How to Make Sure Your Vote Counts in San Diego This November

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

Has it really been two years since the 2020 presidential election? The November 8 midterm elections are just a few weeks away, and despite midterms historically having a significantly lower voter turnout than a presidential election, it’s more important than ever to exercise your constitutional right to vote.

There are several important ballot issues at stake, and key positions at the federal, state, and city level to be decided. If you haven’t registered to vote yet, you still have time before November’s election. And it’s never too early to plan where and how you want to vote, learn about what’s on the ballot so that you can make informed choices, or even apply to be a poll worker. Here’s everything you need to know about voting in the 2022 midterm elections in San Diego County:

What are the key races and propositions on the ballot?

The highest profile offices up for grabs are for Governor of California, between incumbent Gavin Newsom (D) and Brian Dahle (R), and U.S. Senator, where you’ll vote for either Alex Padilla (D) or Mark Meuser (R) on two counts; the first being who should finish out the term vacated when then-senator Kamala Harris was elected Vice President, and the second for an additional six-year term as U.S. Senator.

On a local level, the hotly contested office of San Diego County Sheriff comes down to Kelly Anne Martinez (D) and John Hemmerling (R), and in San Diego City Council District 6, two Democrats, Tommy Hough and Kent Lee are vying for a council seat that’s currently held by a Republican.

Critical ballot measures include Proposition 1, which will codify the right to abortion and birth control into law in California. Proposition 26 allows additional gaming like roulette, craps, and sports betting on tribal lands, while Proposition 27 allows online and mobile sports betting outside of tribal lands. Proposition 28 provides additional funding for public school arts and music programs. Proposition 29 will require kidney dialysis clinics to have an on-site medical professional during patient treatment, Proposition 30 is an income tax on those making over $2 million annually to fund programs for reducing air pollution and wildfire prevention, and Proposition 31 will ban the sale of certain flavored tobacco products.

When is the deadline to register to vote in the November 8 election?

The deadline to register is October 24, but if you miss it, you can still vote! Visit any Vote Center in the county or go to the Registrar of Voters office at 5600 Overland Avenue during the 14 days up to and including same-day voting on Election Day.

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.

Can I vote by mail?

All registered voters in California will receive a ballot in the mail beginning October 8. You can mail it back any time, as long as it’s postmarked by November 8. It’s postage paid, so you don’t need a stamp to mail it back.

Check on the status of your ballot from the time it’s mailed to you until your vote is counted via Where’s My Ballot? You can also opt to receive automatic email, SMS (text), or voice call notifications.

Can I vote early?

Some Vote Center Locations will accept ballots as early as October 29. Check your center for specific days and times. You can also use a Ballot Drop Box, located throughout the county, where you can drop off your ballot beginning October 10. Days and hours vary by location.

What about military and overseas voters? Can I get an absentee ballot?

You can still vote in the upcoming election if you are a civilian living overseas or in another state temporarily, in the military, or other uniformed service member. Get the FAQs and more info here.

Where is my polling place?

Find your polling place 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 volunteer as a poll worker?

Poll workers are the unsung heroes of our elections—they ensure that a diverse voting population is served and handle difficult people and situations with equanimity. You can volunteer to be a poll worker through the San Diego Registrar of Voters website. Requirements include being a registered voter or lawfully admitted permanent resident, completing two consecutive, in-person training days, and up to eleven days of availability during the two weeks before and including election day. You’ll receive an hourly wage depending on your position, typically in the $15-17 range. Bilingual workers are especially needed.

Where can I learn more?

The California Secretary of State website has detailed information and the San Diego Registrar of Voters website provides excellent, San Diego-specific information. CalMatters has a user-friendly, non-partisan guide to what candidates are running on city, state and federal levels and what propositions are on the ballot.

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Mary Beth Abate is a San Diego-based freelance writer by way of Chicago and Los Angeles. Her hobbies include yoga, pickling and fermenting stuff, reading cookbooks and drinking fabulous gin. Keep up with her experiments @MaryBeth_Abate.