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California

Upcoming Election Dates & Registration Deadlines

Some elections in this list are local and do not apply for all California voters. Please click the “View all” button below to view all election dates in your state.

Next Election: Primary
Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Registration Deadlines

Tuesday, February 20, 2024
By Mail
Tuesday, February 20, 2024
In Person
Tuesday, March 5, 2024

19

Mar
Tuesday, March 19, 2024
Special
Congressional District 20 Special Primary

21

May
Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Special
Congressional District 20 Special General Election

05

Nov
Tuesday, November 5, 2024
General

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California Voting Information

Absentee Ballot Process

California no longer uses the term "absentee ballots." County elections officials mail ballots to all active registered voters about a month before the election. You choose whether to vote in person at your voting location or return the ballot you received either by mail or by dropping it off.

  • By Mail: If you wish to use the mailed ballot instead of voting in person, fill it out and mail it back early so that it is postmarked no later than Election Day. You do not need a stamp to mail back your ballot in the return envelope provided.
  • Dropoff: You may drop off your ballot at any voting location in your county. Your county will also open secure ballot drop-off locations starting about a month before Election Day.
  • In Person: For voting in person on Election Day, the polls are open from 7 am to 8 pm.

Early Voting. You may also be able to vote in person before Election Day. Check caearlyvoting.sos.ca.gov.

Watch How to Return Your Completed Vote-by-Mail Ballot.

If you failed to receive your ballot in the mail, you have lost or destroyed your original ballot, and you are unable to vote in person at the polls, you may apply for a replacement ballot with this form or by contacting your County Elections Office.

Same-Day Registration and Voting

Missed the voter registration deadline? No problem. You can still register and vote in the election at any voting location up to and through Election Day. If you look up and go to your assigned voting location, then your ballot will be sure to include all the contests on which you’re allowed to vote.

If you need to register after the deadline and want to vote from home, contact your County Elections Office to find out how to register and get a vote-by-mail ballot through Election Day. Learn more from the Secretary of State.

Elections officials process applications 29 days to 7 days before an election. You may request a Vote-By-Mail ballot more than 29 days before an election but not fewer than 7 days in advance. But if it’s 6 or fewer days before the election, you may qualify for an emergency ballot

If you are voting by mail for the first time and did not provide your driver's license number, CA ID number, or the last 4 digits of your Social Security number on your registration application, you must provide a photocopy of the above ID with your vote-by-mail application. Other forms of ID include a recent utility bill, the county Voter Information Guide you received from your county elections office, or any other governmental agency document (like your passport, driver's license, student ID, etc.). If your ID cannot be verified, your vote-by-mail ballot will not be opened.

You can find a complete list of acceptable IDs here.

Track your Vote-By-Mail Ballot

You can track the status of your vote-by-mail ballot by visiting the "My Voter Status" website and the Where's My Ballot website.

Late Vote-By-Mail Ballot Requests 

If you would like to request a Vote-By-Mail ballot after 7 days before the election, you will need to apply in person at your county elections office. Your county elections office may allow you to apply over the phone; just call to see if your office allows telephone applications.

Even if you receive your vote-by-mail ballot, you can still vote at a polling place on Election Day. Bring your unused vote-by-mail ballot to your local polling place anytime between 7:00 am and 8:00 pm. on Election Day and give it to a poll worker, who will exchange it for a polling place ballot you can use instead. If you do not bring your vote-by-mail ballot with you, you will not lose your opportunity to vote at a polling place on Election Day. If the poll worker is able to verify that you have not returned your voted ballot, then you will be given a regular ballot. If not, a poll worker will provide you with a provisional ballot, which will be counted after your county elections official has confirmed you are registered to vote in that county and did not vote more than once in that election.

Overseas citizens and U.S. military personnel can find information on how to register to vote and request a Vote-By-Mail ballot at the Overseas Vote Foundation.

Request your Ballot
Campaign Finance Information

For information on federal campaign contributions, please visit Open Secrets.

For information on state campaign contributions, please visit Cal-Access.

