Ahead of California’s primary election on June 7, registered voters should start receiving their mail-in ballots if they have not already. KCRW has compiled essential information to help Californians narrow down their choices.
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CA primary 2022: How voting works, when to expect results

The 2022 election season has arrived. And as Californians begin to fill out their vote-by-mail ballots, KCRW has the answers to burning questions leading up to June 7. How does California’s new (and permanent) mail-in ballot system work? Who’s running for Los Angeles mayor? When is election day?

What’s on the 2022 primary ballot?

Californians will thin out the field of candidates in the lead up to the November 8 general election. That includes picking the top contenders for governor, state attorney general, U.S. senator, U.S. representatives, and secretary of state. 

Los Angeles voters will also decide which top two candidates will run for LA mayor, LA City Council, LA County Board of Supervisors, as well as LA and Orange County sheriffs. 

Listen to KCRW’s exclusive interviews with the leading mayoral candidates as LA Councilmember Kevin de León, California Congresswoman Karen Bass, community organizer Gina Viola, and billionaire businessman Rick Caruso share their proposals and visions for the city. 

Following the LA County Board of Supervisors race in the third district? Listen to our interviews with three of the leading candidates, including West Hollywood City Council member Lindsey Horvath, California state Senators Bob Hertzberg, and Henry Stern.

Want to know who’s running for public office in your area? Input your address down below, and you’ll get a personalized ballot for your district. 

Important dates

All ballots mailed to registered California voters: May 9

Deadline to register to vote: May 23 

Vote centers open: Starting May 28

Primary election: June 7

Deadline to sign up for conditional (same-day) voting: June 7

Am I eligible to vote?

Eligible voters must be U.S. citizens who reside in California and be 18 years of age or older by election day. They must also be found to be mentally competent by the courts. 

Those serving in state or federal prison for the conviction of a felony are not allowed to register to vote or participate in elections. Exceptions do apply to certain Californians with a criminal history

If you don’t know whether you’re registered to vote, you can check your status online on the California secretary of state’s website. If you don’t have a driver's license, state-issued ID, or a social security number, you can contact your local county elections office or the California secretary of state

If you’ve moved between now and the last election, you will need to update your voter registration to reflect the change.

How to register to vote

Eligible Californians can register to vote online, by mail, or in person. The last day to register online is May 23, 2022. When applying, you’ll need your California-issued ID or driver's license, date of birth, and the last four digits of your social security number.  

Paper applications can be found at government locations such as DMVs, public libraries, local county elections offices, and post offices. Voters must hand deliver or mail applications to local elections offices 15 days (May 23) before the election.

What if I miss the deadline to register? 

Even if you miss the May 23 deadline to register, the state of California allows residents to apply for same-day voter registration or conditional voter registration. That just means voters can sign up to vote right on the spot at a voting center, county elections office or polling place.  

People who are 16 or 17 years old who live in California and are U.S. citizens can pre-register to vote. 

How do I cast my ballot? 

Southern California voters have a few options to choose from when casting their ballots. They can vote in-person at a local vote center/polling place, or fill out and submit in a mail-in ballot. Every registered voter in California should have received one by May 9. 

If one hasn’t landed in your mailbox, contact your local county elections office and request a new ballot. 

Ballots sent by mail must be postmarked on or before June 7 to be counted in the primary. 

Where can I vote in-person? 

Those eligible can cast their ballot at many vote centers across the Southland, including in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, and Riverside counties, according to the Voter's Choice Act of 2022. Each vote center will open 10 days before the official election day and will extend its hours to Saturday and Sunday the weekend before. 

Voters in other counties will have an assigned polling place where they can cast their ballots. Check your mail-in ballot for your assigned location. 

Where can I drop off my mail-in ballot? 

In 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 37 into law, which made vote-by-mail permanent for every registered voter. In practice, that means registered voters in the state will automatically receive a ballot by mail during every election. 

Each ballot includes an envelope with prepaid postage that you can drop off in a USPS mailbox or at a post office. Voters can also hand-deliver it to a local ballot drop box or vote center. 

Check out the links below to find the nearest county-operated drop box:

How will I know when my ballot is counted?

You can track the status of your ballot through the California secretary of state’s “Where’s My Ballot” tool. All you need is your full name, date of birth and your zip code. 

When will we find out the results of the 2022 primary?

Once in-person, mail-in, and conditional ballots are counted, California county elections officials must submit their final tallies to the secretary of state by July 8. 

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