Frequently Asked Questions


Questions About Voter Registration

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 currently serving a state or federal prison term for the conviction of a felony;
  • and not declared to be mentally incompetent by a court.

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. In the 14 days preceding an election and on Election Day, voters may register in person using Conditional Voter Registration and get a ballot. They may go to any vote center, once they open, or the Registrar of Voters office. Go to stanvote.com or call 209-525-5201 for a list of vote center locations, dates and hours. Vote centers typically have more parking and a shorter wait than the Elections Office.

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; (833) 646-2136 (Telephone Device for Deaf, TDD) or (833) 772-2260 (Toll-free). 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): Complete an electronic registration when applying for or renewing your driver's license or California State ID card;

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

Yes. An ex-felon can register to vote and is eligible to vote in elections if he/she is not currently serving a state or federal prison term for the conviction of a felony. For more information, please see Voting Rights: Persons with a Criminal History

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.

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.

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.

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

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 Registrar of Voters website

Questions About Vote By Mail Ballots

All active registered voters will receive a vote by mail ballot for each election, with the signing of Assembly Bill 37 in September 2021. Ballots begin mailing 29 days before each election. Please allow up to seven business days for the ballot to arrive.

Although all voters will receive a vote by mail ballot, they still have the option to vote in person and place their ballot in a scanner at any vote center.

Voters who wish to return their vote by mail ballot have options:

  • By mail: Your ballot return envelope has prepaid postage. Mail your ballot so it will be postmarked by Election Day and arrive within seven days of Election Day. Remember to sign your ballot return envelope!
  • Official ballot drop box: Place your voted ballot in the return ballot envelope and drop it off at a secured ballot drop box. Remember to sign your ballot return envelope!
  • Vote center: Vote centers are similar to polls but offer more services. You can vote in person, register, update your registration, or get accessibility or language assistance.

Five days prior to the election is the last day the Elections Office can mail you a replacement ballot, to allow time for mailing. You do have other options: You can vote in person at any vote center or the Elections Office or you can have a relative or someone in your household pick up a replacement ballot for you, if you give them a written, signed request with your name, residence address and birthdate.

Another option, if you have Internet access and a printer, is Remote Accessible Vote by Mail (RAVBM). If you are registered, you can view your voter guide or get a replacement ballot by going to stanvote.com and clicking on the RAVBM button. Then click on the link in the middle of the RAVBM page. You must print and then drop off or mail the voted ballot.

If you are requesting a ballot by mail or email, please provide your name, residence address and birthdate. Options to request a ballot:

  • By letter addressed to the Elections Office, 1021 “I” Street, Modesto, CA 95354; or
  • In person at the Elections Office, 1021 “I” Street, the corner of 10th & “I” Streets in downtown Modesto
  • In person at any vote center. Locations can be found at stanvote.com
  • By calling the Registrar of Voters at 209-525-5201 or 209-525-5230
  • By emailing stanvote@stancounty.com

Mailed ballots must be postmarked by Election Day and arrive at the Elections Office within seven days of Election Day. Hand-delivered ballots must be dropped off at a ballot drop box, vote center 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.

You may return it in person to any authorized ballot drop box or vote center or the Elections Office by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day. Some ballot drop boxes are only available during business hours. See the list in your voter guide or use the Voter Services Map on stanvote.com for locations, dates and hours. If you are unable to return the ballot yourself, another person can return your ballot for you if that person signs the “Authorized Agent” section on the envelope.

Yes, voters can go to any vote center to vote in person. Several vote centers open 10 days before each election and the rest open three days before each election. Voters are encouraged to go early, to avoid the chance of waiting in line on Election Day. Vote centers will have easier parking and shorter lines, if any, than the Elections Office downtown.

Questions About Voting

Any voter can go to any vote center. Several locations open 10 days before each election, and the rest open three days before each election. A list of vote center locations, dates and hours is in your county information guide, on a postcard mailed about the same time as the ballots and on stanvote.com. On stanvote.com, look for the Voter Services Map button or click on Vote Centers / Drop Boxes to look at a list. You also can call 209-525-5201 or 209-525-5230 for Spanish language.

Vote center locations may change depending on the type of election, availability of suitable locations and other factors. Please check the list or Vote Services Map to make sure a location is being used in this election.

You may vote at the Elections Office starting 29 days before each election, but parking is limited, and you are more likely to experience a line than at a vote center. The Elections Office only issues vote by mail ballots. It does not have a ballot scanner.

