How do I vote?

A refresher on how to return your ballot for the 2020 General Election

Election 2020

Sending ballots by mail has become a big story in America leading up to the 2020 General Election, but in Butte County, voters already have some experience with the process. For the March primary, Butte was one of the 15 counties that took advantage of the provisions of the California Voter’s Choice Act by sending mail-in ballots to all registered voters and expanding early voting at designated centers.

For the Nov. 3 election, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, all states will allow mail-in voting: nine states (including California) and Washington D.C. are automatically sending ballots to registered voters; 36 permit ballot requests with either COVID-19 as an excuse or no reason at all; and five allow voters a mail-in ballot with a qualified excuse.

Ballots in Butte County are mailed out Monday (Oct. 5); if not received by Oct. 12, call the Elections Office at 552-3400 for a replacement. To check the status of your ballot (when it was mailed, received and counted), visit

As a refresher, here are the different ways local voters can turn in their ballots:

Mail it back:

● No postage necessary.
● Ballot must be postmarked by Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Deposit in a secure drop box:

● Drop boxes open Oct. 5-Nov. 3.
● Ballot must be turned in before 8 p.m. on Nov. 3.
● Refer to your Voter Information Guide for a list of drop box locations and hours.

Hand deliver to a voting assistance center (VAC)

● VACs open Oct. 31-Nov. 3 (four days only).
● Ballot must be turned in before 8 p.m. on Nov. 3.
● Refer to your Voter Information Guide for a list of VAC locations and hours of operation.

Wait, am I registered to vote?

● Check your registration status at
● Deadline to register by mail or online is Oct. 19.
● Miss the deadline? There’s still a way: Conditional Voter Registration is available and you can fill out a provisional ballot at the Butte County Clerk-Recorder Elections Division office (155 Nelson Ave. Oroville) through Nov. 3 or at a VAC between Oct. 31 and Nov. 3.

Ballot drop box at Chico’s city hall. (CN&R file photo by Andre Byik)


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