Code Section Group

Elections Code - ELEC

DIVISION 3. VOTE BY MAIL VOTING, NEW RESIDENT, AND NEW CITIZEN VOTING [3000 - 3503]

  ( Heading of Division 3 amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 508, Sec. 10. )

CHAPTER 1. Vote by Mail Application and Voting Procedures [3000 - 3026]
  ( Heading of Chapter 1 amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 508, Sec. 11. )

3000.
  

This division shall be liberally construed in favor of the vote by mail voter.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 508, Sec. 12. Effective January 1, 2008.)

3001.
  

Except as provided in Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 3200) and Sections 3007.5, 3007.7, and 3007.8, application for a vote by mail voter’s ballot shall be made in writing to the elections official having jurisdiction over the election between the 29th and the 7th day prior to the election. The application shall be signed by the applicant and shall show his or her place of residence. Any applications received by the elections official prior to the 29th day shall be kept and processed during the application period.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 501, Sec. 1. (AB 530) Effective January 1, 2014.)

3002.
  

(a) Notwithstanding Section 3001, a person granted confidentiality pursuant to Section 2166 shall be considered a vote by mail voter.

(b) The provisions of Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 3200) relating to permanent vote by mail voters shall apply so far as they may be consistent with this section and Section 2166.

(c) All persons granted confidentiality pursuant to Section 2166 shall (1) be required to vote by mail ballot, and (2) in addition to the required residence address, provide a valid mailing address to the county elections official to be used in place of the residence address.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 508, Sec. 14. Effective January 1, 2008.)

3003.
  

The vote by mail ballot shall be available to any registered voter.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 508, Sec. 15. Effective January 1, 2008.)

3004.
  

A county elections official shall place a notice in an office within the county where applications are taken for federal passports or where military enlistments are received to inform potential military or overseas voters of their right to a vote by mail voter’s ballot and where to obtain registration materials and application forms.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 560, Sec. 2. (AB 1417) Effective January 1, 2014.)

3005.
  

(a) Whenever, on the 88th day before the election, there are 250 or less persons registered to vote in any precinct, the elections official may furnish each voter with a vote by mail ballot along with a statement that there will be no polling place for the election. The elections official shall also notify each voter of the location of the two nearest polling places in the event the voter chooses to return the ballot on or before election day. The voter shall not be required to file an application for the vote by mail ballot and the ballot shall be sent as soon as the ballots are available.

(b) A precinct shall not be divided in order to conform to this section.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 806, Sec. 21. (SB 286) Effective January 1, 2018.)

3006.
  

(a) A printed application that is to be distributed to a voter for requesting a vote by mail voter’s ballot shall inform the voter that the application for the vote by mail voter’s ballot must be received by the elections official not later than seven days prior to the date of the election and shall contain spaces for the following:

(1) The printed name and residence address of the voter as it appears on the affidavit of registration.

(2) The address to which the ballot is to be mailed.

(3) The voter’s signature.

(4) The name and date of the election for which the request is to be made.

(b) (1) The information required by paragraphs (1) and (4) of subdivision (a) may be preprinted on the application. The information required by paragraphs (2) and (3) of subdivision (a) shall be personally affixed by the voter.

(2) An address, as required by paragraph (2) of subdivision (a), may not be the address of a political party, a political campaign headquarters, or a candidate’s residence. However, a candidate, his or her spouse, immediate family members, and any other voter who shares the same residence address as the candidate may request that a vote by mail ballot be mailed to the candidate’s residence address.

(3) An application that contains preprinted information shall contain a conspicuously printed statement substantially similar to the following: “You have the legal right to mail or deliver this application directly to the local elections official of the county where you reside.”

(4) A printed vote by mail application that allows a voter to submit the application by mail shall inform the voter of the address for the elections official and specify that address as the only appropriate destination address for mailing the application. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to prohibit an individual, organization, or group that distributes applications for vote by mail voter ballots from collecting or receiving applications from voters, as described in Section 3008, by means other than having the applications mailed directly to the address of the distributing individual, organization, or group.

(c) The application shall inform the voter that if he or she has declined to disclose a preference for a political party, the voter may request a vote by mail ballot for a particular political party for the partisan primary election, if that political party has adopted a party rule, duly noticed to the Secretary of State, authorizing that vote. The application shall contain a toll-free telephone number, established by the Secretary of State, that the voter may call to access information regarding which political parties have adopted such a rule. The application shall contain a checkoff box with a conspicuously printed statement that reads substantially similar to the following: “I have declined to disclose a preference for a qualified political party. However, for this primary election only, I request a vote by mail ballot for the _________ Party.” The name of the political party shall be personally affixed by the voter.

