Registration Deadline: Your registration must be postmarked or submitted electronically no later than 15 days before the election in which you wish to vote.
Party Affiliation: California has a modified closed primary system. Voters who have no official party preference may vote in a primary election if an individual party has consented.
VOTER REGISTRATION QUALIFICATIONS
Age: Must be 18 years of age or older on Election Day
Citizenship: Must be a United States citizen
Residency: Must be a resident of California
Mental Competency: Not found by a court to be mentally incompetent.
Felony Convictions: Not in prison, on parole, serving a state prison 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 (for more information on the rights of people who have been incarcerated, please see the Secretary of State's Voting Rights for Californians with Criminal Convictions or Detained in Jail or Prison
-California Driver's license;
-California Identification Card
-Social Security Number;
OBTAINING A VOTER REGISTRATION FORM
Online: Fill in the online application
- County elections office
- Department of Motor Vehicles offices
- Local U.S. Post Office
Military and Overseas Voters: Military and overseas voters are United States citizens who are members of the Uniformed Services (on active duty) and their eligible dependents, members of the Merchant Marine and their eligible dependents, commissioned corps of the Public Health Service, commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or United States citizens residing outside the United States. To apply to register to vote, receive your elections materials, and vote, you must apply for a special absentee ballot by filling out the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA).
Other Voter Registration Application Information: Contact your County Elections Office with questions
VERIFYING YOUR VOTER REGISTRATION STATUS
Online: Check the Status of Your Voter Registration
Phone: Contact your local county office to verify your registration
ABSENTEE BALLOT QUALIFICATIONS
Who can vote absentee:
Any registered voter may apply for a "vote-by-mail" ballot by:
OBTAINING AN ABSENTEE BALLOT
-Completing the vote-by-mail ballot application that is included in your sample ballot, which your county elections official will mail to you prior to each election; or
-Downloading and completing a vote by mail application; or
-Contacting your county elections official to see if your county allows you to apply by telephone.
- Military and overseas voting: California Military and Overseas Procedures
SUBMITTING AN ABSENTEE BALLOT
If you apply by mail, your application must be received no later than 7 days before Election Day. Anytime after 7 days, you will need to apply in person at your county election office to request a vote-by-mail ballot for that election.
Vote-by-mail ballots must be received by the elections official no later than the close of polls at 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.
You may return it in person to any polling place in your county or to the county elections office on Election Day. If you are unable to return the ballot yourself, you may designate a spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, or a person residing in the same household to return the ballot to the elections official or the precinct board at any polling place within the jurisdiction. The ballot must be received by the elections official or the precinct board before the close of the polls at 8:00 p.m. on Election Day in order to be counted.
Early voting qualifications: No excuse or special registration necessary. Voting available at county offices. Contact county election official for specific times and locations
Verifying Registration: California Voter Registration Verification
Deciding how to vote: http://www.votesmart.org/
Time off to vote: State law requires employers to post a notice to employees advising them of provisions for taking paid leave for the purpose of voting in statewide elections. Employees are eligible for paid time off for the purpose of voting only if they do not have sufficient time outside of working hours to vote. The intent of the law is to provide an opportunity to vote to workers who would not be able to do so because of their jobs. Voting hours are from 7am to 8pm. Employees can be given as much time as they need in order to vote, but only a maximum of two hours is paid.
Polling Place: California Polling Place finder
ID Requirements: In most cases, California voters are not required to show identification before they cast ballots. However, if you are voting for the first time after registering by mail and did not provide your driver license number, California identification number or the last four digits of your social security number on your registration form, you may be asked to show a form of identification when you go to the polls. View all acceptable forms of ID here.
How to Vote: How to Vote Using Your County's Voting System