Voter Registration in CaliforniaPage Overview
California Voter Registration
By voting in California, you’re able to make your voice heard in state, federal, and local elections. Below you’ll learn the steps to register to participate in the voting process.
In order to be eligible to vote in the state of California, you must be:
- A citizen of the United States.
- A California resident.
- 18 years old or older on Election Day.
- Not in prison, on parole, serving a state sentence in county jail, serving a sentence for a felony pursuant to subdivision (h) of Penal Code section 1170, or on post-release community supervision.
- Not found to be mentally incompetent by a court.
If you’re looking to register to vote in California, and you meet the requirements mentioned above, you’ll need to complete a voter application and submit it either online or by mail. You can also register to vote when visiting a DMV office to obtain a California driver's license or register your vehicle.
The deadline to register is by 11:59 p.m. on the 15th day before the Election Day in question. If you fail to meet that deadline, your information will still be processed, but you’ll need to wait to vote in the next upcoming election.
NOTE: Once your information has been submitted for registration, it still needs to be approved by your local election official. This official will contact you once your CA voter registration has been approved, or if they need more information from you.
If you would like to register online, you can submit an application by using the California Online Voter Registration website.
You’ll be asked to answer a series of questions and enter your personal information, including:
- Your CA driver’s license or ID number.
- The last 4 digits of your Social Security number.
- Your birth date.
The system will check with the California DMV to ensure that your signature is on file. If it is, it will be added to your registration and you may submit it at the end of the process.
If your signature is NOT on file, your information will be sent to your local county elections board. Print the information you filled out online, sign the application, and mail it to the address specified on the form. An official will contact you once they’ve received all of your information.
Register by Mail
If you prefer to register to vote by mail, you can:
- Print the National Mail Voter Registration Form online.
- Pick a registration form up at your local DMV office or county elections office.
- Request one by calling the voter hotline at (800) 345-VOTE.
You can also pick up a voter registration application at post offices, public libraries, and other government offices.
When you complete your application, mail it to the address provided on the application.
If you’re a California resident serving in the military, or you’re temporarily living out of state, you can use the SOS website to request a special absentee ballot.
You can also request one by calling (800) 345-VOTE and asking that it faxed or mailed to you, which is beneficial if you don’t have access to the Internet.
For more information on absentee voting in California, please visit the SOS Elections page.
If you plan to vote in California, you must register a minimum of 15 days prior to the upcoming election. Your application must be time-stamped by midnight on the day of your registration deadline.
The address on your voter registration record should be your current place of residence. If you have temporarily moved, you can continue to use your permanent address for the purposes of voting.
If you’ve permanently changed your address, or you’ve legally changed your name, you’ll need to re-register to vote. Simply follow one of the methods described above in “Register to Vote in California.”
The SOS also suggests that you update your information with the DMV to reflect your new legal name.
NOTE: If you are re-registering online and you have not yet updated the DMV with your new name, make sure to decline your DMV signature on your application by checking the box marked “decline.” If you fail to do this, your application will be rejected since your signature no longer matches your legal name.
If you have misplaced your voter registration card, or you have not received it, you may request a duplicate by calling (800) 345-VOTE.
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