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
*There are some exceptions to this 15 day deadline. You may still be eligible to vote if you become a U.S. citizen after the registration deadline (15 days before any election.) To register, bring proof of U.S. citizenship and a signed form stating that you are eligible to vote in California to your county elections office.
If you move to California after the registration deadline (15 days before any election), you may still be eligible to vote in California for President and Vice President only. To register, you must sign an oath stating that you are eligible to vote in California and that you have not voted in any other states for the same election at least seven days before Election Day
How to check if you are registered
Eligibility Requirements to Register
To register to vote, you MUST be:
Identification required for registration
The Voter Registration Form asks for your California driver license or California identification card number or the last four digits of your Social Security number. If you do not have a driver license, Social Security Card or California identification card, you may still register to vote. You may leave the space blank, and an elections official will provide you with an identification number.
How to register
Individuals may register to vote online in California. The Online Voter Registration Form asks for your California driver license or California identification card number, the last four digits of your social security number and your date of birth). If you do not have a California driver license or California identification card, you may still register to vote through the Online Form by completing the online interview by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on the 15th calendar day before an election.
You may find a voter registration application at any DMV office. Voter registration applications are also available at most post offices, government offices and public libraries.
Voter registration forms are also available by mail. Applicants may call the (800) 345-VOTE to receive a voter registration form. Applicants may also contact their county elections office to receive a voter registration form. Mail-in applications must be postmarked by the deadline (15 days prior to any specific election) to be eligible.
If You Want to Vote Early
Early voting is determined by county. You may check online to see if and when early voting is available in your county.
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 28, 2014. To apply for your vote-by-mail ballot you can do one of the following:
If you become ill or disabled after October 28th, 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 such a request by application or letter (signed under penalties of perjury) to your county elections official.
You may also request to vote-by-mail in person at your county election office any time before the election.
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.
Identification requirements to register to vote
The Voter Registration Form asks for your California driver license or California identification card number or the last four digits of your Social Security number. If you do not have a driver license, Social Security Card, or California identification card, you may still register to vote. You may leave the space blank, and an elections official will provide you with an identification number.
Identification requirements to register to vote
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 receive voting materials by fax,email, or postal service. 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 8:00 p.m., Election Day deadline. Note that California law does not permit voted ballots to be sent back by email, but rather by fax if you live outside the territorial limits of the U.S or by postal mail. 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, also known as “mandatory supervision”). If you are on post-release community 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.