What is the process?

Step 1: How to Apply for a Vote-by-Mail Ballot

All Californians who are registered, active and otherwise eligible to vote in the September 14, 2021, California Gubernatorial Recall Election shall receive vote-by-mail ballots. (Elec. Code, § 3000.5.)

You may request a Vote-by-Mail ballot one of the following ways:

  • Print, complete and return a Vote-by-Mail Application.

  • Complete and return 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.

  • Appear in person at the Clerk-Recorder office in San Luis Obispo.

  • Submit a written request to the Clerk-Recorder’s Office via mail, fax or email. The request must state the following:
  1. Voter's Name
  2. Residence Address
  3. Address to which the ballot should be sent, and
  4. Voter's signature
  • Request by phone. Only the registered voter may apply for a Vote-by-Mail ballot over the phone.


Address:  1055 Monterey St., Suite D120, San Luis Obispo, CA, 93408

Phone #:  (805) 781-5228

Fax:          (805) 781-1111

Email:       [email protected]


Vote-by-Mail ballot requests 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.

Step 2: How to Apply to be a Permanent Vote-by-Mail voter

You may apply one of the following ways:

Applicant's full name,

Applicant's residence address,

Address where ballot is to be mailed, if different from the place of residence

Signature of the applicant.

Becoming a permanent vote-by-mail voter, you will receive your ballot in the mail before every election you are entitled to vote. If you do not vote in four (4) consecutive statewide general elections, you will need to reapply for permanent vote-by-mail status.

Please Note: Vote-by-Mail ballots are mailed out approximately 29 days before each election. If you are away from your residence/mailing address during this time, please be aware that the Post Office is prohibited by law from forwarding election materials. Your ballot will be returned to this office if you have a forwarding order on file.

If you have any questions regarding becoming a permanent Vote-by-Mail voter or would like an application sent to you, contact the Clerk-Recorder's Office.

Address:  1055 Monterey St., Suite D120, San Luis Obispo, CA, 93408

Phone #:  (805) 781-5228

Fax:          (805) 781-1111

Email:       [email protected]

Step 3: Returning a 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 7 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.   

Step 4: How to check the status of your Vote-By-Mail Ballot

To determine the status of your vote-by-mail ballot please use the Voter Status Lookup.

Who can use this service?

Any registered voter in San Luis Obispo County may request a Vote-by-Mail ballot or apply for Permanent Vote-by-Mail status.

Is there a charge for this service?

This service is provided free of charge.

When and where is this service offered?

This service is available anytime throughout the year at the Clerk-Recorder office in San Luis Obispo during regular business hours except during County-observed holidays.

Location, directions and hours of operation

Click on location name to show hours of operation, directions and phone information

Frequently Asked Questions