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It's Recall Election Day In California. Here's How To Vote.

A California recall ballot is displayed in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, Aug. 30, 2021.
Rich Pedroncelli
AP Photo
A California recall ballot is displayed in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, Aug. 30, 2021.

It's election day in California. You have until 8 p.m. to cast your vote to either recall Gov. Gavin Newsom and remove him from office, or let him finish out the remainder of his term.

If you haven't voted, or even haven't registered, there is still time. Here's how to participate today and get up to speed on the recall.

When are the polls open on election day?

The polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Can I still turn in my mail-in ballot?

Yes. You can turn in your mail-in ballot at your polling location or ballot drop box until 8 p.m. You can look up official ballot drop box locations here.

Where can I vote in-person?

In counties that use vote centers, such as Sacramento, voters can vote in-person. You can look up your polling place here, or contact your county's registrar's office.

Here are some tips:

  • Election officials suggest you bring your mail-in ballot, but it is not required.
  • If you've voted by mail, you can't change your vote.
  • You can call the Secretary of State’s voter hotline 1-800-345-VOTE to get answers about where and how to vote, and to document complaints about voter intimidation or harassment.

How do I register on election day?

Californians can register conditionally on election day until 8 p.m. You can do this at your polling place or any vote center, if your county has them. You’ll receive a conditional voter registration because the registration deadline has passed, but you can still cast a provisional ballot which will be counted once your eligibility is verified.

You can register to vote as long as you are over 18 and a United States citizen. Parolees are now able to vote in elections, after voters approved Proposition 17 last November.

Not sure if you're registered? You can sign up or check your voter registration status on the Secretary of State’s website.

What questions are on the ballot?

First, check out our Recall Election Voter Guide, which has more information on what's on the ballot, including a look at the candidates running to replace Newsom. But here are the basics:

The recall ballot will have two parts:

  • The question “Shall Gavin Newsom be recalled (removed) from the office of Governor?”
  • A list of candidates who could potentially replace the governor if a recall is successful.

Voters will choose "Yes" or "No" on the first question. A "Yes" vote means you want Newsom to be recalled. A "No" vote means you would like Newsom to remain governor. If more than 50% choose to recall Newsom, the candidate who wins the most votes will replace him. The second part includes a list of the 46 candidates who qualified for the ballot

How do I fill out my ballot?

Fill out your mail-in ballot and place it in the secure envelope. Make sure you sign the outside of your ballot envelope. Election officials match your signature with the one on file to verify your identity.

Watch for common mistakes before you turn in your ballot. A recent study said the most common reasons mail-in ballots get rejected include: returning them too late, forgetting to sign the ballot envelope and signatures that don’t match the one on file.

Here are some tips on how to make sure your vote-by mail ballot gets counted.

Can I track my ballot once I vote?

Once you’ve mailed your ballot back or dropped it off at an official ballot dropbox, you can keep an eye on its progress with the state’s ballot tracker website.

When will results be released?

The state will start releasing results after the polls are closed at 8 p.m., but that won't tell the whole story.

Election experts say it’s impossible to predict exactly when the race will be decided. If it’s a landslide, we might know within hours of polls closing. But a close contest could mean weeks of hand-wringing as late arriving mail ballots are counted before a winner is declared.

Read more on how the results will be released here.

Where Can I Find Results?

CapRadio will be updating results here starting at 8 p.m.

As a refresher, the election won't be officially certified by the Secretary of State until Oct. 22. Before then, CapRadio and NPR will rely on the Associated Press to call a winner in the recall. Here's how that process works.

Chris Hagan is the Managing Editor, Digital Content for CapRadio.
Nicole covers politics and government for CapRadio. Before moving to California, she won several awards, including a regional Edward R. Murrow Award, for her political reporting in her hometown of Salt Lake City. Besides public radio, Nicole is passionate about beautiful landscapes and breakfast burritos.
Since 2015, Chris Nichols has worked as CapRadio’s PolitiFact California reporter where he fact-checks politicians in the Golden State both on-air and online. His work includes debunking social media misinformation and explaining complex statewide topics from California’s affordable housing and homelessness crises to election issues.