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. Voters who live in these areas are required to vote by mail.

Vote by Mail Options

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:

  1. Simply click the button below for the permanent Vote by Mail application.
  2. Complete, sign, and send in your application to the Elections Office.

One-time Vote by Mail

Beginning approximately 60 days before an election, the Santa Barbara County Elections Office will have forms available to request a One-Time Vote by Mail Ballot. Voters who typically vote at their polling place may use this option to request a vote-by-mail ballot for the current election.

  • One-Time Vote by Mail Application
  • One-Time Vote by Mail Application Spanish

Vote by Mail Process and Instructions

Voting by mail is a simple process.

Ballots are mailed 29 days prior to the election.

  1. Mark the ballot.
    • DO NOT use a felt tip pen or red ink.
    • Completely fill in the oval corresponding to the candidates and measures selected.
    • DO NOT mark the oval with an X.
    • To vote for a qualified Write-In Candidate, write the person's name on the blank provided and completely fill in the corresponding oval.
  2. Remove the top stub from the ballot. DO NOT cut along the perforated line.
  3. Fold the ballot the same way it was folded when mailed and seal in the return envelope.
  4. Sign and date the correct ballot envelope.
    • Make sure to sign the correct envelope. Do not sign the ballot envelope of anyone else in your household.
    • Every voter MUST sign their own ballot envelope. Another person CANNOT sign for them even with power of attorney.
    • If unable to sign the ballot, a voter may make their mark in the signature box. A witness must sign next to the mark in the signature box and print the voter's name.
    • A signature stamp may also be used if the voter used a signature stamp when they registered to vote.
    • Failure to sign the back of the return ballot envelope will invalidate the ballot and the ballot will not be counted.
  5. Return the ballot.

    Return by Mail

    Ballot return envelopes DO NOT require postage! All ballots must be postmarked by Election Day in order to be counted and must be received no later than 17 days after the election.

    Drop Off the Ballot to one of the Elections Ballot Drop Boxes:

    24-hour drop boxes are available throughout Santa Barbara County beginning 29 days before all federal and state elections through 8:00 pm on Election Day! Please visit the Ballot Drop Box page for more information on voting using a drop box and drop box locations.

    Please visit the Current Activities page for information on drop box locations for local or special elections.


    Drop Off the Ballot to any Polling Place on Election Day:

    All polling places are open Election Day from 7:00 am until 8:00 pm.

    Authorize Another Person to Return the Ballot

    The ballot may be delivered to a Santa Barbara County Elections Office location or a polling place by an authorized person. The person delivering the ballot must complete the Agent Authorization section of the return envelope.

If You Did Not Sign Your Vote by Mail Ballot Return Envelope

  • Unsigned Ballot Envelope Statement
  • Unsigned Ballot Envelope Statement Spanish

If Your Signature From Your Vote by Mail Ballot Return Envelope Does Not Match Your Signature on File

If it was determined that the signature you provided on your vote by mail ballot does not match the signature(s) on file in your voter record, the signature verification statement must be completed and returned as soon as possible.

  • Signature Verification Statement and Instructions
  • Signature Verification Statement and Instructions Spanish

If you Spoil, Mismark or Damage Your Ballot

If you spoil, mismark, or damage your ballot you have several options:

Exchange it at an Elections Office Location

You may bring your mismarked ballot to the following Santa Barbara County Elections Office locations and exchange it for another 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.

Request a Replacement Ballot by Phone

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).

Correct Your Mistake

You may correct your mistake by making a distinct "X" through the mismarked oval, mark your preferred choice, and print or legibly write "Yes" next to the correct choice.

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 or apply for a vote by mail ballot for each election:

  1. Simply click below to print the permanent Vote by Mail Cancellation Form.
  2. Complete, sign and send to the Santa Barbara County Elections Office.