Made a mistake on my vote-by-mail ballot
November 8, 2016 9:30 AM   Subscribe

I made a mistake on my CA vote-by-mail ballot and I still have it in hand. Can I exchange it for a new one at any polling place, or do I have to go to the polling place that is designated for my registered address? Or do I have to go to an office of some sort?
posted by delight to Law & Government (6 answers total)
Yes. Take it to your polling place and tell them you made a mistake. They will let you vote by affidavit. There is a procedure in their manual for this exact thing.

Source: I used to be a California poll worker.
posted by blnkfrnk at 9:36 AM on November 8, 2016 [5 favorites]

Another source.
posted by blnkfrnk at 9:38 AM on November 8, 2016

Thanks! Does it need to be my polling place or can I do this at the one closer to my work?
posted by delight at 9:38 AM on November 8, 2016

It is best if it is your polling place, but you can go to any polling place. There is a hotline to call if you have more questions.
posted by blnkfrnk at 9:40 AM on November 8, 2016

The exact procedure might depend on your county, but in Alameda - you can use a provisional envelope (and a ballot) at any precinct in the county as long as you're registered in the county. They will verify you didn't vote twice (check your signature) and only count races in your home precinct (so if you vote for a different city's initiatives, they won't count).

It is easiest/most straight forward if you go to your home precinct with the VBM ballot *and* envelope, and surrender them together to get the new ballot. (I'd also recommend writing down your planned votes before you do that, so you can surrender them without needing to refer to them.)

/over a decade long poll worker in Alameda County.
posted by kendrak at 9:45 AM on November 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

This happened to me four years ago. At the polling place there was a small hubbub after I explained that I needed to make a correction on an absentee ballot, and that made me pretty nervous. But within a few minutes they had looked up the rules and knew what to do. They had me fill out a whole new ballot...I couldn't just redo the page where I made the error.
posted by wryly at 12:55 PM on November 8, 2016

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