California

Upcoming Elections

Voting in California

When You Can Vote

Election Day

Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. pacific time on Election Day.

If you are in line when the polls close, you will still be able to vote.

Early:

Many counties will offer early voting leading up to Election Day. Early voting locations and hours will be available at the Secretary of State’s website and updated daily: https://caearlyvoting.sos.ca.gov/.

Where You Can Vote

How to Find Your Polling Place: The address of a voter’s polling place or vote center locations are found in the Voter Information Guide mailed by county elections officials a few weeks before election day.  Alternatively, a voter may (i) visit the California Secretary of State’s website, (ii) call the toll-free voter hotline (1-800-345-VOTE (8683)), or (iii) text “Vote” to GOVOTE (468683).

Register to Vote

Registration Deadlines

  • For registration deadlines, see How to Register below.

How to Check Your Registration: Voters can determine whether they are registered to vote at the following link: Am I Registered?.

You are eligible to vote in California if you:

  • Are a U.S citizen
  • Are a resident of California
  • Are at least 18 years old by Election Day

You are NOT eligible to vote in California if:

  • You are in prison for a felony conviction.
  • A judge has specifically ruled that you are not able to vote.

You can vote if you are currently incarcerated serving a felony jail sentence, and were not sentenced to prison time.

Restorative Requirements

  • If you have completed a felony prison sentence, even if you are still on parole or probation, then you are immediately eligible to register to vote.

You may preregister to vote in California

  • At the age 16

How to register 

To register to vote in California, you must be a United States citizen and a resident of California. In order to register you must complete a registration form.  The form is available to complete and submit entirely online. You can obtain a paper voter registration form by calling the Secretary of State’s toll-free voter hotline at (800) 345-VOTE (8683) or emailing Elections Division staff.Alternatively, a paper voter registration form may be obtained at any DMV field office or at many post offices, public libraries, and government offices. You may also request a paper registration form from your county elections office.

Voting Early & Vote by Mail

If You Want to Vote Absentee, requests may be made:

  • In-Person
  • By Mail

Absentee Ballots may be returned:

  • In-Person
  • By Mail

Early Voting

Many counties will have one or more early voting locations open 28 days before Election Day up until the day before the Election, depending on the county. A list of locations offering early voting will be available at https://caearlyvoting.sos.ca.gov/.

Vote By Mail

The vote-by-mail ballot will be automatically sent to your residence per your voter registration. If you have moved, you can re-register to vote using your new address. The deadline to re-register or update addresses is 15 days before Election Day. 

You can still conditionally register to vote after the deadline., but  you will need to go in-person to a voting location or your county elections office. . After 7 days before the election you cannot request that a replacement vote-by-mail ballot be sent to you by mail—you will need to go vote in-person.

Note

Since vote-by-mail ballots are automatically sent out, you do not need to request one. However, if you have lost or destroyed your original vote-by-mail ballot, you can request a replacement with this form, returned to your county elections official: https://elections.cdn.sos.ca.gov/vote-by-mail/replacement-application.pdf

Identification Requirements

Voter Registration

To register to vote in California you should provide:

  • Your California Driver’s License or State/non-driver ID Number
  • Last Four Digits of your Social Security Number

If you are registering to vote for the first time by mail, you will need to provide a copy of a valid ID. Acceptable forms of ID include:

  • Valid Photo ID
  • Utility Bill, Bank Statement, Government Check, or Paycheck that Shows your current name and address
  • Government Issued Document that shows your current name and address

You can alternatively show one of these documents when you vote to complete your registration.

Voting In-Person

If you registered to vote in California, you may be required to present valid photo ID if you are voting for the first time or your registration is incomplete. You can use any ID from this list:

  • Valid US Passport
  • Insurance Plan ID Card
  • Public Housing ID Card
  • Health Club ID Card
  • Valid Employee ID
  • Valid California Driver’s License
  • Valid Student ID
  • Out of State Driver’s License or Non-driver ID
  • Valid Military ID
  • Debit or Credit Card
  • Valid California Issued ID
  • Valid Commercial ID

If you don’t have any of these ID’s, please look at the list of alternative ID’s in California.

If you do not have an ID from the above list, in California additional, acceptable forms of ID include:

  • Drug prescription Issued by a Government Doctor or Health Care Provider
  • Certificate of Vehicle Ownership
  • Discharge Certificates, Pardons or other Similar Documents Issued to you by a Government Agency
  • Lease or rental statement or agreement Issued by a Government Agency
  • Government Check
  • Sample Ballot mailed to you
  • Voter notification or confirmation card
  • Current Utility Bill
  • ID Issued by a Government Disability Agency
  • Insurance Plan or Discount Drug Plan Card Issued by a Government Agency
  • Property Tax Statement
  • A Government Issued Document that shows your Current Name and Address
  • Bank Statement
  • Other Official Elections Document
  • Valid California Vehicle Registration
  • University Tuition Bill Issued by a Government Agency
  • Public Transportation Authority Senior Discounted Fare ID Card
  • Identification Documents Issued by Government Homeless Shelters or Other Facilities
  • Government Paycheck

Your ID documents must show your Current Name and Address and be no older than the Date of the last Election.

