CA's Secretary of State dispels confusion about in-person voting process


Voting in person will be quite different for Californians this year.

While the overwhelming majority will vote by mail, there are some important things to remember if you still like to cast your ballot in person.

There will be no more assigned polling places, and now you can go to any voting center in your county regardless of your city. You’ll be checked in electronically to make sure you haven’t voted by mail, and you should bring that ballot that every Californian was sent, even if you don’t want to use it. But it’s not required, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla told KCBS Radio.

“In most counties, if you show up in person—even if you re received a vote-by-mail ballot at home—you’ll be given a live ballot, not a provisional ballot,” he said. “What counties do is immediately update your record as a voter as having cast a ballot in this election, so if the vote-by-mail ballot under your name comes in afterwards, it will not be counted.”

On KCBS Radio’s “The State of California”, Padilla tried to dispel the confusion caused by the paragraph buried in the state voter guide that says to bring your unused absentee ballot in exchange for an in-person one. He said the electronic voter record should make that unnecessary.

As for election security, Padilla said voter fraud remains exceedingly rare and almost impossible to perpetrate, no matter how much President Donald Trump tries to convince voters otherwise.

“When you return a vote-by-mail ballot, it must be in the official envelope and each envelope has a unique bar code confirming the identity of the voter when the ballot comes back,” he said. “It’s part of what enables our ballot tracking system, which more than million and a half voters have signed up for and it’s also what protects us against double voting.”

Padilla said extra ballots delivered by mistake or are in the name of no longer active voters should be destroyed or returned to your county elections office.

Head to to find the ballot tracking tool.