To use the online voter registration system you must have a current and valid driver’s license, learner’s permit or non-driver photo identification card issued by the CA Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). If the voter does not have a signature on file with DMV, they must print the application, sign the paper copy, and mail it to their county elections official.
Online registration form (in English, Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese): https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voter-registration/
Paper forms can be found at county elections offices, libraries, Department of Motor Vehicles offices, or U.S. post offices. Voters can request paper voter registration applications be mailed to them by calling (800) 345-VOTE(8683) or emailing Elections Division staff through the online form at: https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/contact/email-elections-division/
Refer to the box below for information about ID requirements.
Choosing a political party
You may choose a political party affiliation when you register, but it is not required.No Party Preference (NPP) voters get a “non-partisan” ballot in presidential primary elections. (See more in “Primaries vs. general elections” box.)
To update registration after a move, name change, or change of political party affiliation use My Voter Status:https://voterstatus.sos.ca.gov/
County elections offices maintain the voter rolls. To cancel registration, the voter completes the California Voter Registration Cancellation Request Form and submits it to their county elections office.
County elections offices: https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voting-resources/county-elections-offices/
For online voter registration, a California driver license or state ID, the last four digits of the voter’s social security information, and the voter’s date of birth is required.
Voters who are enrolled in California's confidential address program, Safe At Home, please do not apply to register to vote using the above site. Contact the Safe At Home program toll-free at (877) 322-5227 or by the Safe At Home email form at https://www.sos.ca.gov/registries/safe-home/contact/email-safe-home/
To register with a paper voter registration application, voters can pick one up at their county elections office, library, Department of Motor Vehicles offices, or U.S. post office. It is important that the voter registration application be filled out completely and be postmarked or hand-delivered to your county elections office at least 15 days before the election.
To request a paper voter registration application be mailed to you, please call (800) 345-VOTE(8683) or email Elections Division staff through the form at: https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/contact/email-elections-division/
In most cases, voters, including first-time voters are not required to show ID, however, it is a good idea for first time voters to bring ID. In particular, “[a] poll worker may ask to see your identification if you mailed your voter registration application and did not include your driver license number, California identification number, or the last four digits of your Social Security number.” Acceptable ID includes photo ID such as “passport, driver license, official California identification card, or student identification card” OR “A copy of a recent utility bill, the county Voter Information Guide you received from your county elections office, or another document sent to you by a government agency”
In most other cases, voters are not required to show ID at the polling place.
Department of Motor Vehicles
If an applicant for a driver’s license or ID card is eligible to vote in California, they will be registered to vote automatically, unless they opt out.
Obtaining a Driver’s License
Vote by mail application: https://elections.cdn.sos.ca.gov/vote-by-mail/pdf/vote-by-mail-application.pdf
Many organizations offer free rides to polling places. Some of these include:
Voters may enter their zip code at Voter’s Edge California (http://votersedge.org/ca) to find their local ballots
Offices/Measures That May Appear on the Ballot
|Federal (even years)||
President/Vice-President (elected every four years; next election in 2020)
Senator (elected every six years for staggered terms; next election in 2022)
Representative (elected every two years)
|State (even years)||
Governor/Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, State Comptroller, Attorney General, Insurance Commissioner, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Board of Equalization Members (elected every four years; next election in 2022)
State Senator (elected every two years)
State Representative (elected every two years)
Statewide ballot measures
|Municipal (even or odd years)||
Which positions are elected depends on county. Examples of offices/measures that may be on ballot include:
School Board and other boards and commissions
Local ballot measures
Election Day is November 3, 2020
Dates of statewide elections can be found on the Secretary of State’s website:https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voting-resources/voting-california/election-dates-and-resources/
Dates of local elections can be found on the websites of each county’s elections office:https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voting-resources/county-elections-offices/
The California Secretary of State’s Investigative Services (https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/publications-and-resources/voter-complaint/) handles reports of Elections Code violations. The Enforcement Division of the Fair Political Practices Commission (http://www.fppc.ca.gov/enforcement/file-a-complaint.html) handles complaints about violations of the Political Reform Act. Voters can report election related misinformation at firstname.lastname@example.org
Find your elected officials: https://clerk.assembly.ca.gov/content/elected-officials
1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español)
1-888-API-VOTE (Asian multilingual assistance)
Find useful voter information including:
Librarians from the Government Documents Round Table (GODORT), a Round Table of the American Library Association (ALA), created these reference guides. These guides are intended for informational purposes only and are not in any way intended to be legal advice.
These guides are designated with a Creative Commons license and re-use and modification for educational purposes is encouraged.