Voter Registration

The voter registration application asks for your driver license or California identification card number. If you do not have either, you may use the last four digits of your Social Security number. If applying to register to vote online without a California driver license or identification card number but with other information (i.e., SSN number), the website will create a pre-filled voter registration application for you to print, sign and mail. If you do not have either a driver license, California identification card, or Social Security card, you may leave that space blank, and you will be assigned a unique identification number.

Voters who do not provide a driver’s license, ID, or Social Security number upon registering will be asked for ID when they vote for the first time.

Voting In Person

Most California voters do not need to show identification to vote. However, you may need to provide identification if (i) you are voting for the first time after registering by mail or online and (ii) you did not provide a driver’s license number, a California identification number, or the last four digits of your social security number when registering. 

In these narrow circumstances, you may provide an original or copy of the following: 

  • Current and valid photo identification, including: 
    • – Driver’s license or identification card of any state;
    • – Passport;
    • – Employee identification card;
    • – Identification card provided by a commercial establishment;
    • – Credit or debit card;
    • – Military identification card;
    • – Student identification card;
    • – Health club identification card;
    • – Insurance plan identification card; or
    • – Public housing identification card. 
  • – A document that includes your name and address, and that is dated since the date of the last General Election, including: 
    • Utility bill;
    • – Bank statement;
    • – Government check or paycheck; or
    • A document issued by a government agency, including:
      • – a sample ballot dated for the current election; 
      • -voter notification card; 
      • – public housing identification card; 
      • – lease or rental statement or agreement; 
      • – student identification card; 
      • – tuition statement or bill;
      • – insurance plan card or drug discount card; 
      • – discharge certificates, pardons, or other official documents issued in connection with a criminal case, indictment, sentence or other matter; 
      • – public transportation authority senior citizen and disabled discount card; 
      • – identification document issued by a governmental disability agency, government homeless shelter, and other government temporary or transitional facilities;
      • – drug prescription issued by a government doctor or government health care provider; 
      • – property tax statement; vehicle registration; or 
      • – vehicle certificate of ownership.
If You Have Moved Within Your State

Permanent Move

If you have moved permanently you should re-register online or by paper voter registration application, or by sending a signed letter to your current county elections office with your name, current address, and date of birth.  If you already updated your address with the Department of Motor Vehicles or U.S. Postal Service, your voter registration will be automatically updated.

Temporary Move

If you have been temporarily displaced from your home, and you intend to return to your residence in the future, and/or mail delivery to your residence is disrupted, you can continue to use your prior permanent residence where you were registered to vote as your address for the purpose of voting. 

If you need a replacement ballot for the election because you temporarily moved or want the ballot to be sent to another address (e.g., to the home of a family member or friend, a post office box, or to your work), you can re-register, update your voter registration, or request a replacement ballot from your county registrar’s office. If you wish the replacement ballot to be sent to you by mail, your request must be received by the county registrar’s office no later than one week before Election Day, to allow for sufficient mailing time.

The county registrar will only accept the first ballot received from the voter, ensuring that no one votes twice.Note: The deadline for registration in California is 15 days prior to Election Day (October 24, 2022); “conditional” registration is allowed at county elections offices past this deadline.

If You Are in the Military or are an Overseas Voter

Voting Military

Service members and their dependents may register and request a ballot using the federal voter registration/ballot request form (“FPCA”). You will have the following identification options when completing the form:

  • U.S. State or Territory or District Issued ID
  • Option to Indicate that you do not have the Requested ID
  • Last 4 Digits of your Social Security Number

Voting Overseas

U.S. citizens living overseas may register and request a ballot using the overseas voter registration/ballot request form. You will have the following identification options when completing the form:

  • Last 4 Digits of your Social Security Number
  • U.S. State or Territory or District Issued ID
  • Option to Indicate that you do not have the Requested ID

Under the new California law that expanded access to vote-by-mail during the COVID-19 pandemic, vote-by-mail ballots will be sent to all active, registered voters. This means that all active, registered voters living overseas who wish to vote in the election should automatically receive their vote-by-mail ballots via email if their county has an email on file. If the overseas voter has not received their vote-by-mail ballot, then they can request a replacement ballot by contacting their county elections office either by phone, email, or going to the website (each county will have different procedures). The deadline to request a replacement ballot is one week before Election Day. 

When filling out an application to register as a special absentee voter, the overseas voter can choose to have their ballot mailed, faxed, or emailed to them. The form must be filled out 15 days before Election Day. Conditional registration or same-day registration options after the 15-day deadline are in-person only. 

The voter can also register by completing the Federal Post Card Application and mailing it to their county elections official. Assistance is available through the Federal Voting Assistance Program.