Several vote centers will be open 10 days before each election. The rest open three days before each election. They are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on Election Day, when the hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m

Vote center locations may change for a variety of reasons, including a specific location is no longer available or isn’t needed for a smaller election. A list of vote center locations, dates and hours is provided in the county information guide, on a postcard mailed about the same time as the ballots and on stanvote.com. On stanvote.com, look for the Voter Services Map or click on Vote Centers / Drop Boxes to look at a list. You also can call 209-525-5201 or 209-525-5230 for Spanish language. .

Check the voter guide or online list of locations, dates and hours to make sure you are at a vote center being used for this election. Several open 10 days before each election, and the rest open three days before each election. You can go to stanvote.com and click on the Voter Services Map or click on Vote Centers / Drop Boxes to see a list. If you are sure the vote center should be open, please report it by calling 209-525-5201 or 209-525-5230 for Spanish.

Yes. It is recommended that you mark your voting choices in your sample ballot and take it to the vote center 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.

Yes. Ask the election workers to help you with the voting process. Election workers can explain the voting process but cannot help you decide how to vote on candidates or measures.

Yes. If the person is a qualified write-in candidate. Only votes for qualified write-in candidates will be counted. The list of qualified write-in candidates is available 11 days before Election Day in most elections. You can view it on stanvote.com under “Current Election.” You can also view it at a vote center or call the County Elections Office for a list of qualified write-in candidates. Vote center workers and Elections Office staff can assist you with write-in voting procedures.

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.

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

Questions About Voters With Disabilities

It is our goal to have 100% vote center 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 vote centers. All vote centers are surveyed for accessibility
  • Wheelchair accessible voting booths at all Stanislaus County vote centers and the Elections Office
  • Large type voting instructions and magnifying devices at vote centers
  • Curbside voting. Voters who cannot go inside a vote center may request to vote "curbside" by ringing the call bell. A vote center worker will bring a ballot and pen outside and assist the voters in casting a ballot.
  • Touch Writer ballot marking devices are available at all voting locations. These devices can read the ballot aloud in English or Spanish. They have a universal plug for adaptive device compatibility. Touch Writers offer also tactile navigation and adjustable display text and contrast.
  • Audio and large print state voter information guides are available at sos.ca.gov and by calling 1-800-345-VOTE
  • For TTY service from the Stanislaus County Elections Office, call 833-646-2136
  • Remote Accessible Vote by Mail (RAVBM) allows registered voters to use their own accessibility programs online to view an accessible voter guide including sample ballot and mark and print an Official Ballot. You need Internet access and a printer to use RAVBM. Go to stanvote.com and click on the RAVBM button to learn more and access the RAVBM system.
  • Election worker assistance at vote centers and the Elections Office

Questions About Running For Office

Candidate qualifications and filing requirements are specific for different elective offices. For a city office, please contact the city clerk. For general information regarding candidate qualifications, filing requirements, filing periods, campaign statement/financial disclosure reporting, ask for Candidate Services at 209-525-5200 or 209-525-5230 for Spanish language assistance.

Find My Districts

California recently completed redistricting, the process where districts are redrawn once every 10 years so each one will be roughly equal in population. Stanislaus County implemented the new district lines on the ballot in the June 2022 primary election. More new lines will be implemented before the November election for cities, school districts and special districts.

If you provide your name, residence and birthdate over the phone or by emailing moc.ytnuocnats@etovnats, election staff can look up your districts for the June election. You can go to wedrawthelinesca.org to look at the final maps. Click on Final Maps, then look for the Final PDFs for the office you are interested in, for example: Final CD PDFs if you are looking for congressional districts.

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

Important Contact Numbers

Voter Registration/Sample Ballot Inquiries
To verify registration status or inquire about a voter information guide call:

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

833-646-2136 for TTY service

Vote by Mail Inquiries
Call: 209-525-5200 or 209-525-5230 for Spanish language assistance

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

Voting Locations and Seasonal Election Work
To become a seasonal election clerk or election volunteer, offer a building as a vote center, or report vote center concerns 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 city offices, please call the city clerk. For information regarding election dates, other elected offices, qualifications for office, nomination filing dates and procedures call: 209-525-5200.

Clerk-Recorder & Registrar of Voters Donna Linder
1021 "I" Street,
Suite 101, Modesto, CA 95354

For additional information and services not addressed in our FAQ's, please see the Clerk-Recorder & Registrar of Voters Home Page on our website or call 209-525-5200, or 209-525-5230 for assistance in the Spanish language.

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.