Your polling place location will be printed on the Sample Ballot received from the local county elections official prior to an election. You may also contact the local county elections office for polling place information.
Voters must register at least 15 days before any election.You can also register online.
2014 Primary Election: May 19, 2014
2014 General Election: October 20, 2014
Eligibility Requirements to Register
To register to vote, you must be:
How to Check Registration
Contact your County Elections Official
If You Want to Vote Early
Early voting is available for all registered voters starting 29 days before the election. Please check for times and locations with your county election official.
If You Want to Vote Absentee
Any registered voter may vote by absentee ballot (known as “vote-by-mail”). Your application to receive an absentee ballot must be received by your county by October 30th. To apply for your vote-by-mail ballot you can do one of the following:
If you become ill if you become ill or disabled after October 30th, or find that you will be unable to go to your polling place on Election Day, you may request that a vote-by-mail ballot be delivered to you by submitting a written application or letter to your county elections official.
Turning in your Absentee (Vote-By-Mail) Ballot
Vote by mail ballots must be received by the elections official no later than the close of polls (8:00 pm) on Election Day. You may return your absentee ballot by returning it in person or by mail to your county election official or in person to any polling place in your county or by end of polls closing on Election Day.
Most voters will not need to provide identification or proof of residency when they vote. The ONLY time a voter in California is required to show any type of document before voting is if you:
In that instance, you may be asked for one of over 30 acceptable forms of identification or proof of residency, such as a driver’s license, utility bill or a check from the government. If you are voting by mail you should include a copy of this identification or proof of residency with your ballot. This does NOT have to be a photo ID. If you do not have any of these documents to prove your identity or proof of residency, you can vote by provisional ballot, which will be counted if the signature on your ballot matches the signature on your registration form.
You will need to re-register to vote when:
Military and overseas citizens can use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), also known as Standard Form 76, to register to vote and to request an absentee ballot. Visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program's (FVAP) California-specific FPCA page.
Military and overseas citizens can send and receive voting materials by fax and email. If you wish to use the fax or email options, you must indicate this on your FPCA. Instructions for doing so are found on the FVAP's California-specific FPCA page.
Military and overseas citizens can use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) if they are concerned with receiving their printed ballot and returning it by the 7:00 p.m., Election Day deadline. The FWAB is a blank ballot on which voters write-in their choices. The FWAB may also be used to register to vote and to apply for the absentee ballot, all in one step. If the FWAB is being used to register to vote, it must be received by the voter registration deadline. For specific instructions, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program's California-specific FWAB page.
If you have completed a felony sentence, including any parole, you may re-register to vote. In this circumstance, you must re-register before the registration deadline. If you were sentenced only with probation, you remain eligible to vote (unless you are on probation as an alternative to serving the remaining part of a low-level felony sentence in county jail). If you are on post-release supervision as a result of the felony, you cannot register.
For more information for voters with mental disabilities, visit The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law and National Disability Rights Network’s document: “Voting Rights Guide for People with Mental Disabilities”
For more information for student voters, visit the California Student Voting Guide from the Brennan Center for Justice.
Information provided by Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights
Conducting a Voter Registration Drive in your state? Here are some resources.