(d) The application shall provide the voter with information concerning the procedure for establishing permanent vote by mail voter status, and the basis upon which permanent vote by mail voter status is claimed.

(e) The application shall be attested to by the voter as to the truth and correctness of its content, and shall be signed under penalty of perjury.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 596, Sec. 1. (AB 1596) Effective January 1, 2015.)

3007.
  

The Secretary of State shall prepare and distribute to appropriate elections officials a uniform application format for a vote by mail voter’s ballot that conforms to this chapter. This format shall be followed by all individuals, organizations, and groups who distribute applications for a vote by mail voter’s ballot. The uniform format need not be used by elections officials in preparing a vote by mail voter’s ballot application to be included with the county voter information guide.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 422, Sec. 11. (AB 2911) Effective January 1, 2017.)

3007.5.
  

(a) The Secretary of State shall prepare and distribute to appropriate elections officials a uniform electronic application format for a vote by mail voter’s ballot that conforms to this section.

(b) The uniform electronic application shall inform the voter that the application for the vote by mail voter’s ballot must be received by the elections official not later than seven days prior to the date of the election and shall contain spaces for at least the following information:

(1) The name and residence address of the registered voter as it appears on the affidavit of registration.

(2) The address to which the ballot is to be mailed.

(3) The name and date of the election for which the request is made.

(4) The date of birth of the registered voter.

(c) The uniform electronic application shall inform the voter that if he or she has declined to disclose a preference for a political party, the voter may request a vote by mail ballot for a particular political party for the partisan primary election, if that political party has adopted a party rule, duly noticed to the Secretary of State, authorizing that vote. The application shall contain a toll-free telephone number, established by the Secretary of State, that the voter may call to access information regarding which political parties have adopted such a rule. The application shall list the parties that have notified the Secretary of State of the adoption of such a rule. The application shall contain a checkoff box with a conspicuously printed statement that reads substantially similar to the following: “I have declined to disclose a preference for a qualified political party. However, for this primary election only, I request a vote by mail ballot for the ____ Party.” The name of the political party shall be personally affixed by the voter.

(d) The uniform electronic application shall contain a conspicuously printed statement substantially similar to the following: “Only the registered voter himself or herself may apply for a vote by mail ballot. An application for a vote by mail ballot made by a person other than the registered voter is a criminal offense.”

(e) The uniform electronic application shall include a statement substantially similar to the following: “A ballot will not be sent to you if this application is incomplete or inaccurate.”

(f) The uniform electronic application format shall not permit the form to be electronically submitted unless all of the information required to complete the application is contained in the appropriate fields.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 3, Sec. 9. (AB 1413) Effective February 10, 2012.)

3007.7.
  

(a) The local elections official may offer a voter the ability to electronically apply for a vote by mail voter’s ballot. If the local elections official offers the uniform electronic application, the electronic application shall be in an interactive Internet format to be completed through the local elections official’s secure Internet Web site and may not be a downloadable form. The nondownloadable form shall be of a format that would allow the registered voter making an application for a vote by mail voter’s ballot to enter the required information and submit the single form directly to the elections official’s secure Internet Web site. The local elections official shall make every effort to ensure the security of the submitted information.

(b) Upon receiving an electronic vote by mail ballot application that contains the required information within the proper time, the elections official shall check the information provided against the voter’s information on file. If the elections official deems the applicant entitled to a vote by mail voter’s ballot, the elections official shall deliver the appropriate vote by mail voter’s ballot by mail or in person.

(c) If the elections official determines that an electronic vote by mail ballot application does not contain all of the required information, or for any other reason is defective, and the elections official is able to ascertain the voter’s address, the elections official may not mail the voter a vote by mail voter’s ballot, but shall mail the voter a notice of defect. The notice of defect shall do both of the following:

(1) Specifically inform the voter of the information that is required or the reason for the defect in the application.

(2) State the procedure necessary to remedy the defective application.

(d) An address, as required by paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 3007.5, may not be the address of any political party, a political campaign headquarters, or a candidate’s residence. However, a candidate, his or her spouse, immediate family members, and any other voter who shares the same residence address as the candidate may request that a vote by mail ballot be mailed to the candidate’s residence address.

(e) Except as provided in Section 3007.5 and this section, all other sections of this code pertaining to vote by mail voter applications, submissions, deadlines, and canvassing shall apply to electronic vote by mail ballot applications and applicants.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 508, Sec. 21. Effective January 1, 2008.)

