NEW: Even if you missed the deadline, you can still register and vote up to and through Election Day using Same Day Voter Registration.
Same Day Voter Registration is available in 2020 and vote centers are being used in many counties offering new ways to vote and register and vote on the same day.
Requirements To Register to Vote
- be a United States citizen
- be 18 years of age on or before the day of the election (you can pre-register at 16)
- be a resident of the State of California
- not be in prison or on parole for the conviction of a felony
- not judicially 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. Make sure you visit Voter's Edge to view your ballot after you register.
How To Register to Vote
On the web at registertovote.ca.gov.
If you have a California driver license or identification card number, you can authorize use of that signature for the registration form. Fill out the online application and simply hit “submit” at the end.
If there is no signature on file with the Department of Motor Vehicles, you will need to:
- Enter your date of birth and last four digits of your social security number.
- Click “print.”
- Sign the paper application.
- Mail it to the address provided.
- No printer? Go ahead and click “I don’t have the ability to print” and your county elections official will mail you a form to sign and return.
By calling 800.345.VOTE (800.345.8683) and asking to have a voter registration form sent to your home.
By picking up an official registration postcard form from your county elections office, any DMV office, or a public library, post office, public assistance office, or any government office that serves the disabled.
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. View our Political Parties Fast Facts for help!
- 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.
Pre-Registration for 16 & 17 Year Olds
You can also pre-register to vote at 16!
Are you registered to vote? Find out using the CA SOS's special voter status site. To find out or to answer any other questions about your registration, call or email your county election office.
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
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.
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