California Elections

A procrastinator’s guide to California’s general election

This is what happens to your ballot when you vote by mail

Here's the Sacramento County Department of Voter Registration and Elections explaining the Vote by Mail process.
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Here's the Sacramento County Department of Voter Registration and Elections explaining the Vote by Mail process.

Tuesday’s election is upon us, but don’t fear if you haven’t cast a ballot: Here’s everything you need to know about how to vote and the people and issues on the ballot.

Who are these people?

Check out the Bee’s voter guide. It has biographies of candidates for statewide and local office. It also gives candidates’ detailed positions on issues facing state and federal governments. Enter your address to get started. You can also check the state’s official voter guide at the Secretary of State’s Office, but ours has more info.

The always-popular Sacramento Bee Editorial Board endorsements may help, too. Some use it to vote just as the board recommends. Others use it to vote just the opposite of the recommendations. Either way, it can be helpful.

If you want to learn more about the backgrounds of Supreme Court justices up for confirmation, read here. For the Sacramento-area (3rd District) court of appeals, check this out.

Too many props!

Well, there are 11 statewide propositions and a handful of local measures. Not the most ever, but a lot. The Bee has short videos on each of the state propositions — what they would do, how much they cost, who’s for and against them and why.

Keep reading! There are more detailed candidate and proposition stories below.

Support democracy in action

Elections bring out a lot of noise. Good and bad. At The Sacramento Bee, we bring you up-to-the-minute poll results, breaking news throughout the day and night, analysis and more. We hold local elected officials accountable for their words and their actions.

Stay informed. Take advantage of a 99-cent offer for your first month of access to The Sacramento Bee.



How can I make sure I’m registered to vote?

First off, don’t ask people at the DMV. It’s not their job to know. Make sure you’re registered by checking the Secretary of State’s website.

How can I vote in Sacramento County?

Under a new voting system in use in five counties, including Sacramento, all registered voters get a ballot in the mail. They can use one of 53 drop boxes located across cities and neighborhoods to drop off their marked and signed ballots. Voters can also return their ballots by mail or at one of 18 vote centers in the county that have been open every day, including weekends, since Oct. 27. That number increased to 78 on Saturday.

You can still head to one of those voting centers if you prefer dropping off your ballot in person. A voting center offers more services than a drop box location, such as providing a replacement ballot.

A complete list can be found on the Sacramento County’s elections website at http://www.elections.saccounty.net/Pages/default.aspx.

For more information, call the Sacramento County Voter Registration and Elections Office at (916) 875-6451.

What if I live in Placer County?

If you are registered to receive vote-by-mail ballots, you can send your ballot via mail, in person or at a 24-hour drop-off box located at the Placer County Office of Elections or at any polling place in Placer County from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.

If you aren’t already registered to receive a mail ballot, you can head to the county’s elections office at 2956 Richardson Drive in Auburn and fill out a ballot there. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.

To find your polling place, go to https://www.placerelections.com/polling-place-locator/. For more information, call the Placer County Office of Elections at (530) 886-5650.

What if I live in El Dorado County?

Registered residents for vote by mail ballots can mail or drop off ballots at the county elections office, 2850 Fairlane Court in Placerville up until Election Day during normal business hours Monday through Friday.

There is an additional South Lake Tahoe office where ballots can be submitted at 3368 Lake Tahoe Boulevard, Suite 108 from 8 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

To find your polling place, go to https://www.edcgov.us/Government/Elections/Pages/VoterGuide.aspx.

For more information, call the elections office in Placerville at (530) 621-7480 or, from El Dorado Hills, (916) 358-3555, ext. 7480. The South Lake Tahoe office can be reached at (530) 573-7955, ext. 7480.

What if I live in Yolo County?

Residents can vote by mail if they registered to receive those ballots, or drop off ballots at the elections office at 625 Court St. Room B-05 in Woodland, open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.

To find your polling place, go to www.yoloelections.org/voting/polling_place.

For more information from Yolo County elections, call (530) 666-8133.

What to do for governor?

Learn about Democrat Gavin Newsom and Republican John Cox.

Read about their one debate.

Compare their views of the state:

Gavin Newsom has big, liberal plans for California. So how would he pay for them?

If you think California is too expensive, John Cox says he’s your guy for governor

Why two Democrats on the ballot for the U.S. Senate?

Because of California’s “top-two” primary election system, two candidates of the same party can show up on the general election ballot. That’s happened in dozens of legislative and congressional races in the past, including the 2016 Senate race between Kamala Harris and Loretta Sanchez.

This year, statewide races for lieutenant governor and superintendent of public instruction feature two Democrats. The secretary of state has a full list of same-party runoffs.

In this year’s U.S. Senate contest, incumbent Dianne Feinstein and her challenger, state senator Kevin de León, are both Democrats. They had one debate.

Two other stories to check out:

‘The world changes’: Dianne Feinstein explains her shifting stances

’Failure of leadership:’ De León slams Feinstein for holding back Kavanaugh allegations

Who’s telling the truth?

On Proposition 6…

$700 a year? Less than $10 a month? We analyze how much California’s gas tax increase really costs you

Gas tax ad stretches danger of losing transportation funding

Why California business leaders are fighting to save the gas tax increase

Fix California roads without the new gas taxes? Here’s what it would take

On Proposition 10…

Both sides mislead on California rent control initiative

Strict rent control has been banned in California for 20 years. Now voters could resurrect it.

Will rent control kill California housing production? Not necessarily, data show

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