What is the process?

No Need to Apply for Vote-By-Mail Ballot

  • All California active registered voters will receive a vote-by-mail ballot for all elections. No application is needed.
  • The last day to register to vote is 15 days prior to Election Day.
  • Official ballots will be mailed to all active registered voters no later than 29 days prior to each election, and within 5 days for voters who register after the initial mailing and by the registration deadline.
  • The last day the elections office can mail ballots to voters is 7 days prior to each election. After this date, voters must visit our office to receive and vote a replacement ballot, or they can authorize a representative to obtain and deliver a ballot to them.

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 official ballot drop box, polling place, or Vote Center in the state 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

The voter may authorize another individual to return their voted ballot. This authorization is located on the vote-by-mail ballot envelope.   

Register to Track Your Ballot

San Luis Obispo County voters can subscribe to receive automated alerts regarding the status of their ballot. Where's My Ballot? allows voters to determine how they want to be notified and provides updates on when ballots are mailed, received, counted, and if there are any issues.

How to check your voter status

To determine your voter status, please use the Voter Status Lookup.

Who is eligible?

Any registered voter in San Luis Obispo County.

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

Monday-Friday 8:00am-5:00pm

1055 Monterey Street Suite D120
San Luis Obispo, CA 93408

Tel: (805) 781-5080

Fax: (805) 781-1111


The number of people voting by mail in this county has increased steadily over the years. See the voter turnout and vote by mail history document for more details.

All active registered voters in San Luis Obispo County will receive an official ballot in the mail.

Follow the directions included with your Vote-by-Mail ballot. Use black or dark blue ink pens or a #2 pencil to fill in the oval next to the candidate or measure on which you are voting. DO NOT use red or light colored inks. Ballots marked with red or light colored inks CANNOT be read by the tabulating machines. Place your voted ballot in the return envelope provided. Be sure you sign and print your residence address on the return envelope. Your ballot will not be counted if there is no signature on the return envelope.

The following guidelines provide due dates for returning your Vote-by-Mail ballots:

  1. When returning it by mail:  Vote-by-mail ballots that are mailed must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received by your county elections office no later than 7 days after Election Day. If you are not sure your vote-by-mail ballot will arrive in time if mailed, bring it to any polling place in the State of California between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.
  2. When returning it in person to a polling place or our office:  Vote-by-mail ballots that are personally delivered must be delivered no later than the close of polls at 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.
  3. When dropping it into one of our ballot drop boxes:  Vote-by-mail ballots that are personally delivered to a ballot drop-off location must be delivered no later than the close of polls at 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.

You may mail your ballot with a postmark on Election Day. The Elections office must receive that Election Day postmarked ballot within 7 days of the election in order for it to be counted. If you think your ballot may not arrive within 7 days, you have these additional options for returning your ballot:

  • Before Election Day, you may return a Vote-by-Mail ballot in person to the Clerk-Recorder Election Department at either of our offices (locations and hours shown on this page).
  • On Election Day you may return a Vote-by-Mail ballot in person to any Clerk-Recorder Election Department, official drop box, polling place or vote center in the State of California between the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

You may authorize any person to return your ballot. On the return envelope, you must sign your name and print the name of the person you are authorizing to return your ballot.

California Late Vote-by-Mail Ballot Application

If you are unable to vote in person at the polls and do not have a vote-by-mail ballot, you may apply in writing for a late vote-by-mail ballot. This application must be provided in person to your county elections official by you or your representative. (Elec. Code, § 3021.)

Once you mark your ballot, fill out and sign the return envelope, you can personally or through your authorized representative, submit your ballot either to your elections official or any polling place within your jurisdiction.

California Late Vote-by-Mail Application: Late Vote by Mail Application

If you have made a mistake on your ballot, please call our office at (805) 781-5228 to receive instructions on how to get a replacement ballot. Note: Per Election Code §14288 a voter shall not receive more than a total of three ballots, including the original ballot, in this manner.

You may apply for and receive a Vote-by-Mail ballot earlier than 29 days if you meet the requirements of being a Military or Overseas voter listed below.

EC 300(b) “Military or overseas voter” means an elector absent from the county in which he or she is otherwise eligible to vote who is any of the following:

(1) A member of the active or reserve components of the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard; a Merchant Marine; a member of the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps; a member of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps of the United States; or a member on activated status of the National Guard or state militia.

(2) A citizen of the United States living outside of the territorial limits of the United States or the District of Columbia.

(3) A spouse or dependent of a person described in paragraph (1).

Check your ballot stub to determine your in person voting location. On Election Day, you can surrender your Vote-by-Mail ballot in the I.D. envelope at your designated polling place. A poll worker will then provide you with a poll ballot.

If you do not have your Vote-by-Mail ballot to surrender at your designated polling place, the poll worker must confirm with the Elections Office that a ballot has not been received before providing you with a poll ballot. 

If you do not have your Vote-by-Mail ballot to surrender and the poll worker can't determine that your ballot has or has not been received, you will need to vote a provisional ballot.

Yes, if a precinct has fewer than 250 registered voters on the 88th day before an election, that precinct can be declared by the elections official to be a "Mail Ballot Precinct". Voters within a Mail Ballot Precinct who wish to vote in person on Election Day may vote provisionally at any polling place or at the San Luis Obispo County Elections Office located in Atascadero or San Luis Obispo.