How to register to vote in California

This guide contains information about the 2018 midterm election held on November 6. It may be out-of-date.
 
California offers online voter registration. You can register to vote by mail in California by printing a voter registration form, filling it out, and mailing it to your local election office. You can also register to vote in person if you prefer.

Who can vote

To register in California you must:
  • be a citizen of the United States
  • be a resident of California
  • be at least 18 or older on Election Day to vote
  • 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

Online voter registration

  • California offers online voter registration.
  • You should know: you need a California ID or a Social Security number to register online. If you do not have a California-issued ID or Social Security number, you can still register to vote by mail.
  • You can register online until Monday, October 22.

By-mail voter registration

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 22.

Use the California voter registration form

You can also register to vote using the California voter registration form. Be sure to read the instructions carefully and fill it out completely. Send the completed form to your local election official. To register by mail, the form must be postmarked by Monday, October 22.

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 6. Conditional voter registration is a safety net for Californians who miss the October 22 deadline to register to vote or update their voter registration information. Voters can use the conditional voter registration process from October 23 all the way through Election Day. Eligible citizens can go to their county election office or a designated satellite location 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 fill out your voter registration form, send you election reminders, and more. If you'd like more help registering to vote, TurboVote can walk you through the process.

Military and overseas voters

Active-duty military, their families, and voters living outside the US 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. When your ballot arrives, read it carefully and follow the instructions to complete it and return it.
  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.

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 6.
  • The deadline to register online is Monday, October 22.
  • The deadline for registering to vote by mail is Monday, October 22.
  • The deadline to register to vote in person is Tuesday, November 6. Conditional voter registration is a safety net for Californians who miss the October 22 deadline to register to vote or update their voter registration information. Voters can use the conditional voter registration process from October 23 all the way through Election Day. Eligible citizens can go to their county election office or a designated satellite location 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 and vote on Election Day.

Election contact information for California

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

Phone Number:
(800) 345-VOTE