Who can pre-register to vote?
You can pre-register to vote in California if you are 16 or 17 years old and meet the following requirements:
- A United States citizen and a resident of California,
- Not currently serving a state or federal prison term for the conviction of a felony(for more information please see the Secretary of State’s Voting Rights: Persons with a Criminal History), and
- Not currently found mentally incompetent to vote by a court (for more information,please see Voting Rights: Persons Subject to Conservatorship).
How do I pre-register? Can I do it online?
To pre-register to vote you must complete a voter registration application online or on paper.
When you pre-register online, the system will search the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) database for your California driver license or identification card number, date of birth, and last four digits of your social security number. If your information is found and you authorize elections officials’ use of your DMV signature, an electronic image of your DMV signature will be added to your voter pre-registration application after you click “submit” at the end of the online application. If there is no signature on file with DMV, all of your information will be transmitted to your county elections office; you will just need to click “print,” sign the paper application, and mail it. You will be sent confirmation when your voter pre-registration application is approved or when more information is needed to confirm your eligibility.
You can also pick up an application at your county elections office, any DMV office, and many post offices, public libraries, and government offices. High schools are also provided with applications that are available to students. To have a paper application mailed to you, call your county elections office or the Secretary of State’s toll-free voter hotline at (800) 345-VOTE.
Can I pre-register to vote when I apply for a California driver license or California identification card at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)?
Yes. Voter pre-registration is available to all eligible 16-and 17-year old Californians when applying for a driver license or identification card or changing their address with the DMV. If you indicate that you are eligible to pre-register to vote during your DMV transaction and you do not opt out of voter registration, your voter information is transmitted securely and electronically to the California Secretary of State. Once your eligibility is determined and you turn 18 years old, you will automatically be registered to vote.
Do I need a California driver license or California identification card to apply online? What happens if the Department of Motor Vehicles does not have my signature on file when I try to submit an application online?
All Californians who are eligible to pre-register to vote may fill out a voter registration application through the Secretary of State’s website. California military and overseas voters may also use the Secretary of State’s website to fill out a voter pre-registration application. If you do not have a California driver license or identification card number, but you enter your other information, the website will create a pre-filled voter registration application for you to print, sign, and mail. All of your information will be sent directly to your county elections office so that when your signed application arrives in the mail, the county elections staff will simply add your signature to your voter pre-registration record.
Can an iPad, tablet, or smartphone be used to fill out California’s online voter registration application?
Are pre-registration voter registration applications available in languages other than English?
The California Secretary of State’s online application is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese.
What happens after I pre-register to vote?
After you pre-register to vote you will receive a postcard confirmation notifying you that your application was received and processed.
What should I do if I have moved? Am I required to re-register?
Your voter pre-registration record should always reflect your current residence. If you move, you should update your pre-registration by visiting registertovote.ca.gov and noting your change of address on the registration form. However, if you have only moved from your home temporarily, you can continue to use your permanent residence where you were pre-registered to vote.
What happens when I turn 18?
When you turn 18 years old, the county elections office will mail a confirmation postcard to you stating that your voter registration is now active. At the time of the next election, your county elections official will automatically mail your election related materials to your registered address. If your confirmation postcard is returned undeliverable, possibly because you have moved, the county elections office may inactivate your record until a new Voter Registration Application is submitted.
If I have problems pre-registering to vote or have additional questions who should I contact?
Call the Secretary of State’s toll-free voter hotline at (800) 345-VOTE (8683) or contact your county elections office, which is where your voter registration record is maintained.