3007.8.
  

(a) A local elections official may offer a voter the ability to apply for a vote by mail voter’s ballot by telephone.

(b) To apply by telephone, the applicant shall provide to the elections official personal identifying information that matches the information contained on the applicant’s affidavit of registration, including first and last name, home address, and date of birth. The applicant’s signature shall not be required.

(c) A person shall not apply for a vote by mail voter’s ballot pursuant to this section using the name of, or on behalf of, another person.

(d) Prior to being asked for personal identifying information, an applicant applying for a vote by mail voter’s ballot pursuant to this section shall be advised as follows:

“Only the registered voter himself or herself may apply for a vote by mail ballot. An application for a vote by mail ballot that is made by any person other than the registered voter is a criminal offense.”

(e) Except as otherwise provided in this section, all provisions of this code governing written applications for vote by mail voters’ ballots shall apply to applications made by telephone.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 71, Sec. 49. (SB 1304) Effective January 1, 2015.)

3008.
  

(a) Any individual, organization, or group that distributes applications for vote by mail voter ballots and receives completed application forms shall return the forms to the appropriate elections official within 72 hours of receiving the completed forms, or before the deadline for application, whichever is sooner. The name, address, and telephone number of any organization that authorizes the distribution of the applications shall be included on the application.

(b) Any application for a vote by mail voter’s ballot that is sent by an individual, group, or organization to a voter shall be nonforwardable. Any vote by mail voter’s ballot that is returned to an elections official as undeliverable shall not be forwarded by the elections official.

(c) A person may not submit a vote by mail ballot application electronically for another registered voter.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 508, Sec. 22. Effective January 1, 2008.)

3009.
  

(a) Upon receipt of any vote by mail ballot application signed by the voter that arrives within the proper time, the elections official should determine if the signature and residence address on the ballot application appear to be the same as that on the original affidavit of registration. The elections official may make this signature check upon receiving the voted ballot, but the signature must be compared before the vote by mail voter ballot is canvassed.

(b) If the elections official deems the applicant entitled to a vote by mail voter’s ballot he or she shall deliver by mail or in person the appropriate ballot. The ballot may be delivered to the applicant, his or her spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling, or a person residing in the same household as the vote by mail voter, except that in no case shall the ballot be delivered to an individual under 16 years of age. The elections official shall deliver the vote by mail ballot to the applicant’s spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling, or a person residing in the same household as the vote by mail voter only if that person signs a statement attested to under penalty of perjury that provides the name of the applicant and his or her relationship to the applicant, and affirms that he or she is 16 years of age or older, and is authorized by the applicant to deliver the vote by mail ballot.

(c) If the elections official determines that an application does not contain all of the information prescribed in Section 3001 or 3006, or for any other reason is defective, and the elections official is able to ascertain the voter’s address, the elections official shall, within one working day of receiving the application, mail the voter a vote by mail voter’s ballot together with a notice. The notice shall inform the voter that the voter’s vote by mail voter’s ballot shall not be counted unless the applicant provides the elections official with the missing information or corrects the defects prior to, or at the time of, receipt of the voter’s executed vote by mail voter’s ballot. The notice shall specifically inform the voter of the information that is required or the reason for the defects in the application, and shall state the procedure necessary to remedy the defective application.

If the voter substantially complies with the requirements contained in the elections official’s notice, the voter’s ballot shall be counted.

In determining from the records of registration if the signature and residence address on the application appear to be the same as that on the original affidavit of registration, the elections official or registrar of voters may use facsimiles of voters’ signatures, provided that the method of preparing and displaying the facsimiles complies with law.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 728, Sec. 71. (AB 1020) Effective January 1, 2016. Operative September 26, 2016, when the Secretary of State issued the certification prescribed by Stats. 2015, Ch. 728, Sec. 88.)

3010.
  

The elections official shall deliver to each qualified applicant:

(a) The ballot for the precinct in which he or she resides. In primary elections this shall also be accompanied by the ballot for the central committee of the party for which the voter has disclosed a preference, if any.

(b) All supplies necessary for the use and return of the ballot.

No officer of this state may make any charge for services rendered to any voter under this chapter.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 728, Sec. 72. (AB 1020) Effective January 1, 2016. Operative September 26, 2016, when the Secretary of State issued the certification prescribed by Stats. 2015, Ch. 728, Sec. 88.)

3011.
  

