Voter Registration in California
To become legal voters, residents must register to vote in California using an available method. Applications for voter registration can be found in a variety of locations in the state. Drivers can even submit voter request forms when visiting local CA Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) offices. This accessibility is helpful for residents to establish their voting rights as quickly as possible.
Once approved, new voters can participate in local, state and federal elections. This right allows residents to weigh in on current social and political issues on the ballot. To keep a voter registration card, you must adhere to relevant CA laws and regulations. Discover additional information about voting rights in California by consulting the next sections.
Who can register to vote in California?
Only eligible residents can register to vote in California. Pre-registration is available to residents between 16 and 17 years of age in the state. However, these applicants cannot vote until they turn 18 years old. The following eligibility requirements are instated for CA voters:
- Must be U.S. citizens
- Must have residency in California
- Must be age 18 or older to vote
- Cannot be in a state or federal prison
- Cannot be on parole for a felony conviction
After reviewing eligibility standards, applicants can learn how to register to vote via a preferred method.
California Voter Registration Deadline
The deadline to register to vote in California is 15 days before the most current election. This deadline is referred to as E-15 in the state. For online applications, the form must be sent in by midnight on the date of the deadline.
Mail-in forms should be postmarked or delivered by the E-15 deadline. Late submissions will result in voters being denied the ability to participate in the closest election.
How to Register to Vote in California
California voter registration procedures can be completed using different methods. For all processes, relevant personal information and verification documents must be provided. For example, the following details must be disclosed by applicants:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Phone number
- Party affiliation
Additional information is also needed for voter registration applications. The forms can be obtained at DMV offices, libraries, election or post offices. Residents can apply for voting rights online, by mail or in-person.
To submit an online request, applicants must provide a valid CA drivers license or identification card number. Furthermore, the last four digits of a Social Security Number (SSN) should be provided. When each section is complete, the form can be submitted to the state for review.
A second method for obtaining CA voter cards is mailing a paper application along with relevant documents to a licensing location. Once you meet all state requirements, your CA voting identification card will be mailed to you
Lastly, residents can submit an application and relevant documentation in person at a local election or DMV office. After evaluation, an approval or denial will be issued by the state.
Early Voting in California
When your CA drivers license is due to expire, you can renew it months in advance to avoid the risk of driving without a valid license, even if it is not time to renew yet. When you have a valid CA voter card, you can opt to vote earlier for your convenience
Specific counties in California offer early voting services before elections. Early voting is only available in some states in the U.S. Voters are able to cast a ballot days before the regular election. Residents should check on the counties offering this service for further details.
California Voter Registration for Active Duty Military and Out-of-State Residents
Military members and residents living abroad or out-of-state can utilize CA absentee ballots during elections. When filling out an initial voting request, applicants should indicate the need for an absentee ballot. Absentee forms can be mailed, faxed or e-mailed to eligible voters.
For military members wondering how to register to vote, the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) provides absentee information. Through this program, service members can obtain a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), used only by the military.
California Voter Registration for Absentee Voting
Only eligible voters in CA are able to submit absentee ballots in the state. Military members and overseas residents are encouraged to vote using this method. Additionally, the state offers vote-by-mail ballots as an alternative to absentee voting. Residents can apply to vote by mail no more than 7 days before an election.
Voter Registration Cards in California
New voters will receive a CA voter registration card from the state. The card is used to establish eligibility for approved voters. Personal details such as the name, address and party affiliation of applicants is provided. Additionally, precinct locations are printed on these cards.
Residents may ask, “Am I registered to vote?” while waiting to receive approval from government officials. Online services are available for these applicants to check on the status of their voter request form.
How to Change Your Voter Registration in California
A CA voter registration change of address or other personal information should be disclosed as soon as possible. Over time, residents may experience changes in residency, name or party affiliation. Not only should you update your name and address on your California vehicle registration, you must also update your voter card. This will ensure that complications do not arise when voters attempt to cast ballots in elections.
For example, residents may wonder, “Where do I vote?” if they have not provided an updated address to state. Assigned voter precinct locations are based on the current address on file. If a voter’s address is outdated, the precinct location on a voter card will be incorrect.
How to Replace a Lost California Voter Registration Card
Resubmitting a regular voting application is used to obtain replacement voter cards in California. This is the same method used to change your address and other personal details. Residents should apply for a replacement document as soon as possible after losing the original copy.