Candidate and Ballot Measure Information

When an election is coming up in your state, the League of Women Voters will publish a voter guide on VOTE411.org. If you enter your address and don't see your candidates yet, please check back closer to Election Day to see them published online.  

If you see a candidate listed on VOTE411 who has not yet filled out the candidate questions, please reach out to them, and ask them to fill out the VOTE411 voter guide! The more candidates who fill it out the more helpful it is for voters in your community.  

You can also check out the Easy Voter Guide for clear, simple explanations of state ballot measures.

 

Drop Boxes

Find your Vote Center and Dropbox Locations here

Early Voting

You can vote early either in person at your county elections office or by using the vote-by-mail system. Any registered voter may vote early instead of going to the polls on Election Day. In-person early voting locations and hours may vary by county. To locate an early voting location near you, visit CAEarlyVoting.sos.ca.gov or contact your County Elections Office.

All valid vote-by-mail ballots are counted in every election in California, regardless of the outcome or closeness of any race.

Once your application is processed by your county elections official, your ballot will be sent to you. After you have voted, insert your ballot in the envelope provided, making sure you complete all required information on the envelope. You may return your voted vote-by-mail ballot by 1) mailing it to your county elections official; 2) dropping it off at an official, secure dropbox; 3)  returning it in person to a polling place or the elections office in your county on Election Day; or 4) authorizing anyone to return the ballot on your behalf.

Election Dates

Your next election date can be found here https://www.vote411.org/california

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to vote, you must be:

  • A United States citizen
  • A resident of California
  • At least 18 years of age (or will be by the date of the next election)
  • Not currently serving a state or federal prison term for conviction of a felony
  • Not have been judged by a court to be mentally incompetent to register and vote

You may pre-register to vote if you are at least 16 years old. Your registration will become active once you turn 18.

You will need to re-register to vote when:

  • You move
  • You change your name
  • You wish to change political parties or to register with no party preference
  • You were removed from the registration rolls while in state or federal prison for the conviction of a felony

Incarcerated Voters & Returning Citizens: 

In California, those who have been convicted of a felony and were sentenced to a prison term for that conviction will be eligible to register to vote immediately after their release, even if they are on probation or parole. Learn more.

Voters without traditional residence: 

In California, every eligible voter, including individuals experiencing homelessness, has the right to vote. They are able to register to vote as long as they have a location where they can receive mail and be assigned to a specific voting area. They have the option to register using an address where they spend most of their time, such as a shelter. In case they don't have a fixed address, they must provide a clear description of their living location when registering so that the county elections official can determine their voting precinct. This description can include nearby cross streets or a park. This process ensures they receive the appropriate election materials based on their living situation. 

ID Needed for Voter Registration

To register to vote you will have to provide your states drivers' license number or identification card number or the last four digits of your Social Security Number (SSN). If you do not include this information you will be required to provide identification when you vote.

If you register to vote by mail and submit a driver's license number that the state or local elections official can match with an existing state identification record, then you will not be required to provide identification when you vote.

ID Needed for Voting

A first-time voter who registers and did not provide identification with their application, may need to show identification at the polls. To be safe, bring your driver's license or another photo ID.

Voters can call or text 844-338-8743 at any time to reach VoteRiders Voter ID Helpline

Official Results

Official results are never available on Election Day. Election officials are working around the clock to count an unprecedented number of ballots, and it’s essential that they take the time to make sure every vote is counted.

Mailed ballots begin being counted on Election Day. 

Late-arriving mail ballots and provisional ballots will be counted over the following days and weeks. Official election results will be uploaded on California’s Secretary of State website as they become available. The complete tally of votes is never finished on Election Night as vote-by-mail ballots postmarked on or before Election Day and received within seven days after the election, as well as any provisional ballots cast must still be counted. These ballots are counted during the official canvass period 30 days after Election Day. Learn more.

Official election results will be uploaded on California’s Secretary of State website as they become available.

Official Results
Overseas and Military Voters

You are a Military or Overseas voter if you are in uniformed services, living overseas OR a spouse or dependent of a uniformed services voter. To get registered and vote, you can utilize Overseas Vote Foundation.

