Voter Registration In California
Who Can Register In California
To register to vote in California, you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Be a resident of California
- Be at least 18 years old, or turning 18 by the election
- Not have been declared “non-compos mentis” or “mentally incompetent” by a court of law
- Not currently in state or federal prison or on parole for the conviction of a felony
You must register to vote at least 15 days before the election you wish to vote in, or you can register during the early voting period or on Election Day (see more under “Election Day Registration”).
California Election Day Registration
If you’re eligible to vote in California but have not yet registered, you can go to your polling location and register on the day of the election.
You can pre-register to vote in California when you turn 16.
Voting Rights Restoration
California does restore the right to vote upon completion of sentence, including parole.
If you have a past conviction, learn more about your eligibility to vote here.
Voting In California
Where To Vote In California
You can search for your polling place here.
Vote-by-mail & Absentee
No excuse is needed to vote by mail in California. Due to COVID-19, all registered voters in California will automatically receive vote by mail ballots for the November 2020 election, so you do not need to request a vote by mail ballot. Register to vote or check your registration status to ensure you receive your ballot.
Typically, you can request a ballot by mail with this application form, in person at the county elections office, or in some counties, over the phone. California counties that have adopted the California Voter’s Choice Act use a vote-by-mail system for all elections, meaning that every registered voter receives a ballot in the mail 28 days before Election Day. As of 2020, these counties are: Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Fresno, Los Angeles, Madera, Mariposa, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Sacramento, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Tuolumne.
Click here to track your California vote by mail ballot.
To return your California absentee ballot, mail it to your county election official, return it in person to a polling place or count elections office, or authorize someone else to return your ballot on your behalf.
Early Voting In California
Some counties in California offer in-person early voting. Contact your county elections office to see if they offer early voting.
Primary Elections In California
California has closed presidential primaries. Voters registered with a particular party may only vote in that party's presidential primary. For all other primaries, California uses a top-two primary system that allows voters to choose among all candidates running for each office. The two candidates who receive the most votes in the Primary Election qualify for the General Election. 17-year-olds cannot vote in the primary election even if they will be 18 by the corresponding general election.
Voter ID In California
Voter ID Requirements
ID is not required to vote in California, with the exception of federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) requirements for first-time voters.
Additional California Resources
Your State Election Official
California Secretary of State