Overseas voters can also use the Remote Accessible Vote By Mail (RAVBM) System to mark their selections using their own compatible technology to vote independently and privately in the comfort of their own home. Voters have to request a RAVBM ballot by following the procedures of their home county (deadline to request is seven days before the Election). Some counties allow voters to request an RAVBM ballot on the county’s website while others require voters to send in a formal request. The voter should call or email their county to find out more about the RAVBM process. Once the overseas voter receives their RAVBM ballot, they can mark it online, print it out to sign and date, and return it by mail with their own postage. The ballot must be postmarked by Election Day to count.

If You Have a Felony Conviction

If you are not currently incarcerated, you can register to vote and vote regardless of your criminal conviction. In 2020, California voters passed Prop 17, a constitutional amendment altering Article II, Section 4 of the California Constitution, to permit individuals on parole with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to vote as long as they are registered to vote. Individuals on probation, on mandatory supervision, on post-release community supervision, on federal supervised release, or a person with a juvenile wardship adjudication are also eligible to vote (provided they are registered to vote). You can check to see if you are already registered to vote at https://voterstatus.sos.ca.gov/.  

If you are currently incarcerated, you are eligible to register and vote unless you are currently serving a state or federal prison term for the conviction of a felony in state prison, federal prison or a county jail or other correctional facility. If you finish serving your term for such a felony conviction, your right to vote is restored, but you must register to vote to be eligible to vote.

If you are currently incarcerated in county jail either (i) serving a misdemeanor sentence or a felony jail sentence, (ii) serving jail time as a condition of your probation, or (iii) awaiting trial, then you can register to vote and vote.
See California SOS’s guidelines available at https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voting-resources/voting-california/who-can-vote-california/voting-rights-californians.

Signature Verification Process for Vote-By-Mail Ballots

In the event that a vote-by-mail ballot is rejected because of an issue with the voter’s signature, the county elections official must provide notice to the voter. The county election official is required to mail a notice to the voter if the signature did not compare or was missing. The voter will have the opportunity to verify their signature no later than 5:00 p.m. two days prior to the certification of the election by completing a signature verification statement and returning it to the county elections official. Voters can also track whether their ballot was accepted or not and why on BallotTrax at https://california.ballottrax.net/voter/

Accessible Voting

Accessible Voting Machines: Every polling place and vote center must have an accessible ballot marking device. These machines have features such as: a touchscreen tablet, with options to change text size and contrast; a handheld controller with braille; headphones and audio ballot and instructions in several languages; a privacy screen for voters with low vision to ensure their votes are kept private as they use the audio ballot and instructions; and capability with a voter’s own paddle, or sip and puff assistive device.

Assistance marking your ballot: You can have up to two people help you mark your ballot. They cannot be your employer, your labor union leader, or anyone who works for either.

Curbside Voting: In most counties, you can park close to the voting area and elections officials will bring you a roster, ballot, and any other materials you may need in order for you to vote at the curb or in your car. Please visit your individual county elections official’s website for more information.

Vote By Mail: All eligible voters will be mailed a Vote-by-Mail (VBM) ballot.

RAVBM: Voters with certain disabilities, for example vision and dexterity disabilities, may not be able to read or mark their ballot privately and independently. Every California county has a Remote Accessible Vote-by-Mail (RAVBM) system. RAVBM systems allow voters with disabilities to receive, mark, and print their ballots at home before mailing them back to election officials. Voters can use their assistive devices to read and mark their ballot. Voters can request a RAVBM ballot by using My Voter Status or seeing county-specific information on your individual county elections official’s website.

Late Vote-by-Mail (also known as emergency ballot): All voters will receive a Vote-By-Mail Ballot this election. However, if it is somehow lost or misplaced, you may qualify for a late vote-by-mail ballot if there is a qualifying emergency. If you are unable to go to the polls because you are homebound due to a medical emergency, in a hospital, or other care facility, you may apply in writing for a late vote-by-mail ballot. This application must be provided in person to your county elections office by the voter or someone designated as the voter’s authorized representative. Once completed, the ballot can be deposited at a vote center, drop box, polling place or the Elections Office. This can be done by a person authorized by the voter. However, the ballot cannot be mailed.

If you have questions specific to accessible voting, contact Disability Rights California’s hotline by calling 1-888-569-7955 or refer the voter to the hotline.

Language Access

Immigrant communities throughout California have had access to fully bilingual elections. At least two weeks before Election Day, your county elections website will have a list of all voting locations that will have translated sample ballots.

Vote-by-mail voters may be able to request that a translated sample ballot be sent to them, for free. This may not be available in all neighborhoods in the county – voters should call their county elections offices and ask if translated sample ballots are available. If so, the voter can have the office mail or email a copy at no cost. The voter must make the request at least 7 days before Election Day. Call Asian Americans Advancing Justice at 1-888-API-VOTE or 1-888-274-8683 for language-specific assistance.

For in-person voting, voters requiring language assistance can bring up to two people to their voting locations to help them vote, as long as those individuals are not the voter’s employer or from a labor union. Voting locations should also have signage indicating to the voter the languages spoken by polling place staff and the languages in which translated sample ballots are available.

Questions about voting in California?

Contact Us