LA Times issues voting guides and voter information, tracking of ballots

LA TIMES: The deadline in California is Oct. 19. You can register here and check your voter status here .

Technically, there are 27 days until the election. But voting season is well underway, with more than 21 million ballots already in the mail to California voters.

This morning’s newsletter will take a brief break from the chaos at hand to walk you through an array of useful voter resources from The Times, along with a few links from other outlets around the state.

The nuts and bolts of voting

All registered California voters should receive ballots in the mail; counties were required to start mailing them Oct. 5. You can track your mail-in ballot through a state website called BallotTrax. And if you aren’t yet registered to vote, it’s not too late! The deadline in California is Oct. 19. You can register here and check your voter status here .

If you vote by mail, your ballot must be postmarked by Nov. 3 and received by your county elections office by Nov. 20 in order to be counted. You can also vote in person. Bring your mail-in ballot with you if you go this route.

This guide will walk you through common questions on voting by mail and in person. It also deals with special circumstances, like how to vote if you are experiencing homelessness or have been displaced by a natural disaster.

[See the guide: “How to Vote in California” from the Los Angeles Times]

This interactive map shows voting locations in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, including ballot drop box locations. If you live elsewhere in the state, you can search for your polling place here .

What’s on the ballot

Californians will decide the fate of 12 statewide propositions this November. The propositions require a simple majority for passage. If approved, they’ll take effect once the election results are certified in December, unless otherwise specified.

Our Sacramento bureau chief John Myers explains what you should know about each of those propositions in this rundown , which includes short videos on each proposition.

[See the guide: “A look at California’s November ballot propositions” in the Los Angeles Times]

Along with your congressional race, you might be voting on state Legislature races and a slew of local offices and initiatives, depending on where you live. Here’s a look at some of the local races on the ballot in L.A. County. For a more local angle from other parts of the state, see these election guides from the San Francisco Chronicle and Sacramento Bee . Cal Matters has also profiled some of the California congressional races , state Assembly races and state Senate races to watch.

This newsletter will take a closer look at a few specific local races in the weeks to come. If there’s something particularly interesting or contentious on the ballot in your community, I’d love to hear about it.

Making your decisions

If you’d like to take endorsements into consideration, here’s the complete list of endorsements that The Times editorial board has made for the November 2020 election. (The editorial board operates separately from the newsroom. As a newsroom staffer, I had nothing to do with these endorsements.) If you like to make your choices straight down party lines, here are the official endorsement pages from the California GOP and the California Democratic Party . There are countless other endorsement guides out there, from local political clubs to advocacy and special interest groups.

Judicial races tend to garner less attention and often leave voters feeling unprepared. This guide from LAist has some tips on how to evaluate candidates in judicial races. It’s Los Angeles-centric, but the principles carry over to other counties.

And finally, if you do vote by mail, don’t forget to sign your name and write the date in the correct spots on the back of the prepaid postage envelope provided with your ballot.