About Voting and Special Elections
- Where is my polling place?
Your county sample ballot booklet (which is mailed to you in the weeks leading up to election day) shows the address of your polling place. If you did not receive your county sample ballot booklet, contact your county elections office.
If you cannot find your designated polling place, you have the right to cast a provisional ballot at any polling place in the county in which you are registered to vote. Your provisional ballot will be counted after your county elections office has confirmed that you are registered to vote and you did not already vote in the election. (Elections Code sections 13303, 14310)
- How are special elections conducted?
In a special primary election to fill a legislative vacancy, all candidates are listed on one ballot. Any voter may vote for any candidate, regardless of party preference. If no candidate receives a majority of the votes in the primary election, only the top two vote-getters (regardless of party preference) will move on to the run-off election.
For more information, see State Special Elections to Fill Vacancies in Voter-Nominated Offices (pdf 264 KB).
- Who are the candidates?
The Secretary of State's certified list of candidates for the Senate District 16 Special Primary Election (pdf 338 KB) includes the names and contact information for all candidates on the ballot.
The Secretary of State's certified list of candidates for the Assembly District 80 Special Primary Election (pdf 213 KB) includes the names and contact information for all candidates on the ballot.
- Why are the 2001 district lines being used for the Senate special election, but the 2011 district lines are being used for the Assembly special election?
Political district boundaries are drawn once every 10 years. The last regular election for Senate District 16 was held in 2010 for a four-year term that expires in 2014. The senator representing the 16th Senate District resigned from his position in February 2013. The candidate who wins this special Senate election will serve the remainder of the current term.
The last regular election for Assembly District 80 was held in 2012 for a two-year term that expires in 2014. The assemblymember representing the 80th Assembly District resigned from his position in March 2013. The candidate who wins this special Assembly election will serve the remainder of the current term.
What does "party preference" and "no party preference" mean when listed with candidates' names on a ballot? What are the qualified political parties and abbreviations?
Under California election laws, the term "party preference" is used in place of "party affiliation" for legislative and congressional contests. If a legislative or congressional candidate does not have a preference for a qualified political party, the phrase "no party preference" is listed next to the candidate's name on the ballot.
Secretary of State website abbreviations are as follows:
- DEM = Democratic Party
- REP = Republican Party
- AI = American Independent Party
- AE = Americans Elect Party
- GRN = Green Party
- LIB = Libertarian Party
- P&F = Peace and Freedom Party
- NPP = No Party Preference
About Election Results and This Website
- When will all of the election results be final? Will the unofficial election results change after election night?
Election results will be updated throughout election night until all polling place ballots have been counted. Election results will change throughout the canvass period as vote-by-mail ballots, provisional ballots and other ballots are tallied. Depending on the volume of these types of ballots, it may take two weeks for county elections officials to verify voter records and determine if ballots have been cast by eligible voters. How often these results are updated will vary based on the size of each county and the process each local elections office uses to tally and report votes.
Once county elections officials complete the official canvass and send their final reports to the Secretary of State, the Secretary will certify and publish the final election results. County elections officials plan to complete their work by May 31, and the Secretary expects to certify the election shortly thereafter. (Elections Code section 15501)
- On election night: Why have some county elections offices in the district reported precincts and vote counts, while others have not reported any results?
Each county elections office processes ballots differently, and the distances that poll workers must travel from polling places to county offices vary greatly. State law requires county elections officials to send their first batch of results to the Secretary of State's office no more than two hours after they begin tallying the votes after polls close on election day. County elections officials continue to report results periodically until all polling place ballot totals have been reported. County elections officials will continue to count ballots not cast at polling places in subsequent days. (Elections Code sections 15150, 15151)
- On election night: Why do some counties show no precincts have reported, yet some votes have been counted?
The first election results are typically ballots received before election day. Voters may cast ballots up to 29 days before election day. County elections officials may begin opening vote-by-mail ballots up to seven business days before election day, but those results cannot be accessed or shared with the public until all polls close on election day.
Many county elections officials choose to tally and report these early voted ballots before results come in from precincts, which are sometimes far away from county headquarters. Early voted ballots simply appear as raw vote totals because, in this initial stage, the ballots are not attributed to individual precincts. (Elections Code sections 15101, 15152)
- When are vote-by-mail ballots counted?
Vote-by-mail ballots that are received by county elections offices before election day are typically counted on election day. Many more vote-by-mail ballots are dropped off at polling places or arrive at county elections offices on election day. Depending on the volume of these types of ballots, it may take two weeks for county elections officials to verify voter records and determine if ballots have been cast by eligible voters. How often these results are updated will vary based on the size of each county and the process each local elections office uses to tally and report votes.
All vote-by-mail ballots that county elections officials determine have been cast by eligible voters are counted and included in the official election results. (Elections Code section 15320)
- When are provisional ballots counted?
All provisional ballots that county elections officials determine have been cast by eligible voters are counted and included in the official election results. Depending on the volume of these types of ballots, it may take several days for county elections officials to verify voter records and determine if ballots have been cast by eligible voters. (Elections Code section 14310)