En español | California offers several ways to register to vote, including online, by email and regular mail, and in person.
The Nov. 8 general election will decide decided races for the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, governor, the state Senate and Assembly, attorney general and other state offices.
If you miss the deadline, you can register conditionally (also known as same-day registration) and vote at your county elections office, polling place or county vote center. Your ballot will be counted after your county elections office completes the voter registration verification process.
It depends. For many primary elections, including races for governor and other state constitutional offices, state legislative offices and U.S. congressional offices, voters use the same ballot, regardless of party preference. The top two vote-getters in each race then move on to the general election.
But for presidential, county central committee and local office races, a political party can choose to close its ballot, only allowing voters who share that political party preference to participate. Or, a party may have a “modified-closed” primary, in which voters without a party preference may participate.
In the general election, voters use the same ballot, irrespective of party preference. To learn more about this process, call the California election’s office at 800-345-8683 or visit the primary section on the state elections website.
All registered voters will be sent a mail-in ballot by the state elections office before Election Day. If you don’t receive your vote-by-mail ballot or have lost or damaged your ballot and are unable to vote in person at the polls, you can request a replacement ballot online, by phone or in person.
Completed vote-by-mail ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day. You can also drop off your ballot in person at any polling place, county vote center or ballot drop box, or at your county elections office between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Use the state election office’s online tool to track your ballot.
This depends on the county. If you live in a Voter’s Choice Act county, you may start in-person voting up to 10 days before an election at a local vote center. Locations can be found along with polling places on the state elections website. At these centers, voters can drop off their ballot in person, get a replacement ballot, cast a ballot with a voting machine, register to vote or update an existing registration, and find voting material in multiple languages. Contact your county elections office to find out if early in-person voting is available in your county.
Information about vote center locations and ballot drop boxes is posted on the state elections website.
Only those who didn’t provide a driver’s license number or state ID and/or the last four digits of your Social Security number while registering to vote online will need to show an approved form of ID on Election Day. Approved IDs include a state driver’s license, a U.S. passport, a state ID card, or a student identification card showing your name and photograph. A complete list of acceptable forms of ID is posted online at the state election’s website.
Editor’s note: This guide was updated on Nov. 14, 2022. The guide was first published on July 30, 2020.
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