(a) The identification envelope shall contain all of the following:

(1) A declaration, under penalty of perjury, stating that the voter resides within the precinct in which he or she is voting and is the person whose name appears on the envelope.

(2) The signature of the voter.

(3) The residence address of the voter as shown on the affidavit of registration.

(4) The date of signing.

(5) A notice that the envelope contains an official ballot and is to be opened only by the canvassing board.

(6) A warning plainly stamped or printed on it that voting twice constitutes a crime.

(7) A warning plainly stamped or printed on it that the voter must sign the envelope in his or her own handwriting in order for the ballot to be counted.

(8) A statement that the voter has neither applied, nor intends to apply, for a vote by mail voter’s ballot from any other jurisdiction for the same election.

(9) The name of the person authorized by the voter to return the vote by mail ballot pursuant to Section 3017.

(10) The relationship to the voter of the person authorized to return the vote by mail ballot.

(11) The signature of the person authorized to return the vote by mail ballot.

(b) Except at a primary election for partisan office, and notwithstanding any other provision of law, the vote by mail voter’s party preference may not be stamped or printed on the identification envelope.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 728, Sec. 73. (AB 1020) Effective January 1, 2016. Operative September 26, 2016, when the Secretary of State issued the certification prescribed by Stats. 2015, Ch. 728, Sec. 88.)

3012.
  

Whenever the elections official is required to mail a vote by mail voter’s ballot to any elector and the address to which the ballot is to be mailed is a point outside the territorial limits of the United States, the elections official shall mail the vote by mail voter’s ballot to the elector by airmail and, if under any law of the United States official election ballots may be mailed without the payment of postage, the elections official shall so mail them.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 508, Sec. 25. Effective January 1, 2008.)

3013.
  

Upon delivering or mailing a vote by mail voter’s ballot, the elections official shall enter on the application of the vote by mail voter, or on the affidavit of registration, the type of ballot and the date of delivering or mailing. Before the election the elections official shall send to the inspector of each precinct in his or her county or city a list of the voters in that precinct applying for and receiving ballots under the provisions of this chapter.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 508, Sec. 26. Effective January 1, 2008.)

3014.
  

The elections official shall send a second vote by mail voter ballot to any voter upon receipt of a statement under penalty of perjury that the voter has failed to receive, lost, or destroyed his or her original ballot.

The elections official shall keep a record of each vote by mail voter ballot sent to and received from a voter and shall verify, prior to counting any duplicate ballot, that the voter has not attempted to vote twice. If it is determined that a voter has attempted to vote twice, both ballots shall be void.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 508, Sec. 27. Effective January 1, 2008.)

3015.
  

(a) Notwithstanding subdivision (f) of Section 14310, vote by mail voters who return to the polling place designated for their home precincts on or before election day, or go to a vote center established pursuant to Section 4005, or to the office or satellite office of an elections official where voting is permitted, shall be permitted to vote nonprovisional ballots if either of the following conditions is satisfied:

(1) They surrender their vote by mail voter ballots to the inspector of the precinct board, a member of the vote center election board, or the elections official.

(2) They are unable to surrender their vote by mail voter ballots pursuant to paragraph (1) but the precinct board, vote center election board, or elections official does all of the following:

(A) Verifies that they have not returned their vote by mail ballots.

(B) Notates their voter records to ensure that their vote by mail ballots are not cast or tabulated after they vote at the polls.

(b) The precinct board and vote center election board shall return the unused vote by mail voters’ ballots surrendered pursuant to subdivision (a) to the elections official in an envelope designated for this purpose.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 806, Sec. 22. (SB 286) Effective January 1, 2018.)

3016.
  

Vote by mail voters who return to the polling place designated for their home precincts on or before election day, or go to a vote center established pursuant to Section 4005, or to the office or satellite office of an elections official where voting is permitted, shall be issued a provisional ballot in accordance with Section 14310 if neither of the conditions in subdivision (a) of Section 3015 is satisfied.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 806, Sec. 22.5. (SB 286) Effective January 1, 2018.)

3017.
  

