Vote by Mail

Person dropping a completed vote-by-mail ballot into a postal service mailbox


IMPORTANT NOTICE: On June 18, 2020, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 860, which requires California counties to mail ballots to all registered voters for the November 3, 2020, Consolidated General Election and permits all voters to use a remote accessible vote-by-mail (AVBM) system to access their ballots.

Accordingly, the Department of Elections will mail ballot packets and open its AVBM System to all registered San Francisco voters starting 29 days before the November 3 election.

This means the vast majority of voters will not need to take any action to receive a ballot in the upcoming election and any registered voter may vote using a vote-by-mail ballot instead of going to the polls on Election Day.

If you want to learn more about voting by mail, we invite you to explore this page and to contact the Department of Elections with any questions.

The Department will also offer in-person voting services at its voting centers and polling places, including conditional voter registration and provisional voting for voters who miss the registration deadline. If you want to learn more about in-person voting services, we invite you to visit Ways to Vote.

Receiving and Tracking Your Ballot

Registered San Francisco voters will begin receiving vote-by-mail ballot packets, as well as state and local voter guides, in early October.

Your ballot and election materials will be sent to your home address unless your voter record has a different mailing address.

Voters can check their registration status and track their ballots as they move through the steps of printing, assembly, delivery, and processing, using the Voter Portal.

Voters can also choose to receive automatic notifications on the status or their ballots via email, SMS (text), or voice call. Visit to sign up for this service.

Ensure Timely Delivery of Your Ballot by Keeping Your Address Up to Date!

One action you can take today to ensure timely delivery of your ballot is to confirm information in your voter record on the California Secretary of State’s website at or by contacting the Department of Elections at (415) 554-4375 or

There are three ways to update your home address or mailing address.

  1. Complete a Registration Update Form and return it to the Department.
  2. Re-register to vote at, or contact the Department for a paper application.
  3. Send a letter to the Department that includes your name, former residence, current residence, mailing address (if different), a certification by you, the voter, of the content of the written request as to its truthfulness and correctness, under penalty of perjury, and your dated signature.

If you prefer to receive your ballot at a temporary address for this election or need a replacement ballot, you can submit your request through the Voter Portal or by calling (415) 554-4375.

Voting Your Ballot

Your vote-by-mail ballot packet will contain an official ballot, an instructional insert, an official postage-paid return envelope, and an “I Voted” sticker.

Follow the instructions on the top of each ballot card to mark your selections, and be sure to check both sides of the cards for contests.

If you make a mistake and need a replacement ballot, submit your request through the Voter Portal or by calling (415) 554-4375.

When you are done voting, remove receipts from ballot cards, fold each card, put cards in the return envelope, and peel away the self-sealing strip to seal the envelope. You must sign the envelope for your ballot to be counted!

The envelope features signature line punch-outs to assist voters with visual impairments in locating the signature field. The envelope also provides instructions on how voters unable to sign may substitute a witnessed mark for a signature.

Upon receipt of your voted ballot, the Department will compare the signature on the envelope with your signature(s) in your voter record. If your signature has changed since you last registered to vote, be sure to reregister with your new signature as soon as possible.

Returning Your Ballot

To be counted, you must return your ballot on time!

If you return your ballot by mail, your ballot return envelopes must be postmarked by Election Day, November 3 (check collection times if you use a blue USPS mailbox to mail your envelope on November 3).

If you return your ballot in person, you must do so no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day, November 3. All 588 polling places throughout the City will be open for vote-by-mail ballot drop-off from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3. You may also return your ballot in any other county in California or authorize another person to drop off your ballot for you.