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California: Voter Guide
Voting Information // California

Automatic voter registration

Online voter registration

Pre-registration before turning 18

Number of days prior to election a voter must be registered is 15 days or less

Online voter registration closes 15 days or less before Election Day

Registration drives

Same day registration offered in all elections

Same day registration located at polling place

Same day registration offered only during early voting


All mail voting

In-person early voting

Amount of early voting days is higher than 7

Election day is a state holiday

No-excuse mail voting

12+ hours of open polls

Paid time off work to vote

Time off work to vote


Felons can vote after incarceration with completion of sentence

Felons can vote immediately after incarceration

Felons can vote while incarcerated

No ID required to vote

Mental competency not required to register

Non-photo ID required to vote

Photo-ID required to vote

Upcoming Elections

There are no upcoming elections. Sign up for email or text notifications prior to important election dates.

Voting Qualifications

Not currently judged mentally incompetent by court of law
Not imprisoned or on parole for conviction of a felony
Resident of California
United States Citizen
18+ Years of Age


In Person - 
Election Day
Mail - 
Postmarked 15 days before Election Day
Online - 
15 days before Election Day
Mail - 
Voted ballot postmarked by Election Day and received no later than 7 days after Election Day
In Person - 
Voted ballot delivered by 8 pm on Election Day
In Person - 
Between 1 and 29 days before Election Day in select counties, contact your county elections office.

More Information

All candidates for voter-nominated offices are listed on one ballot and only the top two vote-getters in the primary election, regardless of party preference, move on to the general election. The Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act does not apply to candidates running for U.S. President, county central committee, or local office. Qualified political parties in California may hold presidential primaries in one of two ways:

  • Closed presidential primary- the party only allows voters indicating a preference for that party to vote for its presidential nominee.
  • Modified-closed presidential primary- in addition to allowing voters indicating a preference for that party to vote for its presidential nominee, the party also allows voters who did not indicate a party preference to vote for its presidential nominee.

Vote-by-mail ballots are mailed to all active registered voters.

If you’re not voting for the first time in California, you don’t need to show ID to vote.

If you’re a first-time voter, you are voting in a federal election, you registered by mail, and didn’t include your driver’s license or California ID number or the last 4 digits of your Social Security number on your registration, you you may be asked to provide ID if you vote in person.

Acceptable forms of ID include a current and valid photo ID that includes your name and photograph. Examples:

  • Driver’s license or ID card of any state
  • Passport
  • Employee ID card
  • ID card provided by a commercial establishment
  • Credit or debit card
  • Military ID card
  • Student ID card
  • Health club ID card
  • Insurance plan ID card
  • Public housing ID card

You can also use any of the following documents that includes your name and address as long as the document is dated after November 8, 2016:

  • Utility bill
  • Bank statement
  • Government check
  • Government paycheck
  • Document issued by a governmental agency
  • Sample ballot or other official elections document issued by a governmental, agency dated for the upcoming election
  • Voter notification card issued by a governmental agency
  • Public housing ID card issued by a governmental agency
  • Lease or rental statement or agreement issued by a governmental agency
  • Student ID card issued by a governmental agency
  • Tuition statement or bill issued by a governmental agency
  • Insurance plan card or drug discount card issued by a governmental agency
  • Discharge certificates, pardons, or other official documents issued to you by a governmental agency in connection with the resolution of a criminal case, indictment, sentence, or other matter
  • Public transportation authority senior citizen and disabled discount cards issued by a governmental agency
  • ID documents issued by governmental disability agencies
  • ID documents issued by government homeless shelters and other government temporary or transitional facilities
  • Drug prescription issued by a government doctor or other governmental health care provider
  • Property tax statement issued by a governmental agency
  • Vehicle registration issued by a governmental agency
  • Vehicle certificate of ownership issued by a governmental agency