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Photograph: Courtesy Unsplash/Jennifer GriffinMural by Mac Blackout.

Where to vote in Los Angeles: Find your nearest vote center or vote-by-mail drop box

Voting in person at a polling place? Dropping off a vote-by-mail ballot? Here’s what you need to know.

By
Michael Juliano
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With the polls closed we’ll jump right to the most important question.

How can I make sure my ballot has been counted?

You can check your vote-by-mail ballot status through the county’s website. But if you don’t feel like obsessively refreshing the page, we suggest using the state’s Ballot Trax system, which will send you a notification (via text or email) when you ballot has been received and counted.

The rest of our original story appears below.

So your vote-by-mail ballot is still just sitting on your kitchen table. Or you never received one and you’re scrambling to figure out what to do. Not to worry: We’ve put together a quick primer about what you need to know about getting your ballot in and counted in time for Election Day. Whether you want to use your vote-by-mail ballot or vote at one of these L.A. landmarks (and nab a sweet, sweet sticker in the process), here’s what you need to know.

When do I need to vote by? And when are the polling places open?

Election Day isn’t the only day to vote this year—rather it’s the last day. Some early voting centers have been open since October 24, but all of the rest in L.A. County will be open starting October 30. You can cast your vote daily from 10am to 7pm. On Election Day itself—that’s November 3, 2020 and your last change to vote—vote centers will be open from 7am to 8pm. And if you’re depositing your ballot in a vote-by-mail drop box, you’ll need to do so by 8pm on November 3. 

Where can I vote in person or drop off my ballot?

We’ve put together this helpful guide below with both options in one map.

Expand the map to search by address, or check the county’s website to see wait times for polling places. In addition to secure outdoor drop boxes, voting centers should accept your already-completed ballot as well.

So I can really vote at any one of these places?

Yes, 2020 marks the first presidential election under L.A.’s new vote center model, in which instead of casting your ballot at an assigned polling place in your neighborhood, you can vote at any one of the over 700 vote centers in the county.

If I vote in person, do I need to bring my vote-by-mail ballot with me?

No, but it might be a good idea. L.A. is one of 15 counties included in the California Voter’s Choice Act, which, among other things, allows you to cast your vote in person even if you don’t have your mail-in-ballot in hand (they’ll simply void your mail-in one). Worst case scenario, you could be asked to cast a provisional ballot (when your vote won’t be counted until it’s verified that you’re registered and that your ballot hasn’t been submitted twice), so it’s not a bad idea to surrender your mail-in-ballot just to be safe.

What else should I know about voting in person?

We’ll start with some words about safety: You’ll need to wear a face covering, and gloves are recommended as well since you’ll be touching the voting machines (vote centers should be able to provide both). You’ll also need to maintain six feet of social distancing. Each voting center wipes down and sanitizes all surfaces and ballot marking devices after each voter, and all election workers will be wearing protective gloves and masks.

To speed things up, the county recommends having your quick check-in code ready, which you can find on your sample ballot, your vote center postcard or online. You can also fill out an interactive sample ballot that can be scanned at a voting machine to autofill your selections. 

Can I just mail in my ballot?

Yes, but you probably shouldn’t this close to the election. Vote-by-mail ballots must be postmarked by Election Day, November 3, and received no later than 17 days after the election, which is November 20. But the county encourages getting your ballot in as early as possible, so we’d instead suggest using one of the drop boxes listed above (the county collects and processes ballots from these daily).

What if I’m not registered to vote?

First, check your registration status online just to make sure. If it turns out your aren’t registered, not to worry: As in the rest of California, all of L.A.’s vote centers offer same-day voter registration.

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