Am I Eligible?

Can I vote while I am in county jail?

You CAN vote while in county jail if you are:

  • 18 years of age or older, and
  • a citizen of the United States, and
  • awaiting trial or on trial for any crime, or
  • in jail for a misdemeanor conviction, or
  • in jail on a probation violation, or
  • in jail on felony probation, or
  • serving a county jail sentence under Realignment (AB 109).

The only time you CANNOT vote while in county jail is when you are:

  • in jail awaiting transfer to a state or federal prison for a felony conviction, or
  • in jail for a parole violation, or
  • serving a state prison sentence under a contract with a county jail, or
  • currently found mentally incompetent to vote by a court.

*If you are not sure of your custody status or what type of sentence you are serving, please check with your parole or probation officer or complete and submit an Inmate Message slip requesting the information.

In California, you always keep your right to vote unless you are currently serving a state or federal prison sentence.


How Do I Register From Jail?

Voting Procedure and Materials

Per the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) Title 15 Minimum Standards for Local Detention Facilities Article 6, Inmate Programs and Services §1071- Voting:

The facility administrator of a Type I (holding sentenced inmate workers) II, III or IV facility shall develop written policies and procedures whereby the county registrar of voters allows qualified voters to vote in local, state, and federal elections, pursuant to election codes.

Per the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Policy 1600.3 and 1604.4 Inmate Voting Procedure:

Inmates who would like to participate in local, state and federal elections should contact the Orange County Registrar of Voters for information and materials.

Registrar of Voters
P.O. Box 11298
Santa Ana, CA 92711

You must register to vote at least 15 days before Election Day.

Please follow the steps listed below if you would like to vote:

  • Refer to the enclosed Request-for-Materials Letter addressed to the Orange County Registrar of Voters and fill in the blanks.
  • Mail the completed letter to the Orange County Registrar of Voters. Enclosed is a pre-addressed envelope.
  • The Orange County Registrar of Voters will provide voting materials to you.
  • Fill out your Voter Registration Card and Vote-by-Mail Ballot Application when you receive them. Include your booking number on each and return them to the appropriate address.
  • When you receive your ballot, mark your choices and return to the appropriate address.
  • You can find out if your vote-by-mail ballot arrived at the county elections office, if your ballot was counted, and, if not, the reason why it was not counted by calling 714-567-7600.


How Do I Register If I'm No Longer In Custody?

You must re-register to vote when you are released from custody. There are a few ways to re-/register to vote after your release:

  • You can register online at
  • You can pick up a paper registration form at the DMV, post office, public library, or your county elections office. Complete the form, sign it, and drop it in the mail.
  • You can call 800-345-VOTE (8683) and ask for a registration form to be mailed to you.

Federal law requires that the Orange County Registrar of Voters provide translated election materials and bilingual support in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese. If you wish to receive your voting materials in a language in addition to English, please detail so on your Request-for-Materials Letter and Voter Registration Card.

If you are not a resident of Orange County, you can still send the Request-for-Materials Letter to the OC Registrar of Voters. The OC Registrar of Voters will ensure that the request is sent to the appropriate county elections office.



If you experience any problems requesting or obtaining voting materials, registering to vote or casting a ballot you should:

Contact the California Secretary of State Investigative Services.

California Secretary of State Investigative Services
1500 11th Street, 2nd Floor Sacramento, CA 95814
English: 916-657-2166 or 800-345-VOTE (8683)
Spanish: 800-232-VOTA (8682)

Contact the ACLU SoCal Jails Project.

ATTN: Jails Project 1313 W. 8th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017