Election FAQs

Election FAQs

To serve the information needs of the Los Angeles community the LWVLA operates a voter information hotline before every election. Some common questions and easy sources of answers.

Who can register to vote?

You must be a United States citizen and California resident who is at least 18 years of age before the next election who is not currently in prison, on parole, serving a state prison sentence in county jail, serving a sentence for a felony pursuant to subdivision (h) of Penal Code section 1170, or on post release community supervision

When should I register or re-register to vote?

The deadline for registration is 15 days before the election (October 20 for the November 4, 2014 Statewide General Election). You must re-register if you change your address, your name, or party affiliation.

How do I register?

You can register online at the Secretary of State's website


Registration forms can be picked up at the post office, local libraries and many government offices and mailed to the County Registrar of Voters.

You must register fifteen calendar days before the election. The voter registration deadline is October 20, 2104 for the Statewide General Election on November 5, 2014.

How do I know if I am registered?

You can lookup your registration status on the website of the Registrar of Voter for Los Angeles County. If you are registered in another county, see the Secretary of State's website to find out how to get this information.

You will know that you are registered when you receive your sample ballot.

How can I request another sample ballot?

You can request a paper sample ballot by calling (800)815-2666 or (562)466-1323. Alternatively, you can visit smartvoter.org to see the races and ballot measures that you will be voting on.

How do I request a vote-by-mail ballot?

You may fill out the request form on the back of your sample ballot or go submit an online application.

How do I become a permanent vote by mail?

Download and complete this form or request PVBM status on your voter registration form.

When can I request a vote-by-mail ballot?

Starting 29 days before an election and no later than 7 days before the election.

How do I return my vote-by-mail ballot?

Ballots must be mailed and arrive at the Registrar of Voters office before 8:00 p.m. on election day. Late ballots will not be counted. You may also hand-deliver your voted ballot to any polling place in Los Angeles County before 8:00 p.m. on election day.

Where is my polling place?

Where can I find information to help me decide how to vote on all the contests on the ballot?

SmartVoter.org is the most user friendly site for voters who want information about what is on their ballot including information on candidates and ballot measures with links to additional information.

What if my name is not on the roster?

First make sure the poll workers check all possible spellings and check the supplemental listings. If your name is not on the roster, request a provisional ballot. If you are registered in the county in which you are voting in California your ballot will be counted. You will be given a phone number to call about 3 weeks after the election to verify the status of your ballot. If you are told it was not counted check the status of your registration by calling the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters Public Information at 562-466-1310 or 1323.

Will I be asked to show ID?

No + unless you are a first time voter who registered by mail and did not send a photocopy of a valid ID. If you are a first time voter and do not have a drivers license any official mail showing your name and address such as a utility bill or bank statement will be accepted.

What is that machine we put our ballots in now?

The machine is called a Precinct Ballot Reader (PBR). It checks your ballot to make sure that you did not vote more than once in any one contest + which would effectively nullify your vote + or that you are not casting a blank ballot. The PBR is not used to count ballots.

I had a problem at my polling place. What can I do?

You may report these problems to your county's elections office. For Los Angeles County contact the Registrar of Voters Public Information at 562-466-1310 or 1323. You may also call the Secretary of State's Fraud Hotline. The toll free number is (800)345-VOTE(8683).

How can I help guarantee our elections are secure?

  • Be a poll worker: The people who work at the polls are a critical element in the election process.
  • Be a poll watcher: (PDF) The LA County Registrar of Voters trains citizens who want to help monitor the poll places.
  • Observe the count and audit: We vote in private but the counting is public. The audit is used to check the accuracy of the machine count. It is important that members of the public are there to verify these activities.
  • Inform others: Share this information with others.