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Register to Vote in California

How to Register to Vote in California

This article describes How to Register to Vote in California for United States Elections. California offers online voter registration. You can register to vote by mail in California by printing a copy of the National 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.

How to Register to Vote in California – In-person voter registration

Who can vote in California 

  • You must be a citizen of the United States and a resident of California
  • Must  be at least 18 or older on Election Day to vote
  • Should 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

How to Register to Vote in California – 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.

How to Register to Vote in California – By-mail voter registration

  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.
  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.

How to Register to Vote in California-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, by mail is Monday, October 22. And, in person is Tuesday, November 6.

Click here to view How to Register to Vote in Other States

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