How to vote in California

This guide contains information about the 2018 midterm election held on November 6. It may be out-of-date.
 
Election day is Tuesday, November 6. California allows any voter to request a ballot by mail. You can also vote in person. California offers early voting.

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

Vote in person

Vote on election day

Voters registered in California can look up where to vote on California's site or at GetToThePolls.com.

Vote early

California voters can also vote before Election Day. The early voting period runs from Monday, October 8 to Monday, November 5, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live. You can look up when and where to vote early at GetToThePolls.com.

What to bring

  • If you've voted in California before, you don't need to show ID.
  • If you're a first-time voter who registered by mail, and didn't include your driver's license number, California ID number, or the last 4 digits of your Social Security number on your registration, you may be asked to provide ID when you vote. Acceptable forms include: a current and valid photo ID; or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows your name and address.
  • Voters without ID: If you are unable to provide ID, you will be able to vote a provisional ballot.

Vote by mail

  1. Request your mail-in ballot with a mail ballot application.
  2. Fill out the application completely.
  3. Submit the request to your local election office. You should request your ballot as far in advance of the election as possible. The deadline to request a ballot by mail is Tuesday, October 30.
  4. When your ballot arrives, read it carefully and follow the instructions to complete it and return it.

See what's on the ballot

Learn more about what will be on your ballot at GetToThePolls.com or Ballotpedia.

Get step-by-step help

TurboVote can help you fill out your ballot request form, 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 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.
  • The early voting period runs from Monday, October 8 to Monday, November 5, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live.
  • The deadline to request a ballot by mail is Tuesday, October 30.
  • 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