California Voting Guide

Registration Deadline

Voter Registration Deadline: 15 days before Election Day

Note: Though already passed into law, automated voter registration and same day voter registration will not be available until early 2017.

  • Voter registration forms, polling place locations, and more information can be found at www.sos.ca.gov/elections
  • Voters with a valid California driver’s license or state ID card may register to vote online at registertovote.ca.gov/

What Type of ID Do I Need to Register?

California’s voter registration form asks for your California driver’s license or ID number, or the last four digits of your Social Security Number. Failure to provide this information could lead to you having to show additional identification when you vote that shows your picture or your name and address. Make sure to provide this information on the registration form so the state can verify your identity and you don’t run into issues when you cast your ballot. 

What Type of ID Do I Need to Vote?

You do not need any ID to vote early or on Election Day in California. The only exception is for firsttime voters who registered by mail or during a voter registration drive and failed to provide a California driver’s license number, state ID number, or the last 4 digits of their Social Security Number. 

Where Do I Vote?

  • Polling place locator online at http://www.sos.ca.gov/ elections/find-polling-place.htm through the Secretary of State’s website.
  • Voters must cast their ballots in the correct precinct. Sometimes there are multiple precincts in one polling place, so confirm your precinct ahead of time and get in the correct line! 

How Can I Vote?

By Mail

  • Any registered voter may vote by mail in California. Voters who wish to vote by mail must first submit an application in order to receive a mail-in ballot. Applications for a mail-in ballot sent by mail must be received by the county elections official no later than 7 days before the election; otherwise you will need to apply in person at your county elections office to receive a vote-by-mail ballot for that election.
  • Completed ballots must be returned before the close of polls on Election Day.

Early In Person

All registered voters may vote early in person without an excuse. Early voting begins 29 days before an election. Check with your County Clerk’s office for specific location and times.

On Election Day at the Polls

The polls are open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. 

This Guide was prepared by FELN staff who are not licensed to practice law in California and FELN intends that the information contained herein is used only as a general guide. This document should not be used as a substitute for consultation with a licensed California legal professional.

Last updated June 2016