How to register to vote in California

California offers voter registration online, by mail, and in person. Online voter registration is available at RegisterToVote.ca.gov. You can also request and complete a paper voter registration form and mail or hand deliver it to your county elections official to register to vote.

Who can vote

To register in California you must:

  • be a United States citizen
  • be a resident of California
  • be at least 18 years old or older on Election Day
  • not be currently in state or federal prison or on parole for the conviction of a felony
  • not be currently found to be mentally incompetent to vote by a court
  • *find more information on voting rights restoration here

Online voter registration

  • California offers online voter registration.
  • You will need a California-issued driver license or California identification card number, the last four digits of your social security number, and consent to the use of your DMV-stored digital signature to use California’s online voter registration system. If you don’t have a California-issued ID or don’t want to provide consent for the use of your digital signature, you can still register by mail to vote.
  • You can register online to vote until Monday, October 19, 2020.

By-mail voter registration

Use the California voter registration form

You can also register to vote using the California voter registration form or obtain a form at your local library, U.S. Post Office, or Department of Motor Vehicles offices. Be sure to read the instructions carefully and fill it out completely. Send the completed form to your county elections official. To register by mail, the form must be postmarked by Monday, October 19.

Use the National Voter Registration Form

  1. Print and fill out the National Voter Registration Form.
  2. Box 6 – ID Number: When you register to vote, you must provide your California driver’s license or California identification card number, if you have one. If you do not have a driver’s license or ID card, you must provide the last four digits of your Social Security number (SSN). If you do not include this information, you will be required to provide identification when you vote.
  3. Box 7 – Choice of Party: California does NOT require that you register with a party to participate in partisan primary elections. However some parties do not allow unaffiliated voters to participate in their party’s presidential, local, or county committee primary elections.
  4. Box 8 – Race or Ethnic Group: Leave blank. This information is not required.
  5. Review the “Who can vote?” section above and check that you’re eligible.
  6. Sign the form.
  7. Send the completed form to your local election official. To register by mail, the form must be postmarked by Monday, October 19, 2020.
  8. If you are registering to vote for the first time in your jurisdiction and are mailing this registration application, Federal law requires you to show proof of identification the first time you vote. Proof of identification includes: A current and valid photo identification or A current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or government document that shows your name and address. More information here.

Election Day registration

California does offer registration on Election Day.

In-person voter registration

  • You can also register to vote in person. Contact your local election office for information on when and where to register to vote. The deadline to register to vote in person is Tuesday, November 3, 2020. Conditional voter registration is a safety net for Californians who miss the deadline to register to vote or update their voter registration information. Voters can use the conditional voter registration process from the day after the deadline all the way through Election Day. Eligible citizens can go to their county election office, polling place, or vote center to register and vote conditionally. These ballots will be processed once the county elections office has completed the voter registration verification process.
  • You can also register to vote and cast a ballot in person on Election Day.
  • Learn more by visiting the Secretary of State for California or contacting your local election official.

Get step-by-step help

TurboVote can help you start the absentee/mail-in ballot request process, send you election reminders, and more. If you’d like more help planning how to vote, we can walk you through the process!

Military and overseas voters

Active-duty military, their families, and overseas citizens can register to vote and request their absentee ballot using the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). To do so:

  1. Fill out the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), or download a copy. Your election official may have questions, so please provide an email address or phone number where they can reach you.
  2. Send the application to your election official.
  3. It is never too early to submit an FPCA! Please do so as soon as possible. You can look up recommended mailing dates by country and region.
  4. Please fill out and send back your ballot as soon as you receive it. Following are recommended return dates to make sure your ballot arrives at your election office on time:
    • 35 days before election – On a ship at sea: September 28, 2020
    • 30 days before election – Outside of the US: October 2, 2020
    • 11 days before the election – Stateside: October 23, 2020
  5. States begin mailing absentee ballots at least 45 days before Election Day. If you haven’t received your ballot by 30 days before Election Day, contact your local election office.

If after submitting your FPCA, your ballot does not arrive, contact your election official first. Then:

  • You can still vote using the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). Print, sign, and mail your FWAB to your local election office.
  • If you mail a FWAB and then receive your regular absentee ballot, you should complete and mail your absentee ballot also. Election officials will ensure that only one ballot is counted.

The Federal Voting Assistance Program – FVAP.gov offers additional information on military and overseas voting in California. You can also call 1-800-438-VOTE or email vote@fvap.gov

Check your voter registration status

You can look up your voter registration record and verify that your information is correct using California’s voter registration lookup tool.

Dates and deadlines

  • Election day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020.
  • The deadline to register online to vote is Monday, October 19, 2020.
  • The deadline for registering by mail to vote is (postmarked by) Monday, October 19, 2020.
  • The deadline to register in person to vote is Tuesday, November 3, 2020. Conditional voter registration is a safety net for Californians who miss the deadline to register to vote or update their voter registration information. Voters can use the conditional voter registration process from the day after the deadline all the way through Election Day. Eligible citizens can go to their county election office, polling place, or vote center to register and vote conditionally. These ballots will be processed once the county elections office has completed the voter registration verification process.
  • All registered voters will automatically be mailed a vote-by-mail ballot for the November 3, 2020, General Election.
  • The early voting period runs from Monday, October 5, 2020 to Monday, November 2, 2020, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live.
  • You can also register and vote on Election Day.

Election contact information for California

Address:
Secretary of State
1500 11th Street, 5th Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814

Phone Number:
(916) 657-2166