Help for New Voters

Once Registered to Vote

  1. In four to six weeks, the voter will receive a Voter Notification Card in the mail from the Elections Office confirming that the voter registration card is on file. It requests that the voter check the information to be sure that it is correct.
  2. Four to five weeks before the election, the Elections Office will send the voter a sample ballot pamphlet that will contain information about the candidates and ballot measures to vote on. The address of the polling place will be shown on the mailing label of the sample ballot pamphlet back cover. Also watch for the state ballot pamphlet sent to you by the Secretary of State's office before every June Primary and November General Election. This also contains valuable information.
  3. Voters are urged to read the sample ballot and/or state ballot pamphlet carefully and become informed on each issue and candidate, marking their decisions on the sample ballot. Taking the sample ballot pamphlet into the voting booth on Election Day will save time.

[ TOP ]

Voting at the Polls

  1. The location of the voter’s polling place can be found on the back cover of the sample ballot pamphlet.

  2. Voters arriving at the polling place announce their name and address to the poll worker, who establishes the voter is listed on the roster. The voter must then sign the roster before voting.

    If the voter is not listed on the roster, a check of the sample ballot will establish the correct polling place location if it is different. The poll worker can telephone the Elections Office to verify the voter's registration and polling place.

  3. Once the voter has signed the roster, the voter is ready to vote, marking the ballot with a blue or black pen.

    Vote only for one candidate in each office unless the instructions on the ballot say it is OK to vote for more. Also, vote Yes or No for each measure. Be sure to vote both sides of the ballot. Please note: The voter does not have to vote on every candidate or issue. If the voter does not know how to vote on a particular candidate or issue, it can be left blank. The ballot will still be counted.

    To vote for a qualified write-in candidate, the voter must write that person’s name in the blank space provided at the bottom of the appropriate office and fill in the bubble next to his or her name. The poll worker will have a list of qualified write-in candidates for the voter's reference.

    The voter may take the sample ballot and any other information that will help in making a decision while voting into the voting booth. If the voter feels the need for assistance, a person of the voter's choice may be with the voter while he or she votes.

  4. If the voter makes a mistake on the official ballot, it should be removed from the voting device and taken to the poll worker. She or he will put it into a special envelope marked "Spoiled" and will give the voter another ballot to vote. The voter should take extra time and mark it very carefully. Each voter may only have up to three ballots to correct mistakes.

  5. When the voter finishes voting, the ballot stub should be removed. Then, the voter inserts the voted ballot into the ballot scanner. Some voters choose to use a secrecy sleeve to conceal the ballot until they slip it into the ballot scanner.

[ TOP ]

Voting Vote by Mail

Voted vote by mail ballots must be received by the Elections Office or any polling place by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day to be counted. Mailed ballots must be postmarked by Election Day. The vote by mail ballot envelope must be signed by the voter to be counted. The signature is verified on every vote by mail ballot received by the Elections Office.

[ TOP ]

Requesting A Vote by Mail Ballot

The voter will receive a sample ballot pamphlet in the mail approximately 4-5 weeks prior to an election in which the voter is eligible to vote. The back cover of the sample ballot will have an application to request a vote by mail ballot. If the voter completes, signs and mails the application to the Elections Office so that it is received prior to the 7th day before the election, the Elections Office will mail the voter a ballot to the address specified on the application.

It is not necessary for a voter to wait for the sample ballot to request a vote by mail ballot. Vote by mail ballots may be requested on a plain piece of paper mailed to: Stanislaus County Elections Office, 1021 "I" Street, Modesto, CA 95354. The voter should write legibly and include:

  • The election the ballot is being requested for
  • The voter’s full name
  • The voter’s residence address
  • The address the voter would like the ballot mailed to
  • The voter’s signature and the date of the request
  • Telephone number (optional)


The voter may fill out a Vote by Mail Ballot Form, complete the form and mail it to:

Stanislaus County Elections Office,
1021 "I" Street, Modesto, CA 95354.

Vote by Mail Ballot Forms can be requested by calling the Elections Office at 209-525-5200 or 209-525-5230 for assistance in the Spanish language.

[ TOP ]

Returning The Voted Vote by Mail Ballot

The voter may return the voted vote by mail ballot by mail, by bringing it into the Elections Office or by dropping it off at any Stanislaus County polling place on Election Day. If the voter is unable to return the ballot personally, a relative (spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, brother or sister) or person living in the same household as the voter may deliver the ballot.

[ TOP ]

The voter must remember to sign the ballot envelope or the Elections Office cannot count the ballot.

The Elections Office begins mailing out requested vote by mail ballots 29 days before the election and continues until the 7th day prior to the election. A voter may come into the office and pick up his or her ballot starting on the 29th day. The Elections Office will accept voted ballots beginning on the same day.

Because of the mail time to get the ballot to the voter and for the voter to mail the voted ballot back by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day, requests received after the 7th day before an election will not be mailed out. Voters may come into the Elections Office and pick up their ballots over the counter. If this is not possible, and may prohibit the voter from voting, the Elections Office will mail the ballot to the voter with the understanding that the voter is responsible for returning it on time to the Elections Office or to a Stanislaus County polling place in order to be counted. Mailed ballots must be postmarked by Election Day.

[ TOP ]

Mistakes Made On Vote by Mail Ballots

Contact the Elections Office for instructions on how to obtain a second ballot at 209-525-5200 or

209-525-5230 for assistance in the Spanish language if a vote by mail ballot is lost or destroyed, or a mistake is made that requires a second ballot.

[ TOP ]

Concern Regarding Receipt Of Ballots By The Elections Office By Election Day

If a ballot is mailed prior to Election Day, but the voter has concerns that it may not have been received at the Elections Office by 8 p.m. Election Day, the voter may do the following:

Cast a ballot “provisionally” that will be kept separate from the rest of the ballots in a sealed envelope until the status of the vote by mail ballot can be determined, or 2) contact Elections Office for more details.

[ TOP ]

Requesting A Vote by Mail Ballot

Voters may request a vote by mail ballot every time they want to vote by mail or apply for permanent vote by mail ballot status. Call the Elections Office for more details.

[ TOP ]

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.