Monterey county elections Monterey County Elections

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November 3, 2020 Presidential General Election


The Presidential General Election is a big election. It combines different elections, across federal, state, and local jurisdictions;

Read this section to learn about:

  • What will be on your ballot,
  • The voting rules for each office,
  • “Top Two,” and more!


When is the election?

The election will take place on November 3, 2020. You can vote:

  • in person at your assigned polling place,
  • by mail, or
  • at the Monterey County Elections office, from October 5 until November 3, 2020.


What is on the ballot?

Because it’s a presidential general election, the ballot will be longer than usual.
You can vote for:

  • U.S. President,
  • Congressperson,
  • California State Senator and State Assembly Member,
  • Local offices in your city and county,
  • State Propositions, and
  • Local Measures.


Can I vote for a Presidential candidate from another party?

Yes, in the general election candidates who received their respective party’s nomination in the March primary will be on the ballot in November. Each voter will see all nominees for president and the running mate for vice president representing each party and any independent candidates.


Besides President, what federal and state candidates can I vote for?

The two candidates, regardless of political party, (“the Top 2”) who received the most votes in the races listed below in the March Primary Election will be on the ballot in the November Presidential General Election.

  • California legislators for your area: State Senator, State Assembly Member
  • U.S. Offices: House of Representatives

There will be no write-in opportunity for these seats.


What county and local offices will be on the ballot?

  • City Council/Mayor
  • Special Districts
  • Schools

In addition, the following office may appear on the November ballot:

  • Superior Court Judges: any seat for Superior Court Judge that was open in the March primary may be forced to appear on the ballot if an eligible candidate files using the write-in process
  • County Board of Supervisor: You will see a Supervisor contest on your ballot if no candidate, in a specific district voted on in the March primary, received over 50%.


Where can I get more information?

See common questions, below. Or contact us at:


Common Questions

What is on the ballot for the 2020 Presidential General Election?

The 2020 general election is also a presidential election. That means you may vote for President. You may also vote for federal, state, and local candidates.

This election is different than the primary election. To vote for president and vice president, you do not have to be registered with a political party.


Can I vote for candidates who are not in my party?

Yes, you can vote for any candidate on your ballot.


Does Top 2 apply to all races?

No. Top 2 does not apply to races for President or local offices. Top 2 is only for: state constitutional offices, state legislative offices, and U.S. Congress and U.S. Senate offices.


Do the Top 2 candidates have to be from different parties?

No. The Top 2 candidates might be from the same party, different parties, or have “no party preference.”


How will I know which party the candidates belong to?

If candidates disclose a party preference it will be printed by their name on the ballot. If they do not disclose their party, or do not have a political party preference, it will say “Party Preference: None.”


Sometimes party names are abbreviated like this:

AI = American Independent Party

DEM = Democratic Party

GRN = Green Party

LIB = Libertarian Party

PF = Peace & Freedom Party
REP = Republican Party

Can I still write in a candidate on my ballot?

Yes. In certain contests you can write in the name of any qualified write-in candidate. You can see a list of qualified write-in candidates on our website and at your polling place.


What happens if I write in a cartoon character or some other unqualified write-in name?

  1. qualified candidates may receive write-in votes. These are candidates who, in advance of the election, signed an oath stating that they meet the qualifications of office and that, if elected, they will serve. If you write-in the name of anyone other than a qualified write-in candidate, staff will still have to look at the name to make sure it is not qualified, no votes will count toward someone who has not filed official papers.


Can I vote at any polling place in Monterey County?

Voters are assigned to specific polling places based on the districts they live in. Ballots are specific to your assigned polling place. If you vote at any polling place other than your assigned location, you will have to vote provisional. There is a ballot marking device at each location that can issue the correct ballot to you even if you are at the wrong location. If you vote on the printed ballots from the wrong polling place, only those contests from your districts will be counted. You may not see all contests you are eligible to vote on if you go anywhere but your assigned polling place.


How do I check my registration status?

For questions about Voter Registration or to check or change your registration status, click here:
Voter Registration Status