Vote.  It sounds so simple.  But not this year.  

How and when you vote has never been so complicated.  In person on November 3rd, in person early at a specified location, mail in ballot sent through the Post Office, or mail in ballot dropped in a ballot box?

In person the day of is relatively simple, the address is on the ballot mailed to you.  It presents the problem of  voting during a pandemic and risking exposure to other people standing in line at a polling place.

Mailing in your ballot requires planning and timing.  Not only do you have to fill out your ballot ahead of time, you have to mail it in time for it to be delivered and counted in time for Election Day.  The Post Office is recommending two weeks. So your ballot needs to be in the mail by October 20th.

You have the option of dropping your completed ballot in a Drop Box  at a designated site.  The boxes are bolted in place, or otherwise secured, and the ballots are picked up by teams of two people so there is no question about one person hiding ballots.

Or you could vote early at a designated early voting location.  You still get to vote in person, but with the number of people at the location spread out over a few days.  If you love voting in person, but don’t want the line on election day, this might be an option for you.  Early voting in our local area begins October 30 and ends on November 2.

You can even keep track of your ballot with a unique code that is printed right on it.  Tracking your vote-by-mail ballot – when it is mailed, received, and counted – has never been easier. The California Secretary of State is now offering Where’s My Ballot? – a new way for voters to track and receive notifications on the status of their vote-by-mail ballot. Powered by BallotTrax, Where’s My Ballot?  lets voters know where their ballot is, and its status, every step of the way.

Just keep that code from your ballot and use it to track the ballot being received and counted. Sign-up at WheresMyBallot.sos.ca.gov to receive automatic email, SMS (text), or voice call notifications about your ballot.  

Locations for early voting and ballot drop off include:

L.  Aranoff and Sons  1210 Erwin St., Woodland Hills, CA  91367

Westfield Topanga and the Village Community Center  Corner of Vanowen and Owensmouth

Canoga Park High School – Large Gymnasium  6850 Topanga Cyn Bl., Canoga Park, CA  91303

Canoga Park Branch Library 20939 Sherman Way, Canoga Park CA 9130 

A.E. Stelle Middle School – Multi-Purpose Room  22450 Mulholland Hwy, Calabasas, CA  91302

El Camino Real Charter High School  5440 Valley Circle Bl., Woodland Hills, CA, 91367

Pierce College – Bldg. 600  6201 Winnetka Ave., Woodland Hills CA 91367

IAC Shepher Community Center  6530 Winnetka Ave., Woodland Hills, CA 91367

Calabasas City Hall 100 Civic Center Way, Calabasas CA 91302 

DAV #73 6543 Corbin Ave., Woodland Hills, CA  91367

Eretz Synagogue  6170 Wilbur Ave., Tarzana, CA  91335

St. Paul’s United Methodist Church  5619 Lindley Ave., Tarzana, CA  91356

Winnetka Avenue Elementary School  8240 Winnetka Ave., Winnetka, CA  91306

Agoura Hills/Calabasas Community Center  27040 Malibu Hills Road, Calabasas, CA  91301

Sherman Oaks Elementary Charter School  14756 Greenlaf St., Sherman Oaks, CA  91403

Westfield Fashion Square – Space 162  14006 Riverside Dr., Sherman Oaks, CA  91423

Miliken Middle School – Gymnasium  5041 Sunnyslope Ave., Sherman Oaks, CA  91423

Encino-Tarzana Branch Library  18231 Ventura Bl., Tarzana  91356

Encino Park  16953 Ventura Bl., Encino, CA 91316

Serrania Park  20726 Wells Drive, Woodland Hills CA 91364

Woodland Hills Branch Library 22200 Ventura Bl., Woodland Hills  91364

Woodland Hills Recreation Center 5858 Shoup Avenue, Woodland Hills CA 91367

For more information: 

sos.ca.gov/elections/polling-place

lavote.net/home/voting-elections/voting-options/vote-by-mail/vbm-ballot-drop-off

Whichever option works best for you, whichever you choose, remember to VOTE.

Laura Levinsky is a life-long resident of the San Fernando Valley and a writer for the Valley News Group.