Election officials are not responsible for vote by mail ballot applications mailed to these individuals or groups. To ensure your ballot is mailed to you in a timely manner, it is recommended that you fax, mail or bring your application directly to the Elections Office.

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QUESTIONS ABOUT VOTING

Q: Where do I go to vote / where is my polling place?

A: Your polling place location is printed on the back cover of your sample ballot booklet. Please check the polling place address for each election because locations often change. Also, poll locations are available on our website or by calling 209-525-5200 or 209-525-5230 for Spanish language assistance. You might also consider asking a neighbor, since it is likely they are assigned to the same precinct polling place. In the month before an election, check your polling place online.

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Q: What are the poll hours of operation?

A: County election polling places are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

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Q: Why was my polling place changed?

A: Polling locations may change from election to election if a facility previously used is not available for a particular election. Changes to precinct boundaries may sometimes occur when precincts are consolidated or realigned, especially for local elections. Voters should refer to their sample ballot booklet to make sure that they go to the correct polling place location. In the month before an election, check your polling place online

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Q: What do I do if my polling place is not open when I arrive election morning?

A: Check the address on the back cover of your sample ballot booklet to make sure you have gone to the right location. Polling places often change between elections. If you are at the correct location, call the Elections Office at 209-525-5200 or 209-525-5230 for Spanish language assistance to report that the polling place is not open.

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Q: Can I take my sample ballot or my own written voting choices into the voting booth?

A: Yes. It is recommended that you mark your voting choices in your sample ballot and take it to your poll location on Election Day to use as a reference. This will allow you to vote your ballot quickly. Remember to take your sample ballot out of the voting booth after you have completed voting.

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Q: If I do not know what to do when I get to the polling place, will someone help me?

A: Yes. Ask the poll workers to help you with the voting process. Poll workers cannot, however, help you in making decisions on your voting choices.

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Q: Can I vote for someone whose name is not listed on the ballot?

A: Yes. If the person is a qualified write-in candidate. Only votes for qualified write-in candidates will be counted. Ask poll workers or call the County Elections Office for a list of those candidates. They can also assist you with write-in voting procedures.

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Q: What are the qualified political parties?

A: American Independent Party, Democratic Party, Green Party, Libertarian Party, Peace and Freedom Party and Republican Party. California law also permits you to register as a nonpartisan voter (meaning that you are not affiliated with any of these parties). Nonpartisan voters may or may not be allowed to vote for partisan candidates in primary elections depending on party-adopted rules.

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Q: What is Fail Safe voting?

A: Voters who have moved within Stanislaus County and did not re-register to vote may vote as "Fail Safe" voters.

In 1983 a process for voting provisionally was added to California law under California Elections Code § 14310. The process provided that any voter claiming to be properly registered was entitled to vote even though the voter's qualification or entitlement to vote could not be immediately established.

An additional code section, Elections Code §14311, was added by Chapter 919 in 1995 in response to provisions of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA/"Motor Voter") Section 8 (e)(2)(A)(ii)(II) known as "Fail Safe."

Provisionally cast ballots only counted when:

  • It is established from records within the Elections Office that the voter meets the criteria to cast a ballot in the election; or
  • By order of the Superior Court in the county of the voter's residence

PROOF OF RESIDENCE REQUIRED:

Voters who moved within Stanislaus County and did not re-register to vote will be required to show proof of residence. Documents that can be used as proof of residence include either:

  1. Driver's license or state identification card with the voter's name and NEW residence address printed on it;

    OR

  2. TWO of the following documents. Both must contain the voter's name and the current address where the voter lives as found under the California Code of Regulations § 20107.
    1. Military identification
    2. College or university fee card or student identification
    3. Lease agreement
    4. Mortgage statement
    5. Property tax statement
    6. Income tax return
    7. Utility bill
    8. Credit card bill
    9. Bank statement
    10. Preprinted check or bank deposit slip
    11. Mail addressed to the voter at his or her current residence address
    12. Sworn statement given in the presence of a poll worker at the polling place from a voter in the precinct stating he or she knows and can identify the person who is attempting to vote, and attesting to the name and residence address of the person attempting to vote.

