The Elections Division oversees all federal and state elections within California. In every statewide election, California prepares voter information pamphlets in ten languages — English, Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Tagalog, Thai and Vietnamese — for approximately 22 million registered voters. As the chief elections officer for the largest state in the nation, the California Secretary of State tests and certifies all voting equipment for security, accuracy, reliability and accessibility in order to ensure that every vote is counted as it was cast. The Secretary also ensures election laws and campaign disclosure requirements are enforced, maintains a statewide database of all registered voters, certifies the official lists of candidates for elections, tracks and certifies ballot initiatives, compiles election returns and certifies election results, educates California citizens about their voting rights, and promotes voter registration and participation.

The Secretary of State's Elections Division has a wide variety of responsibilities in administering elections in California. Among its many duties, the Elections Division:

  • Certifies the official lists of candidates running for state offices
  • Advises candidates and local elections officials on the qualifications and requirements for running for office
  • Provides guidance on how candidates can select acceptable candidate ballot designations
  • Determines the order in which candidates are placed on the ballot
  • Tracks and certifies ballot initiatives. State measures must be verified by the Elections Division before they can be placed on the ballot.
  • Coordinates the tabulation of the votes from each county on election night. After each election, the Elections Division produces the official Statements of Vote, the official compilation of vote totals for each state election.
  • Uses its Voter Registration and Outreach team to produce voter registration forms, voter information publications, and encourage people to register and vote.

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For additional information about Voter Registration, Voting, Propositions, and Running for Office please read our Frequently Asked Questions.