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Voter and Election Information

Introduction

This guide has been created by the Merritt College Library to be a nonpartisan resource helpful to the voting public. Any links to political party websites are for informational purposes only and in no manner constitute any endorsements.

Our ability to vote in the United States is more than just a civic duty - it allows individuals and communities to express their voices and to implement change.  Democracy is the most effective when everyone participates.

Voter Registration in California

Eligibility

Are You Already Registered? 

Is Your Registration Inactive?

States try to keep their voter registration lists as accurate as possible. This means:

  • Removing registrations of voters who are no longer residents
  • Marking some registrations as inactive

You may be marked inactive if you:

  • Do not respond to election officials’ postcards or letters and
  • Have not voted in the last two federal general elections (a midterm and a presidential election)

If your registration is inactive, you may have to take extra steps before you can vote. If you do not, you may have to cast a provisional ballot.

Online Registration

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 you do not have a California driver license or California identification card, you can still use the online form to apply to register to vote. However, you will need to take additional steps to complete your voter registration.

  • Online registration is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese.
  • Voters who are enrolled in California's confidential address program, Safe At Home, should not apply to register to vote using the above website. Contact the Safe At Home program toll-free at (877) 322-5227 or use the Safe At Home email form.

 

Mail-in Registration

Paper forms may be found at county elections offices, libraries, Department of Motor Vehicles offices, or U.S. post offices. Voters can request paper voter registration applications to be mailed to them by calling (800) 345-VOTE(8683) or emailing Elections Division staff through the online form.

 

Motor Voter Registration

The California Motor Voter program is making registering to vote at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) more convenient. Eligible applicants completing a driver license, identification (ID) card or change of address transaction online, by mail or in person at the DMV will be automatically registered to vote by the California Secretary of State, unless they choose to opt out of automatic voter registration.

 

ID Required for Voter Registration

To register online or by mail you will need

  • Your California driver license or California identification card number,
  • The last four digits of your Social Security number and
  • Your date of birth.

Deadlines

  • California Election Deadlines 
  • Voter registration deadlines are determined by the date of the election.  The deadline to register to vote is 15 days before the date of the election. For example, the last day to register to vote for the November 5, 2024, General Election is October 21, 2024.
  • Voters who miss the deadline may complete the conditional registration process up to Election Day and cast a provisional ballot.

Updating registration      

To update registration after a move, name change, or change of political party affiliation, re-register to vote.

Cancelling registration

County elections offices maintain the voter rolls. To cancel registration, complete the California Voter Registration Cancellation Request Form (PDF) and submit it to your County Elections Office

Attribution

Information in this guide has been adapted from the California Voting Toolkit developed by the Government Documents Round Table (GODORT), a Round Table of the American Library Association (ALA). The toolkit was licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.