Frequently Asked Questions

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  1. What is Motor Voter?

    Federal law requires the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to provide customers the opportunity to register to vote while completing a driver license (DL) or identification (ID) card or change of address transaction.

    Under state law and the California Motor Voter program, DMV customers who indicate they are eligible to vote will be automatically registered to vote, unless they opt out during their DL/ID or change of address transaction.

  2. How do I know if I am eligible to register and vote?

    In order to be eligible to vote, an individual must meet the following criteria:

    • A United States citizen
    • Have a residence address in California
    • At least 18 years old (or pre-register if 16 or 17, but must be 18 or older to vote on Election Day)
    • Not currently in a state or federal prison or on parole for the conviction of a felony
    • Not currently found mentally incompetent to vote by a court
  3. How do I know if I have U.S. citizenship?

    If you meet certain requirements, you may become a U.S. citizen either at birth or after birth. To become a citizen at birth, you must:

    • Have been born in the United States or certain territories or outlying possessions of the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States;or
    • had a parent or parents who were citizens at the time of your birth (if you were born abroad) and meet other requirements

    To become a citizen after birth, you must:

    For more information, visit https://www.uscis.gov/us-citizenship. If you do not meet the above, you are not a citizen and not eligible to register to vote.

  4. Can non-citizens register to vote?

    No.

  5. Will I be automatically registered to vote when I apply for or renew my driver license?

    Yes. All eligible individuals completing driver license or ID card or change of address transactions will be registered to vote by the Secretary of State unless they choose to opt out of automatic voter registration.

  6. Will I be automatically registered to vote when completing other transactions at the DMV?

    No. The California Motor Voter program covers driver license, ID card, and change of address transactions. If you aren’t completing one of these transactions, you can still register to vote online at RegisterToVote.ca.gov.

  7. I am under 18, will I be registered to vote when I apply for my learner’s permit?

    Individuals 16 to 17 years old applying for their learner’s permit who meet all other voter eligibility requirements will be automatically pre-registered to vote, unless they opt out.  If you pre-register, you will automatically be registered to vote on your 18th birthday.

  8. I’m under 18, but will be eligible to vote in the next statewide election. Will I be automatically registered to vote?

    Yes. Individuals 16 to 17 years old completing a driver license or ID card transaction who meet all other voter eligibility requirements will be pre-registered to vote, unless they choose to opt out. Once you are pre-registered to vote, you will automatically be registered to vote on your 18th birthday.

  9. Will I be able to choose a political party when I’m automatically registered?

    Yes. You can select your political party as part of automatic registration. You can also choose other voter preferences, such as whether you would like to vote by mail or which language you would like to receive your election materials.

  10. What happens if I move, am I still registered to vote?

    Yes, but you will be registered under the prior address and you must change your address if you want to vote at your new address. If you change your address with DMV, your voter record will be updated with your new address.  However, you can also update your registration information at RegisterToVote.ca.gov or use a paper voter registration application available at your county elections office, libraries or a U.S. Post Office.

  11. Will I get confirmation that I am registered to vote?

    After DMV processes your transaction, you will receive a voter notification card within four weeks from your county elections official or the Secretary of State. If you have not received the notification card in that time frame, you should contact your local county elections official or visit VoterStatus.sos.ca.gov.

  12. How can I find out if I'm already registered to vote?

    Visit VoterStatus.sos.ca.gov to verify your voter registration status. You can also contact your county elections office. Find your nearest county elections office by visiting: http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voting-resources/county-elections-offices/

  13. What if I don’t want to register to vote?

    If you meet voter eligibility requirements, but do not want to register to vote, you can choose to opt out of automatically being registered to vote.

  14. Does registering to vote make me more likely to get called for jury duty?

    Not necessarily, however, the DMV provides the jury commissioner with a current list of driver license and ID card holders who are 18 years or older. All persons selected for jury services are selected at random and sources may include customer mailing lists, telephone directories, or utility company lists.

  15. How do I opt out?

    When completing a driver license DL/ID or change of address transaction with the DMV, you will be asked if you meet the voter eligibility requirements. If you indicate that you are eligible, you will be presented with a choice to opt out of voter registration.

  16. If I opt out will DMV still send my information to the Secretary of State?

    State law requires DMV to send information on all eligible applicants to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State will send a postcard to all eligible voters who choose to opt out as a reminder about registering to vote. The Secretary of State will not contact you further unless you decide to register to vote or have another qualifying DMV transaction.

  17. If I indicate that I am not eligible to vote, will the DMV still send my information to the Secretary of State?

    No. DMV will not send your information to the Secretary of State if you indicate that you are not eligible to vote.

  18. If I register to vote by accident, and I didn't want to, can I undo it?

    Yes. You can complete this cancellation request form [https://elections.cdn.sos.ca.gov/pdfs/cancellation-request-form.pdf] and return it to your county elections official and your registration will be cancelled.   You can contact your county elections official if you have more questions.

  19. How will the DMV system ensure only U.S. Citizens are registered to vote?

    To be eligible to vote, you must be a U.S. citizen and a resident of California, 18 years old or older on Election Day, not currently in state or federal prison or on parole for the conviction of a felony, and not prohibited from voting by a court because of mental incompetency.

    State law prohibits DMV from sending information for AB 60 applicants (undocumented driver license applicants) to the Secretary of State. For other applicants, state law requires each person to declare, under penalty of perjury, that they meet all voter eligibility requirements, including citizenship.

  20. Can felons register to vote?

    A person who is currently in state or federal prison or on parole for the conviction of a felony is not eligible to register to vote. Click here for more info.

  21. What does the DMV and Secretary of State do with my voter registration information?

    State law requires DMV to submit information on all eligible driver license and ID applicants to the Secretary of State to either process your voter registration or, if you choose to opt out of voter registration, to send a reminder about registering to vote. If your voter registration information is incomplete, the Secretary of State will follow up with you by mail. Once your voter registration has been processed and accepted, your information will be shared with your county elections official. You will be eligible to vote in local, county, statewide and federal elections. 

  22. Where is my nearest DMV field office?

    You can search for your nearest field office at www.dmv.ca.gov. There is a Field Office Finder option on the front of the homepage.