(a) All vote by mail ballots cast under this division shall be voted on or before the day of the election. After marking the ballot, the vote by mail voter shall do any of the following: (1) return the ballot by mail or in person to the elections official who issued the ballot, (2) return the ballot in person to a member of a precinct board at a polling place or vote center within the state, or (3) return the ballot to a vote by mail ballot dropoff location within the state that is provided pursuant to Section 3025 or 4005. However, a vote by mail voter who is unable to return the ballot may designate any person to return the ballot to the elections official who issued the ballot, to the precinct board at a polling place or vote center within the state, or to a vote by mail ballot dropoff location within the state that is provided pursuant to Section 3025 or 4005. The ballot must, however, be received by the elections official who issued the ballot, the precinct board, or the vote by mail ballot dropoff location before the close of the polls on election day. If a vote by mail ballot is returned to a precinct board at a polling place or vote center, or to a vote by mail ballot dropoff location, that is located in a county that is not the county of the elections official who issued the ballot, the elections official for the county in which the vote by mail ballot is returned shall forward the ballot to the elections official who issued the ballot no later than eight days after receipt.

(b) The elections official shall establish procedures to ensure the secrecy of a ballot returned to a polling place and the security, confidentiality, and integrity of any personal information collected, stored, or otherwise used pursuant to this section.

(c) On or before March 1, 2008, the elections official shall establish procedures to track and confirm the receipt of voted vote by mail ballots and to make this information available by means of online access using the county’s elections division Internet Web site. If the county does not have an elections division Internet Web site, the elections official shall establish a toll-free telephone number that may be used to confirm the date a voted vote by mail ballot was received.

(d) The provisions of this section are mandatory, not directory, and a ballot shall not be counted if it is not delivered in compliance with this section.

(e) (1) A person designated to return a vote by mail ballot shall not receive any form of compensation based on the number of ballots that the person has returned and an individual, group, or organization shall not provide compensation on this basis.

(2) For purposes of this paragraph, “compensation” means any form of monetary payment, goods, services, benefits, promises or offers of employment, or any other form of consideration offered to another person in exchange for returning another voter’s vote by mail ballot.

(3) Any person in charge of a vote by mail ballot and who knowingly and willingly engages in criminal acts related to that ballot as described in Division 18 (commencing with Section 18000), including, but not limited to, fraud, bribery, intimidation, and tampering with or failing to deliver the ballot in a timely fashion, is subject to the appropriate punishment specified in that division.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 806, Sec. 23. (SB 286) Effective January 1, 2018.)

3018.
  

(a) Any voter using a vote by mail ballot may, prior to the close of the polls on election day, vote the ballot at the office of the elections official. The voter shall vote the ballot in the presence of an officer of the elections official or in a voting booth, at the discretion of the elections official, but in no case may his or her vote be observed. Where direct recording electronic voting systems, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 19271, are used the elections official shall provide sufficient direct recording electronic voting systems to include all ballot types in the election.

(b) For purposes of this section, the office of an elections official may include satellite locations. Notice of the satellite locations shall be made by the elections official by the issuance of a general news release, issued not later than 14 days prior to voting at the satellite location, except that in a county with a declared emergency or disaster, notice shall be made not later than 48 hours prior to voting at the satellite location. The news release shall set forth the following information:

(1) The satellite location or locations.

(2) The dates and hours the satellite location or locations will be open.

(3) A telephone number that voters may use to obtain information regarding vote by mail ballots and the satellite locations.

(c) Vote by mail ballots voted at a satellite location pursuant to this section shall be placed in a vote by mail voter identification envelope to be completed by the voter pursuant to Section 3011. However, if the elections official provides sufficient direct recording electronic voting systems such that all ballot types in the election may be cast, the vote by mail ballot may be cast on a direct recording electronic voting system.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 911, Sec. 2. (AB 2631) Effective January 1, 2015.)

3019.
  

(a) (1) Upon receiving a vote by mail ballot, the elections official shall compare the signature on the identification envelope with either of the following to determine if the signatures compare:

(A) The signature appearing on the voter’s affidavit of registration or any previous affidavit of registration of the voter.

(B) The signature appearing on a form issued by an elections official that contains the voter’s signature and that is part of the voter’s registration record.

(2) In comparing signatures pursuant to this section, the elections official may use facsimiles of voters’ signatures, provided that the method of preparing and displaying the facsimiles complies with the law.

(3) In comparing signatures pursuant to this section, an elections official may use signature verification technology. If signature verification technology determines that the signatures do not compare, the elections official shall visually examine the signatures and verify that the signatures do not compare.

(4) The variation of a signature caused by the substitution of initials for the first or middle name, or both, is not grounds for the elections official to determine that the signatures do not compare.

(b) If upon conducting the comparison of signatures pursuant to subdivision (a) the elections official determines that the signatures compare, he or she shall deposit the ballot, still in the identification envelope, in a ballot container in his or her office.

