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How to track your 2024 California Primary election ballot

Your March 5 California Primary election ballot is signed, sealed and delivered.

So, now what?

There’s a tool available to all California voters that can help you track its location.

All of California’s 22 million registered voters — that’s about 1.6 million more than the last Presidential Primary election in 2020 — can sign up for the state’s ballot tracking service. BallotTrax will send users automated notifications about the location of vote-by-mail ballots from the time it’s on the way to a residence to the time it’s accounted for at the county elections office.

County elections officials were required to begin mailing ballots for the March 5 Primary by Feb. 5.

Completed ballots can be mailed to county elections officers, returned in-person at any vote center or at your county elections office or dropped in a ballot drop box by 8 p.m. on Election Day. If you prefer, cast a ballot on Election Day at a vote center between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Here’s what to know about the BallotTrax tool.

How to sign up

  • Click here to sign up and track your ballot. 
  • Register with your name, date of birth, and ZIP code.
  • You’ll need to provide a notification method — email, text, or phone and in what language.
  • You can limit notifications to specific times of day.

What you’ll receive

  • You’ll receive alerts from the county elections office about your ballot’s location.
  • Alerts are sent when the office mails the ballot, receives the ballot from the voter and counts the ballot. 
  • Voters also will get an alert if there’s a problem with the ballot. 
  • Important updates and election deadline information.

The tracker was rolled out after a 2018 bill that require the California Secretary of State to provide a tracking service to county elections offices. It was expanded statewide after Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order requiring vote-by-mail ballots be sent to all California voters to avoid large gatherings at polling places during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The tracker also can be used if you’re not sure whether you received a ballot.

When you’ll receive an update

Mailed ballots will require about five to seven business days for the USPS to deliver to the county. Ballots dropped at drop boxes will be picked up at designated pick-up times.

County elections offices received hundreds or thousands of ballots per day, so processing a ballot takes time. Once the ballot is marked as counted, you’ll receive a status update.

What happens to my election ballot?

Completed ballots can be mailed to county elections offices, returned in-person at any vote center or at your county elections office or dropped in a ballot drop box by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Once received by a county elections office, the signature on the return envelope is checked with the one in your voter registration record. The ballot and envelope are separated before the ballot is tallied.

On Election Night, county elections offices must begin reporting those results to the California Secretary of State no more than two hours after polling places close at 8 p.m. Results are updated throughout the night — and beyond — until all vote totals are reported.

The first results are usually ballots received by election officials before Election Day. Officials can begin opening and processing those ballots up to 29 days before Election Day. The results cannot be accessed or made public until all polls close on Election Day.

A complete tally will not be finished on election night. Vote-by-mail ballots postmarked on or before Election Day and received within seven days after the election, and provisional ballots cast, must still be counted. All ballots are counted, regardless of the result or whether a race is close.

County elections official have 30 days to count every valid ballot and finish a post-election audit.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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