How to prepare to vote in California’s Primary

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Illustration by Brennan Hernandez

A group of people hold “vote” signs around a voting ballot.

Richard Tzul, News Managing Editor


The California Primary is fast approaching on March 3, as part of Super Tuesday, in which 14 states participate in the selection of the Democratic Party’s nominee. Along with the Democratic race are also state and local contests on the ballot for the Golden State. Here’s a voting guide to help you prepare for it.

When is the Primary?

As mentioned, Super Tuesday is on March 3; however, early voting may take place in person or through mail-in ballots in Los Angeles County. (More on that in a bit.)

How do I register to vote?

You can register to vote at a voting center before and on Election Day. The deadline to register online to vote has passed and is no longer available at this point in time. The only way now to register to vote is through a voting center.

So where can I vote?

In L.A. County, there won’t be polling places registered voters are assigned to this year. Instead, there will be voting centers throughout the county. Voters may go to any center of their choice. One voting center will be at the Cal State LA University Library, Palmer Wing, Room 4049.

A complete map of the voting centers may be found at tinyurl.com/laistvotingcentersmap.

What about the mail-in ballot?

People registered for mail-in ballots should receive one in the mail. You can request a mail-in ballot, if you’re already registered to vote, by Feb. 25 at tinyurl.com/votebymailLACounty. The mail-in ballot will be accepted so long as it’s postmarked by March 3 and received within three days of election day. You can also, instead, drop off your filled out mail-in ballot in person at a voting center.

When can I go to a voting center?

The voting centers throughout L.A. County are either open four days or 11 days in advance of Election Day – it varies depending on the location. The one at Cal State LA opens four days in advance starting on Feb. 29.
The Cal State LA Voting Center hours are:

Saturday, Feb. 29, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sunday, March 1, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Monday, March 2, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tuesday, March 3 (Election Day), 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Keep in mind, hours and days can vary between voting centers.

What if I’m registered under “No Party Preference?”

If you wish to vote in the Democratic Party’s primary, but are registered with “no party preference,” request a “crossover ballot” at a voting center. If you would like to mail-in a crossover ballot, you’ll need to already be registered to vote and request one from the LA County Registrar by Feb. 25.

Information sourced from LAist.com, the Los Angeles Times, the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk and the school’s website.