(c) If upon conducting the comparison of signatures pursuant to subdivision (a) the elections official determines that the signatures do not compare, the identification envelope shall not be opened and the ballot shall not be counted. The elections official shall write the cause of the rejection on the face of the identification envelope only after completing the procedures described in subdivision (d).

(d) (1) A minimum of eight days prior to the certification of the election, the elections official shall provide notice to all voters identified pursuant to subdivision (c) of the opportunity to verify their signatures no later than 5 p.m. two days prior to the certification of the election.

(2) The notice and instructions shall be in substantially the following form:

“READ THESE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY. FAILURE TO FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS MAY CAUSE YOUR VOTE BY MAIL BALLOT NOT TO COUNT.

1. We have determined that the signature you provided on your vote by mail ballot does not match the signature(s) on file in your voter record. In order to ensure that your vote by mail ballot will be counted, the signature verification statement must be completed and returned as soon as possible.

2. The signature verification statement must be received by the elections official of the county where you are registered to vote no later than 5 p.m. two days prior to certification of the election.

3. You must sign your name where specified on the signature verification statement (Voter’s Signature).

4. Place the signature verification statement into a mailing envelope addressed to your local elections official. Mail, deliver, or have the completed statement delivered to the elections official. Be sure there is sufficient postage if mailed and that the address of the elections official is correct.

5. If you do not wish to send the signature verification statement by mail or have it delivered, you may submit your completed statement by email or facsimile transmission to your local elections official using the information provided.”

(3) The elections official shall not reject a vote by mail ballot identified pursuant to subdivision (c) if each of the following conditions is satisfied:

(A) The voter delivers, in person, by mail, by fax, or by email, a signature verification statement signed by the voter and the elections official receives the statement no later than 5 p.m. two days prior to the certification of the election, or the voter, before the close of the polls on election day, completes and submits a signature verification statement to a polling place within the county or a ballot dropoff box.

(B) Upon receipt of the signature verification statement, the elections official shall compare the signature on the statement with the signature on file in the voter’s record.

(i) If upon conducting the comparison of signatures the elections official determines that the signatures compare, he or she shall deposit the ballot, still in the identification envelope, in a ballot container in his or her office.

(ii) If upon conducting the comparison of the signatures the elections official determines that the signatures do not compare, the identification envelope shall not be opened and the ballot shall not be counted. The elections official shall write the cause of the rejection on the face of the identification envelope.

(4) The signature verification statement shall be in substantially the following form and may be included on the same page as the notice and instructions specified in paragraph (2):

“SIGNATURE VERIFICATION STATEMENT

I,, am a registered voter of __________ County,

State of California. I declare under penalty of perjury that I requested and returned a vote by mail ballot. I am a resident of the precinct in which I have voted, and I am the person whose name appears on the vote by mail ballot envelope. I understand that if I commit or attempt any fraud in connection with voting, or if I aid or abet fraud or attempt to aid or abet fraud in connection with voting, I may be convicted of a felony punishable by imprisonment for 16 months or two or three years. I understand that my failure to sign this statement means that my vote by mail ballot will be invalidated.

Voter’s Signature

Address”

(5) An elections official shall include the vote by mail ballot signature verification statement and instructions provided in this subdivision on his or her Internet Web site, and shall provide the election official’s mailing address, email address, and facsimile transmission number on the Internet Web page containing the statement and instructions.

(6) If the elections official determines that the signatures compare, the official shall use the signature in the signature verification statement, even if returned untimely, to update the voter’s signature for future elections.

(e) (1) (A) Notwithstanding any other law, if an elections official determines that a voter has failed to sign the identification envelope, the elections official shall not reject the vote by mail ballot if the voter does any of the following:

(i) Signs the identification envelope at the office of the elections official during regular business hours before 5 p.m. on the eighth day after the election.

(ii) Before 5 p.m. on the eighth day after the election, completes and submits an unsigned ballot statement in substantially the following form:

“UNSIGNED BALLOT STATEMENT

I,, am a registered voter of __________ County,

State of California. I declare under penalty of perjury that I requested and returned a vote by mail ballot and that I have not and will not vote more than one ballot in this election. I am a resident of the precinct in which I have voted, and I am the person whose name appears on the vote by mail ballot envelope. I understand that if I commit or attempt any fraud in connection with voting, or if I aid or abet fraud or attempt to aid or abet fraud in connection with voting, I may be convicted of a felony punishable by imprisonment for 16 months or two or three years. I understand that my failure to sign this statement means that my vote by mail ballot will be invalidated.