If the current residence of the voter does not have a street address or the voter is unable to receive mail at his or her street address and the voter is unable to provide a driver's license or identification listed in A-L above, then proof of current residence shall consist of two documents from the categories listed below, both of which shall contain the name of the voter and description of the property at which the current residence of the voter is located:

  1. Deed or lease containing the legal description of the current residence address
  2. Property tax statement containing the assessor's parcel number, or
  3. Sworn statement given in the presence of a poll worker at the polling place from a voter in the precinct stating he or she knows and can identify the person who is attempting to vote, and attesting to the name and residence address of the person attempting to vote.
  • CA Government Code § 12172.5
  • CA Elections Code § 14311
  • CA Elections Code § 14311

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QUESTIONS ABOUT BILINGUAL SERVICES

Q: Is there oral assistance or written voting materials available in languages other than English?

A: Yes. In accordance with federal law and local ordinance, Stanislaus County provides voter registration information, election materials and oral assistance in English and Spanish. Voters who request election materials in the Spanish language will be mailed a translated sample ballot for all Stanislaus County-conducted elections. Additionally, poll locations that have been identified as requiring oral language assistance are supplied with translated voting materials and staffed with bilingual poll workers whenever possible. Signs are posted in those poll locations identifying that the Spanish language is spoken. Some precincts are required to post a facsimile ballot and related instructions in the Hindi or Khmer languages.

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QUESTIONS ABOUT VOTERS WITH DISABILITIES

Q: I am disabled/physically challenged. What voting choices are available to me?

A: It is our goal to have 100% polling place accessibility for all voters who seek independent voting options. In compliance with federal and state law, we provide the following services to voters with disabilities:

  • Accessible polling places. The international symbol of access is used on the sample ballot booklet to identify accessible polling places
  • Wheelchair accessible voting booths at all Stanislaus County polling places
  • Large type voting instructions and magnifying devices at polling places
  • Curbside voting. Voters who cannot get inside the polling place, because of architectural barriers or other limitations may request to vote "curbside" (outside the poll location). A poll worker will bring a ballot and pen outside and assist the voters in casting a ballot.
  • Telecommunications Device (TDD) is available for the hearing impaired. The TDD assistance number is 209-525-5245.
  • Recorded cassette tapes with state candidate/measure information are available at the Elections Office in English and Spanish
  • Vote by mail and permanent vote by mail voting options
  • Poll worker assistance at precinct polling places

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QUESTIONS ABOUT RUNNING FOR OFFICE

Q: I would like to run for office. What are the qualifications and requirements?

A: Candidate qualifications and filing requirements are specific for different elective offices. For general information regarding candidate qualifications, filing requirements, filing periods, campaign statement/financial disclosure reporting, call for Election Information at: 209-525-5200 or 209-525-5230 for Spanish language assistance.

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MISCELLANEOUS INFORMATION

Q: How can I find out my districts (congressional, legislative, supervisorial, etc.)?

A: Contact the Elections Office at 209-525-5200 or 209-525-5230 for Spanish language assistance or click on SmartVoter.org

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Q: How do I get election results?

A: Call 209-525-5200 or 209-525-5230 for Spanish language assistance or click on Election Results on our website.

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IMPORTANT CONTACT NUMBERS

Voter Registration/Sample Ballot Inquiries
To verify registration status or inquire about a sample ballot call:

209-525-5200 or 209-525-5230 for Spanish language assistance

209-525-5245 for TDD Hearing Impaired

Vote by Mail Inquiries
To apply for one-time or permanent vote by mail status call:  209-525-5200

Election Information
General information on election, registration and voting services call: 209-525-5200.

Bilingual Sample Ballot Translation
To receive a translated sample ballot booklet in Spanish, call: 209-525-5230.

Poll Workers/ Poll
To become a poll worker, offer a building as a polling place or report polling place problems call: 209-525-5200.

Registering to Vote
To register to vote during regular business hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. call: 209-525-5200.

Candidate Nomination Procedures
For information regarding election dates, elected offices, qualifications for office, nomination filing dates and procedures call: 209-525-5200.

Clerk-Recorder & Registrar of Voters Lee Lundrigan, Esquire
1021 "I" Street,
Suite 101, Modesto, CA 95354

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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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