How to Make Sure Your Vote Counts in LA This November

What you need to know, including key deadlines, registration details, and how to vote by mail.

It is probably melodramatic to claim that the soul of Los Angeles is at stake this upcoming election day, Tuesday, November 8. But the 2022 midterm elections have so many contests with major local implications that it feels like an inflection point for citywide policy. There are important issues across the ballot, including high-profile races between drastically different candidates for Mayor and Sheriff, influential ballot propositions, and positions that have been overlooked in the past have seen a surge of attention this year—many eager eyes are on the race for City Controller, for example.

Because turnout tends to be lower in midterm elections than Presidential ones, your vote matters even more this fall. And because local politics have a direct impact on the day-to-day functioning of our city, this is a fantastic opportunity to make your voice heard on crucial issues in LA. To help ensure you get that ballot in, we put together this simple voting guide for LA’s midterm elections.

What are the key races and propositions on the ballot?

For the state of California, incumbent Democrat governor Gavin Newsom will face Republican challenger Brian Dahle. You'll also vote in the U.S. senator race for either Alex Padilla (D) or Mark Meuser (R) on two counts, including who should finish out the term vacated by now-Vice President Kamala Harris, and who should serve an additional six-year term as U.S. Senator.

The most prominent local race is for Mayor, a contest between Congresswoman Karen Bass and Rick Caruso, whose eponymous Caruso company owns shopping centers like the Grove, The Commons at Calabasas, and Palisades Village, as well as luxury resorts like Miramar Beach Resort. The race for LA County Sheriff has also drawn national attention, with embattled incumbent Alex Villanueva facing off with former Long Beach police chief Robert Luna.

But there are tons of other important contests on the ballot. There are four City Council seats up for grabs, in the 5th, 11th, 13th, and 15th Districts. City Council is sometimes overlooked, but it is a deeply influential panel within the city limits, with power to enact laws and work with budgets, among other things.

The City Attorney and City Controller will also be on the ballot. City Attorney is a race between civil rights attorney Faisal Gill and attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto, to determine who will be the general legal counsel for the City of LA. The City Controller is the city’s primary accountant and auditor. The two finalists for that race are Certified Public Accountant/Certified Very Online Millennial Kenneth Mejia, who has based his campaign on distributing useful information online and in the real world; and outgoing City District 5 council member Paul Koretz, who is running on a platform of experience and long service in the public sector.

There are also several important propositions on the ballot. Proposition 1 is about codifying safe and legal access to abortion and birth control. Proposition 26 and Proposition 27 are both extremely well-funded measures about various forms of sports gambling, with interests on both sides spending nine figures on campaigns for and against. Prop 28 would provide more funding for the arts in schools, Prop 29 is about restrictions on dialysis clinics, Prop 30 would increase taxes on the wealthiest Californians and fund electric vehicle programs, and Prop 31 would ban flavored tobacco products.

In LA, there is also Ballot Measure ULA, a proposed tax increase on home sales over $5 million. According to a study by UCLA’s Lewis Center, it would likely generate some $900 million per year for the city, which would go towards affordable housing and homelessness prevention.

How do I register to vote?

Register online: California offers online voter registration. You’ll need a California-issued driver license or California identification card number, the last four digits of your Social Security Number, and consent to the use of your Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV)-stored digital signature to use the online voter registration option.

Register by mail: Submit your voter registration application online at If you don’t have a California driver license or identification card number, or prefer not to consent to the use of your digital signature, enter your other information and the website will create a pre-filled voter registration application for you to print, sign, and mail. You can also pick up a paper application at your county elections office, any Department of Motor Vehicles field office, and many post offices, public libraries, and government offices, or have an application mailed to you by calling your county elections office or the Secretary of State's toll-free Voter Hotline at (800) 345-VOTE (8683).

Register in person: Contact your local election office for information on when and where to register to vote in person.

If you’re currently unhoused, unsheltered, or otherwise unable to provide a fixed address, you still have the right to register and vote. Find out more here.

When’s the deadline to register to vote?

In California, the deadline to register to vote in any election is 15 days before Election Day. The last day to register to vote in the 2022 Midterm Elections is Monday, October 24. After the deadline, you can file for Same Day Voter Registration, and vote on a conditional basis.

Can I vote early?

Ballots will be mailed out on October 10 to every registered voter, and can be mailed back anytime thereafter. Drop boxes for returning your ballot will also be available starting October 10.

Where is my nearest polling place?

You can find your nearest polling place through the Secretary of State website or through the LA County’s Vote Center Locator, which will be updated around four weeks before the election, about the time ballots are mailed out.

Where are the closest ballot drop boxes?

Ballot Drop Boxes will be available across the city, and you can look up your nearest drop box location online through the Secretary of State website.

What are my accessibility options?

Voting by mail is an excellent choice, but it’s not the only one. See a full range of accessibility services including curbside ballot dropoff, Remote Accessible Vote by Mail (RAVBM), and accessible ballot marking devices for in-person voting online.

How do I vote as an absentee?

If you are a Military or overseas voter, your voting process should be much the same. You can register online or by mail, then you can vote electronically, or return a paper ballot by fax or mail.

How can I volunteer as a poll worker?

You can apply to be an Election Worker through LA County’s website, provided you are already registered to vote and can provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination. You will receive election worker training, and a small stipend of $80 for training and $100 for each day you work at a vote center.

If you’d like to volunteer outside of poll work, there are opportunities with organizations like Rock the Vote to help register voters, Protect the Vote, and The Voting Rights Alliance, among many others.

Where can I go for more information and resources?

There are plenty of great resources for voting that are easily accessible online. California Secretary of State has a detailed website, and the LA County Registrar’s website has helpful information that’s specific to LA as well. The nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization CalMatters has built a thorough Voting Guide, and plenty of other local newsrooms provide voter guides and sometimes endorsements. You can look to LAist/KPCC or the LA Times, among others.

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Ben Mesirow is an Echo Park native who writes TV, fiction, food, and sports. At one time or another, his writing has appeared in The LA Times, Litro, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Los Angeles Magazine, and scratched into dozens of desks at Walter Reed Middle School.