Voter’s Signature

Address”

(iii) Before the close of the polls on election day, completes and submits an unsigned ballot statement, in the form described in clause (ii), to a polling place within the county or a ballot dropoff box.

(B) If timely submitted, the elections official shall accept any completed unsigned ballot statement. Upon receipt of the unsigned ballot statement, the elections official shall compare the voter’s signature on the statement in the manner provided by this section.

(i) If the elections official determines that the signatures compare, he or she shall attach the unsigned ballot statement to the identification envelope and deposit the ballot, still in the identification envelope, in a ballot container in his or her office.

(ii) If the elections official determines that the signatures do not compare, the identification envelope shall not be opened and the ballot shall not be counted.

(C) An elections official may use methods other than those described in subparagraph (A) to obtain a voter’s signature on an unsigned identification envelope.

(2) Instructions shall accompany the unsigned ballot statement in substantially the following form:

“READ THESE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY BEFORE COMPLETING THE STATEMENT. FAILURE TO FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS MAY CAUSE YOUR BALLOT NOT TO COUNT.

1. In order to ensure that your vote by mail ballot will be counted, your statement should be completed and returned as soon as possible so that it can reach the elections official of the county in which your precinct is located no later than 5 p.m. on the eighth day after the election.

2. You must sign your name on the line above (Voter’s Signature).

3. Place the statement into a mailing envelope addressed to your local elections official. Mail, deliver, or have delivered the completed statement to the elections official. Be sure there is sufficient postage if mailed and that the address of the elections official is correct.

4. If you do not wish to send the statement by mail or have it delivered, you may submit your completed statement by facsimile or email transmission to your local elections official, or submit your completed statement to a polling place within the county or a ballot dropoff box before the close of the polls on election day.”

(3) An elections official shall include the unsigned ballot statement and instructions described in this subdivision on his or her Internet Web site, and shall provide the elections official’s mailing address, email address, and facsimile transmission number on the Internet Web page containing the statement and instructions.

(f) A ballot shall not be removed from its identification envelope until the time for processing ballots. A ballot shall not be rejected for cause after the identification envelope has been opened.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 446, Sec. 2. (SB 759) Effective September 17, 2018.)

3019.5.
  

(a) A county elections official shall establish a free access system that allows a vote by mail voter to learn if his or her vote by mail ballot was counted and, if not, the reason why the ballot was not counted. For each election, the elections official shall make the free access system available to a vote by mail voter upon completion of the official canvass and for 30 days after completion of the official canvas.

(b) For purposes of establishing the free access system for vote by mail ballots required by subdivision (a), a county elections official may use the free access system for provisional ballots established by the county pursuant to Section 302 of the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 (52 U.S.C. Sec. 21082).

(c) If a county elections official elects not to mail a county voter information guide to a voter pursuant to Section 13305, the elections official shall use any savings achieved to offset the costs associated with establishing the free access system for vote by mail ballots required by subdivision (a).

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 422, Sec. 12. (AB 2911) Effective January 1, 2017.)

3020.
  

(a) All vote by mail ballots cast under this division shall be received by the elections official from whom they were obtained or by the precinct board no later than the close of the polls on election day.

(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), any vote by mail ballot cast under this division shall be timely cast if it is received by the voter’s elections official via the United States Postal Service or a bona fide private mail delivery company no later than three days after election day and either of the following is satisfied:

(1) The ballot is postmarked on or before election day or is time stamped or date stamped by a bona fide private mail delivery company on or before election day.

(2) If the ballot has no postmark, a postmark with no date, or an illegible postmark, the vote by mail ballot identification envelope is date stamped by the elections official upon receipt of the vote by mail ballot from the United States Postal Service or a bona fide private mail delivery company, and is signed and dated pursuant to Section 3011 on or before election day.

(c) For purposes of this section, “bona fide private mail delivery company” means a courier service that is in the regular business of accepting a mail item, package, or parcel for the purpose of delivery to a person or entity whose address is specified on the item.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 225, Sec. 1. (AB 2071) Effective January 1, 2017.)

3021.
  

