To promote effective and safe voting among residents, the Contra Costa County Elections Department has begun the process of sending mail-in ballots for the Nov. 3 election to every county voter.
Initiated as a part of an executive order issued by Governor Gavin Newsom, county officials said the move was approved by the governor as a part of the state's plan to combat the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
County officials did note, however, that they will still have physical voting locations and 40 drop-off boxes. They also said that since 560,000 individuals, more than 75% of regional voters, already vote by mail, only a minority of residents will be affected.
“Elections and the right to vote are foundational to our democracy,” Governor Newsom said after issuing the order in May. “No Californian should be forced to risk their health in order to exercise their right to vote. Mail-in ballots aren’t a perfect solution for every person, and I look forward to our public health experts and the Secretary of State’s and the Legislature’s continued partnership to create safer in-person opportunities for Californians who aren’t able to vote by mail.”
To keep residents aware of the changes, Contra Costa County elections officials have reached out to residents who typically do not vote by mail with an informative "direct mail piece" explaining the process.
Voters who receive this mailing can help ensure their vote gets counted by updating their signature on file -- if necessary -- by signing and returning the postage paid postcard.
“While very few ballots are not counted because of unmatched signatures, we want voters to update their signature we have on file, if they believe their signature has changed.” Debi Cooper, Contra Costa County's Clerk-Recorder-Registrar, said in a statement. “We want to be sure every ballot can be counted.”
All voters should also check their registration status and address on the county's elections website www.cocovote.us or on the Californian Secretary of State’s website www.sos.ca.gov to ensure they receive their ballot.
County officials also advise residents that ballots can not be forwarded to an address not listed as a voter's primary residents.
After a resident sends in their ballot, they can follow the status of their vote and track their ballot by signing up for notifications at www.wheresmyballot.sos.ca.gov.
“I voted” stickers will be included with every vote-by-mail ballot for this election and return postage is prepaid. Voters may also return their ballots at the 40 ballot drop boxes located throughout the county.
Vote-by-mail ballots are delivered to voters by the United States Postal Service 29 days before the election, with the exception of military and overseas voters who are sent ballots 45 days before the election.
Residents can learn more about the vote-by-mail process in Contra Costa County online at