Friday, September 29, 2023

What you need to know to vote in the 2023 special election in San Diego

Four special elections will be held in San Diego on Tuesday, November 7, 2023. It can be overwhelming to understand the “who, what, where, when and how” of voting. KPBS has researched answers to frequently asked questions by voters, so you don’t have to.

What are special elections about?

Voters will have the opportunity to make the final decision in four special elections in different parts of the county. Only voters living in the Fourth County Supervisory District, the City of Chula Vista and Fallbrook and Rainbow counties are eligible to vote in the special election.

In the county’s fourth supervisory district, voters will decide who will fill the seat vacated by former Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, with the final choice between Democrat, attorney and San Diego City Council President Pro Tem Monica Montgomery Steppe or Republican Amy Reichert, Founder, meeting the reopening of San Diego.

Voters in the City of Chula Vista will vote to fill the vacant position of City Attorney. That term ends in December 2026. Candidates include Dan Smith Diaz, an attorney, Bart Miesfeld, who was Chula Vista’s city attorney in the past, and Marco Verdugo, also an attorney at Burke, Williams & Sorensen.

In Fallbrook and Rainbow, voters will decide whether the Fallbrook Public Utility District and Rainbow Municipal Water District should separate from the San Diego County Water Authority and join the Eastern Municipal Water District.

For the full list of races and candidates on your ballot, visit KPBS’s interactive guide.

How do I register to vote?

You can register to vote or check your registration status online at the California Online Voter Registration page. In California, the last day to register to vote is 15 days before Election Day. The deadline for the November 7th election is October 23rd.

The San Diego County Registrar of Voters also offers the opportunity to register to vote or get information about how to vote at community events throughout the county. For more information about events, see the voter registration calendar here.

There is also the option to register to vote and vote on Election Day. If you miss the deadline to register to vote, you can still vote until Election Day. More information is available here.

To register online you need the following:

  • The identification number of your state driver’s license or card
  • The last four digits of your social security number
  • Your date of birth

How can I vote by postal vote?

All active registered voters will begin receiving mail-in ballots the week of October 8th, and some may receive their ballots as early as October 7th. In-person voting begins as early as October 9th at the County Recorder’s Office at 5600 Overland Ave, San Diego, CA 92123. And you can drop off your ballot at voting locations starting October 10th. Visit for information on locations and hours.

“Inactive” registered voters

Voters receive inactive status when “a county election official receives information (e.g., from the postal service) indicating that the voter has left the state or when his or her mail is returned to the post office without a forwarding address.”

You can submit your ballot in the following ways:

  1. Send your ballot by mail to a county elections official.
    • Ballots used for absentee voting and mailed must be registered on or before Election Day and may not be received later than 7 days after Election Day.
    • If you are unsure whether your ballot will arrive in the mail on time, please drop it off at a vote center or voting drop-off location between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.
    • Postal ballots submitted in person must be submitted no later than the end of voting at 8:00 p.m. on election day.
  2. Drop off your ballot at one of the drop-off locations or at any ballot box in the county.
    • Absentee ballots that are dropped off in person at a drop-off location must be dropped off no later than 8:00 p.m. on election day.
  3. Have someone else deliver your ballot for you.
    • Anyone can cast your ballot for you as long as that person does not receive payment for each ballot cast. In order for your ballot to be counted, you must complete the authorization section on the outside of your ballot envelope.

What if I want to vote in person?

Voter registration encourages voters to cast their ballots early. Ballots can be dropped off at the voter registration office in Kearny Mesa beginning Oct. 10.

Some vote centers will open for early voting starting Oct. 28 and will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Nov. 6.

The last day to vote is Election Day, November 7th.

All voting centers are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The sites provide voter registration, ballot replacement, accessible voting machines and language assistance. Voters can vote at any voting center in the county.

When will voter guides be sent out?

The electoral roll will begin transmission from September 28th.

KPBS also offers a nonpartisan election guide with general election information, coverage and election results.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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