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San Luis Obispo County, California


How to Vote-by-Mail

How to Apply for a Vote-by-Mail Ballot

The first day to issue Vote-By-Mail ballots for any election is 29 days before Election Day.  Vote-by-Mail ballot requests can be received anytime prior to the election and must be received no later than 7 days prior to the election in order for the ballot to be mailed to the voter.  After that date the voter must appear in the Office of the County Clerk-Recorder and complete an application indicating the reason they cannot appear at the polls on Election Day.  Vote-by-Mail ballots may be requested by doing one of the following:

  • Print, complete and return a Vote-by-Mail Application from the California Secretary of State's webpage
  • Completing and returning the Vote-by-Mail Application on the back cover of the sample ballot sent to each registered voter who is not a permanent Vote-by-Mail voter  
  • Appearing in person at County Clerk-Recorder's office in San Luis Obispo or Atascadero.  Please visit Contact Us for office details
  • Sending a letter, fax or email request  to the County Clerk-Recorder.  The letter must state the voters name, residence address, address to which the ballot should be sent and voter's signature.
    • Address:    1055 Monterey St., Suite D120, San Luis Obispo, CA, 93408
    • Fax:           805-781-1111
    • Email:
  • Telephone request - Only the registered voter may apply for a Vote-by-Mail ballot.
    • Telephone Number:  805-781-5228

Returning a Voted Vote-by-Mail Ballot

In order for a ballot to be counted it must be:

  • postmarked before or on Election Day and be received in the Clerk-Recorder’s office no later than three days after Election Day
  • returned by the voter personally to any polling place in the county by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day
  • returned to the County Clerk-Recorder's office no later than 8:00 p.m. on Election Day

We recommend that voters mail their ballots one week prior to Election Day to ensure that the ballot will be received in time to be counted. 


The voter may authorize a designated family member or someone living in the same household to return the voted ballot to any polling place in the county or to the County Clerk-Recorder's Office.  This authorization is located on the vote-by-mail ballot envelope.     


Checking on the Status of your Vote-by-Mail Ballot

To determine the status of your ballot please visit Vote-by-Mail Ballot Status Lookup