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California Voting Guide

Find answers to your questions about voting in California in FindLaw's California Voter Guide. On this page you will find information regarding eligibility to vote, voter registration and registration deadlines, where to vote and what to bring to the polls, absentee ballots, any special accommodations for California voters, and what you can do if you see illegal activity occurring at the polls.

Am I eligible to vote in California?

In California, you are eligible to vote if you are a U.S. citizen and a resident of the State of California who is 18 years of age on Election Day and is registered to vote.

If you are 16 or 17 and meet the other requirements for voting in California, you can pre-register to vote. On your 18th birthday, you will automatically be registered to vote.

You CAN register and vote if you are:

  • Under guardianship due to a disability (unless specifically disqualified)
  • In a county jail for a misdemeanor, as a condition of probation, while waiting for trial, or while serving a felony jail sentence
  • On probation, mandatory supervision, post-release community supervision, or federal supervised release

In California, you CAN NOT register and vote if you are:

  • Disqualified from voting due to disability or incompetency as specifically determined by a judge or a jury (see Accommodations, below, for more information about voting and mental competency or disability)
  • Currently in prison or serving a felony state or federal prison sentence in a correctional facility, or in jail awaiting transfer to prison for a felony, or
  • Currently in a county jail for a parole violation*
  • Currently on parole for a felony conviction*

*You can regain your voting rights after you have completed parole by re-registering online or by completing and mailing in a voter registration card. If you have questions about whether your voting rights can be restored at this time, Restore the Vote can help you determine your eligibility.


Where Do I Vote?

If you registered to vote, you will receive a postcard giving you the location of your polling place. If you live in one of the 15 counties participating in the California Voters' Choice Act, you can vote by mail, or at any polling station in your county.

How to Register in California

There are several ways to register to vote in California. This includes registering:

In Person

You can pick up your voter registration application from one of your county election offices.

Over the Phone

Call the toll-free Voter Hotline at (800) 345-VOTE (8683) to have an application mailed to you.

At the DMV

Pick up a paper application at any DMV office, post offices, libraries, and government offices.


Register online using your California driver's license or California Identification Card. 

California Voting Resources

Your vote counts. Take time to learn how and when to vote.


You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:

Protect Your Voting Rights

Contact a qualified attorney if you suspect your rights have been violated.

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