Where and How to Vote



Any registered voter in California can decide whether to vote at a polling place or vote by mail. To learn more, select any of the questions shown below.

Vote at a polling place

Vote by mail



Vote at a polling place

Where is my polling place?

The address of your polling place is on the back page of the sample ballot booklet that your county elections official mailed to you. If you do not have the booklet, contact your county elections office, or call the Secretary of State's toll-free voter hotline at (800) 345-VOTE (8683).

Will I need to bring identification?

In most cases, California voters are not required to show identification at their polling place. However, it is a good idea to bring identification with you when you vote for the first time. A poll worker may ask to see your identification if you mailed your voter registration application and did not include your driver license number, California identification number, or the last four digits of your Social Security number.

A copy of a recent utility bill, the sample ballot booklet you received from your county elections office, or another document sent to you by a government agency are examples of acceptable forms of identification. Other examples include your passport, driver license, official California identification card, or student identification card.

For more information on identification to use when you vote for the first time check the complete list or call the Secretary of State's toll-free voter hotline at (800) 345-VOTE (8683).

What if my name is not on the voter list at the polling place?

Even if your name is not on the voter list at the polling place, you have the right to vote with a provisional ballot. Your provisional ballot will be counted only after the elections official has confirmed you are a registered voter and you did not vote anywhere else in that election. The poll worker can give you information about how to check if your provisional ballot was counted and, if it was not counted, the reason why.

What voting system will I use?

Each county elections office selects a voting system from a list approved by the Secretary of State. Review How to Vote Using Your County's Voting System to find out which one your county uses.


Vote by mail

How do I get a ballot?

To request a vote-by-mail ballot, your application must be received no later than 7 days before Election Day. You can complete the application in the sample ballot booklet you received from your county elections office or fill in a California Vote-By-Mail Ballot Application you can print, sign, and mail to your county elections office. You may also contact your county elections official to see if your county allows you to apply by telephone.

Anytime after 7 days, you will need to apply in person at your county elections office to request a vote-by-mail ballot for that election.

Check Election Dates and Resources for this and other important election deadlines.

When is the last day to return my vote-by-mail ballot?

You must complete and mail back your ballot so it arrives at your county elections office before the polls close at 8:00 p.m. on Election Day. Postmarks do not count. If you are not sure your vote-by-mail ballot will arrive in time if mailed, bring it to any polling place in your county between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.

Check Election Dates and Resources for this and other important election deadlines.

What if I am voting for the first time?

When you registered to vote, you were asked to fill in your driver license number, California identification number, or the last four digits of your Social Security number. If you did not include this information, be sure to send a photocopy of some personal identification in the envelope with your ballot.

You will find examples of acceptable kinds of identification in "Vote at a polling place," above.


If you have more questions about voting, call the Secretary of State's toll-free voter hotline at (800) 345-VOTE (8683).


New Voters


New Voter Information




Register To Vote Online