Requirements To Register to Vote:
- be a United States citizen
- be 18 years of age on or before the day of the election
- be a resident of the State of California
- not be in prision or on parole for the conviction of a felony
- not judically determined to be incompetent to vote
You do not need to know how to read or write in English or any other language. No tests are given when you register to vote.
How To Register to Vote
You must fill out a voter registration form and forward it to the County Elections Official. Or you can register online at www.registertovote.ca.gov if you have a CA driver's license or an ID from the Dept. of Motor Vehicles. Online registration requires both a CA driver's license (or a DMV ID) and the last four digits of your social security number, as well as the information in the list below.
For more detailed answers to questions about voter registration--including updated information about online registration--go to the Secretary of State website.
If you do not have access to a computer:
- You can request a form from your County Election Official.
- You can call a toll-free number and request a form be mailed to you - in English (1-800-345-VOTE) or in Spanish (1-800-345-VOTA).
- You can pick up a form at post offices, libraries, city halls, or Department of Motor Vehicle Offices.
You may not register for someone else. If you help someone fill out the form, you must sign the form in the box "Did someone help you fill out this form?"
You must provide the following information on the Voter Registration Form:
- Your full name - first, middle, last.
- Your complete residence address - not a post office box or a place of business.
- The address where you get your mail (if different from your residence) - this may be a post office box.
- Your complete date of birth - month/day/year.
- Your California drivers' license number (or identification card number) or the last four digits of your Social Security Number (SSN). If you do not include this information you will be required to provide identification the first time you vote.
- The name of the state in the U.S.A. or foreign country where you were born (not on all forms).
- Your political party preference - you may check "No, I do not wish to register with a political party" if you wish.
- The address at which you were last registered to vote (if any).
- The language in which you prefer to receive election materials - language choices will vary by county.
Information on the Voter Registration form that is optional:
- Your telephone number. This number becomes a public record.
- Your email address.
- Mr. Mrs., Ms., or Miss.
You will receive a notice by mail that you are registered to vote. If you do not receive the notice within three weeks of mailing your registration form, call your County Election Official and ask if you are registered to vote.
What is Your Residence?
Where are you legally entitled to register to vote?
The statute refers to your "domicile" - the place where your family lives, where you physically reside, the address on your driver's license, where you claim your homeowner's property tax exemption or renter's tax credit, the place where you intend to return whenever you are gone from it. You can only have one domicile, even if you own more than one house. See the California Election Code for more information about domiciles.
- If you are a college student living away from home you may register at your college residence address (on or off campus) or at your permanent home address, but only at one of these places.
- If you own more than one residence you must decide which one is your "domicile: and register to vote at only one address.
- If you are homeless you may register as long as you maintain a fixed location where you can receive mail and at which you can be assigned to a precinct.
Re-Registering to Vote
You must re-register to vote (by filling out new registration form) if:
- You change your address within the county or move to another county in California
- You change your name
- You wish to affiliate (join) a political party or change your political party affiliation
- You want to change where your ballot is being mailed
If you move within the same county, you may also send a letter to the County Election Official giving your old and new address and signing your name as you are registered.
If you are living at the same address, you do not need to re-register if you miss one election or many elections.
Are you registered to vote? Only your county's elections office can tell you. To find out or to answer any other questions about your registration, call or email your county election office. Some county election web sites allow voters to check their registration and political party affiliation electronically.
You may register at any time, but you must be registered on or before 15 days prior to the election in order to vote. A postmark on the 15th day prior to the election is acceptable.
If you register between 29 and 15 days priorto the election you will be sent a sample ballot only if there is time to process your registration. Otherwise you will receive a post card giving your polling place location. Sample ballots will be available at your polling place or online from your County Election Office website.
- There is an exception for persons who were naturalized after the 15th day prior to an election.If they were naturalized on or before the 7th day prior to te election they may go to the County Election Official's Office with proof of residence in the county and proof of citizenship in order to register anoe.
- There is also an exception for persons who esblish residency in Califonia after the 15th day prior to an election. They are eligible to vote a special ballot for President and Vice President of the United States only.
Voter registration is free. No fee may be charged for voter registration. No postage is required to mail the voter registration application to the County Election Official.
Specific Questions for Voters
To review how to use your county's voting system, click this resource from the Secretary of State. For more detailed answers to frequently asked questions about voting, go to the Secretary of State Website or contact your County Election Official's Office.
Overseas and Military Registration
There is a special form for registering to vote and for requesting a vote-by-mail ballot if you are living in a foreign country on election day or if you are in the military service. After you fill out the form and sign it you must mail it to your County Election Official.
The Voter Registration/Vote-by-Mail form is available online at the Federal Voting Assistance Program. California is one of the states which will accept a printed copy of this online form. The form is also available at American Embassies and Consulates in postcard form.
A request for a vote-by-mail ballot from an overseas voter is regarded and processed as a request for permanent vote-by-mail status.
See Military & Overseas Voter Information (California Secretary of State).
See also Overseas Vote Foundation.