After the close of the period for requesting vote by mail voter ballots by mail any voter unable to go to the polls because of illness or disability resulting in his or her confinement in a hospital, sanatorium, nursing home, or place of residence, or any voter unable because of a physical handicap to go to his or her polling place or because of that handicap is unable to vote at his or her polling place due to existing architectural barriers at his or her polling place denying him or her physical access to the polling place, voting booth, or voting apparatus or machinery, or any voter unable to go to his or her polling place because of conditions resulting in his or her absence from the precinct for an election may request in a written statement, signed under penalty of perjury that a ballot be delivered to him or her. This written statement shall not be required if the vote by mail ballot is voted in the office of the elections official as defined by subdivision (b) of Section 3018, at the time of the request. This ballot shall be delivered by the elections official to any authorized representative of the voter who presents this written statement to the elections official.

Before delivering the ballot the elections official may compare the signature on the request with the signature on the voter’s affidavit of registration, but in any event, the signature shall be compared before the vote by mail ballot is canvassed.

The voter shall mark the ballot, place it in the identification envelope, fill out and sign the envelope and return the ballot, personally or through the authorized representative, to either the elections official or any polling place within the jurisdiction.

These ballots shall be processed and counted in the same manner as other vote by mail ballots.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 806, Sec. 24. (SB 286) Effective January 1, 2018.)

3021.5.
  

(a) Upon the declaration of an out-of-state emergency by the Governor and the issuance of an executive order authorizing an out-of-state emergency worker to cast a ballot outside of his or her home precinct, a county elections official shall, upon request of an out-of-state emergency worker pursuant to this chapter, issue a vote by mail ballot to the out-of-state emergency worker using a process to be determined by that elections official. The process shall include all of the following:

(1) Authorization for an out-of-state emergency worker to request a vote by mail ballot after the close of the vote by mail ballot application period specified in Section 3001.

(2) Authorization for a vote by mail ballot and accompanying voting materials to be sent to an out-of-state emergency worker by mail, facsimile transmission, or electronic transmission, as requested by the out-of-state emergency worker. An elections official may use reasonable facsimiles of the county voter information guides sent to voters as vote by mail ballots.

(3) A requirement that an out-of-state emergency worker mark the vote by mail ballot provided to him or her, place it in the vote by mail ballot identification envelope, and return the vote by mail ballot to the elections official from whom it was obtained. If no identification envelope is provided, the envelope used to return the vote by mail ballot to the elections official shall include the information required by subdivision (a) of Section 3011 and a statement signed under penalty of perjury that the voter is an out-of-state emergency worker.

(b) In order to be counted, a vote by mail ballot cast pursuant to this section shall be received in compliance with Section 3020.

(c) An elections official shall receive and canvass vote by mail ballots cast pursuant to this section by the same procedure as for all other vote by mail ballots cast pursuant to this chapter.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 422, Sec. 13. (AB 2911) Effective January 1, 2017.)

3022.
  

The elections official shall include with the county voter information guide an application for a vote by mail ballot.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 422, Sec. 14. (AB 2911) Effective January 1, 2017.)

3023.
  

Each ballot that is delivered pursuant to this chapter shall be accompanied by a state voter information guide, unless the voter has already been provided a state voter information guide. The state voter information guide shall display the Internet Web site address for a voter to check the status of his or her vote by mail or provisional ballot.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 85, Sec. 1. (AB 1044) Effective January 1, 2018.)

3024.
  

The cost to administer vote by mail ballots where issues and elective offices related to school districts, as defined by Section 17519 of the Government Code, are included on a ballot election with noneducation issues and elective offices shall not be fully or partially prorated to a school district. The Commission on State Mandates shall delete school districts, county boards of education, and community college districts from the list of eligible claimants in the Parameters and Guidelines for the Absentee Ballot Mandates.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 508, Sec. 36. Effective January 1, 2008.)

3025.
  

(a) For purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:

(1) “Vote by mail ballot drop box” means a secure receptacle established by a county or city and county elections official whereby a voted vote by mail ballot may be returned to the elections official from whom it was obtained.

(2) “Vote by mail ballot drop-off location” means a location consisting of a secured vote by mail ballot drop box at which a voted vote by mail ballot may be returned to the elections official from whom it was obtained.

(b) On or before January 1, 2017, the Secretary of State shall promulgate regulations establishing guidelines based on best practices for security measures and procedures, including, but not limited to, chain of custody, pick-up times, proper labeling, and security of vote by mail ballot drop boxes, that a county elections official may use if the county elections official establishes one or more vote by mail ballot drop-off locations.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 86, Sec. 93. (SB 1171) Effective January 1, 2017.)

3026.
  

The Secretary of State shall promulgate regulations establishing guidelines for county elections officials relating to the processing of vote by mail ballots.

(Added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 821, Sec. 1. (AB 1970) Effective January 1, 2017.)

ELECElections Code - ELEC