If you have additional questions about elections and voting overseas you can use our state specific elections official directory or contact the Overseas Vote Foundation.

Poll Worker Information

You can make sure we have safe, fair, and efficient elections for all. Become a poll worker today!

In order to be a poll worker in California, you must:

  • Be a US citizen or legal permanent resident
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be a resident of the precinct
  • Complete required training
  • Students who are 16 years or older may work if they are in good standing with a GPA of 2.5 and above

You will be entitled to compensation. To sign up, fill out this online form.

 

Polling Place Hours

The polls will be open from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm.

Polling Place Locator

You can find your polling place by utilizing your state's resource.

If you have further questions on your polling place location, please contact your local elections official.

Primary Election Process

California is a “top two” primary state. In these primary elections, all candidates for state offices are listed on the same ballot and all candidates are listed with their party affiliation. The top two candidates who get the most votes in each race move on to the General Election regardless of their party. The top two primaries are used for the following offices: United States Senators, congressional Representatives, State Senators, Assemblymembers, Governor,  Lt. Governor,  State Treasurer, Secretary of State, and State Attorney General. They are not used for President, Vice President, or  Political Party County Central Committees or County Councils.

If you have any questions about your state’s primary election, please contact your local election officials.

Provisional Voting

You may be asked to vote a provisional ballot if you meet specific criteria, including:

  • You believe you are registered to vote even though your name is not on the official voter registration list at the polling place
  • You signed up to vote by mail but want to vote at your polling place or vote center and you didn't receive or you didn't bring your vote by mail ballot with you and the election official is unable to verify that you have not returned your vote-by-mail ballot.

If you are asked to vote a provisional ballot it will be counted after elections officials confirm you are registered to vote and haven't already voted in that election.

For more information around provisional voting, and information on how to track your provisional ballot, please visit your Secretary of State's website.

 

Provisions for Voters with Disabilities

There are many ways voters with disabilities can cast their ballot.

Vote-by-mail

All voters can cast their ballot from home. For more information on voting by mail, click here.

Remote Accessible Vote-by-Mail

This allows voters to mark their selections on their ballot by using their own compatible technology to vote independently from their own home. For more information on how to use this option, click here.

Curbside Voting

This allows you to park as close as possible to the voting area. Election officials will bring you any voting materials you need to cast your ballot, either on the curb or in your car. Be sure to check if curbside voting is available at your polling or vote center by contacting you county elections office.

Accessible Voting Machines

Contact your county elections office for details around accessible voting machines in your area.

For more information, you can utilize the American Association of People With Disabilities (AAPD) resource.

Registration Deadline

You can register to vote online! The deadline to register is no later than 15 days before the election. People who sign up on time will be placed on the voter list before the election, receive a ballot in the mail, and get voter guides from the state and county.

Missed the deadline? You can still register and vote in the election at any voting location up to and through Election Day. If you look up and go to your assigned voting location, then your ballot will be sure to include all the contests on which you’re allowed to vote.

If you need to register after the deadline and want to vote from home, contact your County Elections Office to find out how to register and get a vote-by-mail ballot through Election Day. Learn more from the Secretary of State.

Not registered? Use our registration tool to fill out your application!

 

 

 

 

Time Off To Vote

Private and public employers must give employees time off to vote unless the employee has two hours of nonworking time available to vote or fails to vote. Employers may require employees to give advance notice that they will need additional time off for voting. Employers may require the time off to be taken at the beginning or the end of the employee's shift.

Verify Voter Registration

To verify your voter registration status

click here!
Vote by Mail

County elections officials mail ballots to all active registered voters about a month before the election. You choose whether to vote in person at your voting location or return the ballot you received either by mail or by dropping it off.

  • By Mail: If you wish to use the mailed ballot instead of voting in person, fill it out and mail it back early so that it is postmarked no later than Election Day. You do not need a stamp to mail back your ballot in the return envelope provided.
  • Dropoff: You may drop off your ballot at any voting location in your county. Your county will also open secure ballot drop-off locations starting about a month before Election Day.
  • In Person: For voting in person on Election Day, the polls are open from 7 am to 8 pm.

