Please contact us for information in alternate accessible formats.

For questions or assistance with Voting by Mail, please contact us by email
or call (800) SBC-VOTE or (800) 722-8683.

Vote by Mail

Most voters have the option to vote at a polling place or by mail.

There are certain areas throughout the county that do not have a polling place location due to the low number of registered voters (less than 250). These areas are known as Mail Ballot precincts. Voters who live in these areas are required to vote by mail. If your ballot says MAIL BALLOT on the top right corner, you live in a mail ballot precinct. A ballot is automatically mailed to you to eliminate the cost of staffing and supplying a polling place. No postage is required to return your ballot. The law does not permit you to turn in your un-voted ballot at a polling place in exchange for a poll ballot. If you spoil or make a mistake on your ballot, please contact our office at (805) 568-2200 or toll-free in California at 1 (800) 722-8683 for options on obtaining a replacement ballot.

 Permanent Vote by Mail

Any registered voter can become a permanent vote by mail voter. As a permanent vote by mail voter you will automatically be sent a ballot for every election you are eligible, as long as you continue to vote in every general election. Apply to become permanent vote by mail voter. Simply click HERE to download and print a permanent Vote by Mail application. Complete, sign, and send in your application to the Elections Office.

Vote by Mail Process

Ballots are mailed out no later than 29 days prior to an election.

Voting Instructions

  1. Follow the instructions on how to mark the ballot at the top of your Official Ballot.
  2. If you make a mistake marking your ballot you can correct it by placing an "X" through the mismarked oval. Then, mark your preferred choice and clearly print "YES" next to the correct choice. DO NOT initial or sign next to the correction. If you spoil or damage you can bring your ballot to one of our Santa Barbara County Elections Offices on or before Election Day or to your polling place on Election day to obtain a new ballot. 

Santa Barbara

4440-A Calle Real
Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm

Santa Maria
511 E. Lakeside Parkway
Seasonal Hours - Please visit the Contact Us page for more information.

Lompoc (Open 29 days before the Election through Election Day)
401 E. Cypress Ave., Room 102
Seasonal Hours - Please visit the Contact Us page for more information.

If you are unable to come into one of the Santa Barbara County Elections Office locations, you may request a replacement ballot be sent to you by calling (800) SBC-VOTE or (800) 722-8683).

 3. If your name has changed and you did not update your registration, you must sign your previous and new name in the signature box on the back of the ballot return envelope. 

Returning Your Vote by Mail Ballot

Voting by mail is SAFE, SECURE and EASY! After marking your choices on your ballot, simply:

  1. Seal it – Secure you ballot inside the return envelope from our office.
  2. Sign and date it – Make sure the signature on your ballot envelope matches the one on your CA driver's license/State ID, or the one you provided when registering. The County Elections Office will compare them to protect your vote.
  3. Return it.
    • By Mail – Make sure your ballot is postmarked by Election Day. NO STAMP REQUIRED! All ballots must be postmarked by Election Day in order to be counted and must be received no later than 7 days after Election Day.
    • In person – Drop your ballot off by 8pm on Election Day!
      • Secure official ballot drop boxes – These boxes are located throughout Santa Barbara County and are available 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, beginning 29 days before an election and will close at 8pm on Election Day! Please visit the Voting Using Ballot Drop Boxes page for more information on voting using a secure official drop box and secure official drop box locations.
      • Polling place/vote centers in California; or
      • County Elections Office in California.
    • Authorize a person to return your ballot.  The ballot may be delivered to a secure official drop box, polling place/vote center or a County Elections Office in California by the authorized person. The person delivering the ballot must complete the authorization section on the flap of the return envelope.
  4. Track it – You can look up your ballot status on the Secretary of State's My Voter Status tool online at https://voterstatus.sos.ca.gov/ or call the Elections Office at (805) 568-2200 or toll-free in California at 1 (800) 722-8683 to see if your ballot has been received

OUR NUMBER ONE GOAL IS TO COUNT EVERY ELIGIBLE BALLOT. WE NEED YOUR HELP! PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT FALL INTO ANY OF THE CATEGORIES LISTED BELOW.

  1. NO SIGNATURE ON ENVELOPE. You must sign your return envelope or your ballot cannot be counted. State law requires the Santa Barbara County Elections Office to compare the signature on your registration record to the signature on the outside of your return envelope before we count your ballot. The ballot status will be challenged and a notification will be mailed to you to resolve it or you can click on the following link to download and print the Unsigned Ballot Envelope Statement and Instructions form.

  2. SIGNATURE DOES NOT MATCH. If your name or signature has changed, you must update it by re-registering to vote. Signatures change over time, so we encourage you to update it every 5 years. If it is determined that your signature on your return ballot does not compare to what we have on your registration record; the ballot will be challenged and a notification will be mailed to you to resolve it or you can click on the following link to download and print the Signature Verification Statement and Instructions form.

  3. UNAUTHORIZED RETURN. You may also authorize anyone to return your ballot, except your employer or union representative. You must sign your envelope where required and the authorized person must sign the authorization section on the flap of the return envelope or we cannot accept your ballot from that person.
     
  4. BALLOT ARRIVES TOO LATE TO BE COUNTED. Your ballot must be received by 8pm on Election Day. Ballots may be returned to any County Elections Office, Polling Place/Vote Center, or secure ballot drop box in California.  The Post Office standard mail delivery can take up to 7 days to be delivered. We suggest you mail your ballot no later than 7 days prior to Election Day, so it can arrive by Election Day. Please be sure to sign and date your return envelope.  Ballots postmarked on or before Election Day and received within 7 days after Election Day will be accepted.

Cancel Permanent Vote by Mail Status

If you are currently a permanent vote by mail voter and wish to remove your permanent status and vote at your polling place on Election Day, simply click HERE to download and print a permanent Vote by Mail Cancellation Form. Complete, sign and send to the Santa Barbara County Elections Office.