Know Your Rights as a California Voter

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Photo Source: Mikhail Nilov

State of California Department of Justice

With vote-by-mail ballots on their way to every active registered voter across the state last week, California Attorney General Rob Bonta and Secretary of State Shirley N. Weber, Ph.D. urged all Californians to review the California Voter Bill of Rights, learn more about the state’s voting protections, and make a plan to cast their ballot. By law, Monday, August 16 was the day by which county elections officials were required to begin mailing each registered voter a vote-by-mail ballot. As soon as you receive your ballot, you may cast your vote by mail or through other options made available in your area by county elections officials.

“The right to freely cast your vote is foundational for our system of government,” said Attorney General Bonta. “But it takes each and every one of us doing our part to help ensure our democracy can thrive. To all Californians: I urge you to know your rights and make a plan today for casting your ballot. At the California Department of Justice, we stand ready to do our part to continue to protect all voters in our state. Now’s the time to make your voice heard.”

“Last year, we had a record turnout of more than 17.7 million voters. Registration numbers continue to rise to over 22 million. Democracy clearly matters to the people of California,” said Secretary of State Weber. “To ensure that the outcome of the upcoming recall election reflects the will of the people, Californians have my commitment and that of the Attorney General to protect the right of every eligible voter — regardless of party — to cast their ballot.”

As in the 2020 General Election, every voter in the upcoming recall election will have the option of voting by mail. All vote-by-mail ballots come with a postage paid envelope and, as long as it is postmarked by Election Day on Sept. 14, 2021, the ballot may be validly cast at no cost to the voter through the mail.

On Election Day, the California Department of Justice is on call to provide additional assistance to the Secretary of State’s Office in enforcing California’s election laws where needed through a team of attorneys and administrative staff located across the state.

Know your rights as a citizen. The California Voter Bill of Rights is available Download the California Voter Bill of Rights at the Secretary of State’s website in nearly 30 different languages by visiting https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voter-bill-rights.

In California, you have the right:

To vote if you are a registered voter;
To vote if you are a registered voter even if your name is not on the list;
To vote if you are still in line when the polls close;
To cast a secret ballot;
To get a new ballot if you have made a mistake;
To get help casting your ballot;
To drop off your completed vote-by-mail ballot at any polling place;
To get election materials in a language other than English;
To ask questions to elections officials about election procedures; and
To report any illegal or fraudulent election activity.

If you believe you have been denied any of these rights or you are aware of any election fraud or misconduct, please call the Secretary of State’s confidential toll-free Voter Hotline at (800) 345-VOTE (8683). Under California law, voters are protected from election interference, voter intimidation, and electioneering within 100 feet of a polling place.

California law enforcement agencies are empowered to enforce California’s election laws, including during voting that occurs between now through Election Day. More information on California laws protecting the rights of voters can be found in a law enforcement bulletin at oag.ca.gov/.

It’s important to make sure you have a plan to cast your ballot by Election Day:

Visit vote.ca.gov for helpful election information.
You can also track your vote-by-mail ballot. Sign up with the Secretary of State’s Office at https://wheresmyballot.sos.ca.gov for text, email, or voice status alerts.

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