You are eligible to vote if you are:
- a United States citizen and a resident of California,
- 18 years old or older on Election Day,
- not currently in state or federal prison for the conviction of a felony, and
- not currently found mentally incompetent to vote by a court.
Learn more about voting rights in California for people impacted by the criminal legal system at LetMeVoteCA.org.
When is the last day to register to vote?
In California, you can register to vote or change your registration at any time, including on Election Day. Registering to vote in advance is the best way to ensure you receive election information and a vote-by-mail ballot in the mail.
- If it is at least 15 days before the next election, you can register to vote online or at the DMV, public assistance offices, local post office, public library, or your local county elections office.
- If it is 14 days or less before the next election, you can still register to vote using same-day voter registration (also called conditional voter registration). Eligible individuals can register or re-register and vote at their county elections office, polling place, or vote center. These ballots are processed and counted once the county elections office verifies the voter’s eligibility.
How do I vote?
In California, you can vote in two ways:
- Cast your vote-by-mail ballot.
- Mailing it to your local elections office. Mail ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day. There is no postage required to return a vote-by-mail ballot.
- Dropping it off at any ballot drop box, polling place, vote center, or local elections office.
- Vote-by-mail is a safe and secure option. Remember to sign your vote-by-mail envelope. You can track your vote-by-mail ballot to make sure it’s counted.
2. Voting in-person at your local polling place, vote center, or county elections office. Your polling place or nearest vote center will be listed on the sample ballot you receive in the mail once you are registered to vote as well as on your county elections office’s website.
A list of vote centers or polling places, and ballot drop-box locations will be sent to you in election materials, you can also check your county elections office to find out where you vote.
Can I vote if I am unhoused?
Yes! You may register to vote at a location where you spend most of your time. You must describe the location clearly enough for elections officials to establish your right to vote in a specific precinct or county. If available, a mailing address should be provided for you to receive election materials; this can be any place you receive your mail.
Can I vote if I am 16 or 17 years old?
No, but you can pre-register to vote if you are 16 or 17 years old. Youth who pre-register to vote will have their registration become active once they turn 18 years old.
Learn more about pre-registering to vote.
Do I need a California Driver's License or California Identification Card to register or pre-register to vote online?
No, all Californians who are eligible to register to vote may fill out a voter registration application online. If you do not have a California Driver’s License or identification card number, but you enter your other information, the website will create a pre-filled voter registration application for you to print, sign, and mail. Voters who do not provide a state identification number when registering may need to provide some form of identification when voting for the first time.
VOTING WITH YOUR VOTE-BY-MAIL BALLOT
Can I get a ballot in my preferred language?
Depending on the languages covered by your county, you can request a translated or reference (facsimile) ballot in your preferred language. You can make the request by telephone, mail, online, or when requesting a vote-by-mail ballot from the county.
Someone else offered to drop off my vote-by-mail ballot, is that okay?
Yes! You can let someone else return your ballot for you if they are not being paid based on how many ballots they return. Just fill out the authorization section on your ballot envelope.
How can I be sure my vote-by-mail ballot is counted?
You can track your vote-by-mail ballot by visiting the California Secretary of State Where’s My Ballot page.
What happens if my signature doesn’t match or I forget to sign my vote-by-mail ballot envelope?
Before your ballot is rejected due to a missing or mismatched signature, the county must notify you before the election results are certified and allow you to correct the issue to ensure your ballot is counted.
VOTING IN PERSON
Can I bring someone to help me vote in-person?
Yes! You have the right to bring up to two people you choose to assist you in casting your ballot. The individuals assisting the voter may not be the voter’s employer, an agent of their employer, or union representative.
Can I get time off work to vote?
Yes! California law allows workers to take time off with pay to cast their ballot on Election Day if they do not have sufficient time outside of their normal working hours. Your employer can require advance notice and is allowed to ask that you take time at the beginning or end of your shift.
Check out the California Voter Bill of Rights to learn more about your right to vote.
If I am in line when the polls close can I still vote?
Yes! If you are in line at a voting location by 8 p.m. on Election Day you have the right to vote. If you are in line by 8 p.m. but are being denied the right to vote reach out to the ACLU.
How do I find my voting location?
Once you are registered to vote, you can vote in-person at your local elections office, local polling place, or any vote center in your county on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Depending on your county, you may also be able to vote in-person before Election Day.
Your local polling place or nearest vote center could change between elections. Updated information will be listed on the sample ballot you receive in the mail before the next election as well as your county elections office website. You can look-up your polling place or find vote center information online, or you can call your county elections office to find out where you vote.
What if I go to the wrong polling place?
If you live in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, or Ventura Counties, you can vote in person at any of the vote centers that your county offers.
If you live in Kern, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, or Santa Barbara counties, your county will assign you to a polling place. Try to go to the right polling place. You can call your county elections office to find your polling place. Find the phone number and more information on polling places. If you can’t figure out where you’re registered, go to the polling place nearest to your home. If you are not on the list, ask for a provisional ballot.
PROBLEMS AT THE POLLS
If you believe you have been denied the right to vote or you are aware of election misconduct, call one of the hotline numbers below or contact the ACLU.
Election Protection Hotline: (866) OUR-VOTE
California Secretary of State Voter Information Hotlines
- English - (800) 345-VOTE (8683)
- español / Spanish - (800) 232-VOTA (8682)
- 中文 / Chinese - (800) 339-2857
- हिन्दी / Hindi - (888) 345-2692
- 日本語 / Japanese - (800) 339-2865
- ខ្មែរ / Khmer - (888) 345-4917
- 한국어 / Korean - (866) 575-1558
- Tagalog - (800) 339-2957
- ภาษาไทย / Thai - (855) 345-3933
- Việt ngữ / Vietnamese - (800) 339-8163
- TTY/TDD - (800) 833-8683