Early Voting

You may also be able to vote in person before Election Day. Check caearlyvoting.sos.ca.gov.

Watch How to Return Your Completed Vote-by-Mail Ballot.

If you failed to receive your ballot in the mail, you have lost or destroyed your original ballot, and you are unable to vote in person at the polls, you may apply for a replacement ballot with this form or by contacting your County Elections Office.

Same-Day Registration and Voting

Missed the voter registration deadline? No problem. You can still register and vote in the election at any voting location up to and through Election Day. If you look up and go to your assigned voting location, then your ballot will be sure to include all the contests on which you’re allowed to vote.

If you need to register after the deadline and want to vote from home, contact your County Elections Office to find out how to register and get a vote-by-mail ballot through Election Day. Learn more from the Secretary of State.

Elections officials process applications 29 days to 7 days before an election. You may request a Vote-By-Mail ballot more than 29 days before an election but not fewer than 7 days in advance. But if it’s 6 or fewer days before the election, you may qualify for an emergency ballot

If you are voting by mail for the first time and did not provide your driver's license number, CA ID number, or the last 4 digits of your Social Security number on your registration application, you must provide a photocopy of the above ID with your vote-by-mail application. Other forms of ID include a recent utility bill, the county Voter Information Guide you received from your county elections office, or any other governmental agency document (like your passport, driver's license, student ID, etc.). If your ID cannot be verified, your vote-by-mail ballot will not be opened.

You can find a complete list of acceptable IDs here.

Track your Vote-By-Mail Ballot

You can track the status of your vote-by-mail ballot by visiting the "My Voter Status" website and the Where's My Ballot website.

Late Vote-By-Mail Ballot Requests 

If you would like to request a Vote-By-Mail ballot after 7 days before the election, you will need to apply in person at your county elections office. Your county elections office may allow you to apply over the phone; just call to see if your office allows telephone applications.

Even if you receive your vote-by-mail ballot, you can still vote at a polling place on Election Day. Bring your unused vote-by-mail ballot to your local polling place anytime between 7:00 am and 8:00 pm. on Election Day and give it to a poll worker, who will exchange it for a polling place ballot you can use instead. If you do not bring your vote-by-mail ballot with you, you will not lose your opportunity to vote at a polling place on Election Day. If the poll worker is able to verify that you have not returned your voted ballot, then you will be given a regular ballot. If not, a poll worker will provide you with a provisional ballot, which will be counted after your county elections official has confirmed you are registered to vote in that county and did not vote more than once in that election.

Overseas citizens and U.S. military personnel can find information on how to register to vote and request a Vote-By-Mail ballot at the Overseas Vote Foundation.

Voting Machines

The types of voting equipment used in California are optical scans and ballot marking devices (BMDs). Learn more.

Optical Scan: With these systems, you will receive a card or sheet of paper, which you take over to a private table or booth. The card has the names of the various candidates and ballot measures printed on it. With a pen or pencil you fill in a little box or circle or the space between two arrows. When you are finished filling out all the cards, you may bring the cards over to a ballot box, where poll workers will show you how to put the cards in the box. Or in some places, you may feed the completed cards or papers into a computer device that checks your card or paper right there at the polling place to make sure you have voted the way you want to and counts the votes.

Ballot Marking Devices: With these systems, the voter is presented with an electronic ballot and the voter makes their choices electronically. This produces a human-readable paper ballot. Some BMDs mark pre-printed ballots, while others print summaries of voter selections, often with those selections encoded in barcodes or QR codes. Then, voters either cast their ballots on a separate hand-fed optical scanner or place them in a ballot box to be counted centrally.

Personalized voting information

  • See What's On Your Ballot
  • Check Your Voter Registration
  • Find Your Polling Place
  • Discover Upcoming Debates and Forum in Your Area

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California Department of State

Secretary of State

1500 11th Street, 5th floor

Sacramento 95814


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