VoteCal is California’s centralized voter registration database that provides benefits to voters and election officials.
Publicly Available Website
Voters can access certain public portions of VoteCal to:
- Apply to register to vote or update their voter registration record (https://registertovote.ca.gov)
- Find their polling place (https://voterstatus.sos.ca.gov)
- See if their vote-by-mail or provisional ballot was counted by their county elections official and, if it wasn't, the reason why it wasn't (https://voterstatus.sos.ca.gov)
A Complete Index of Voter Registration Records
VoteCal maintains all of the voter registration information for all voters in all 58 counties.
A Single Place for List Maintenance Functions
"List maintenance" is the process VoteCal uses to ensure their voter registration lists are up to date and accurate. County elections officials use VoteCal to check for duplicate registrations, move a voter's record from one county to another when the voter moves, check registration records to ensure voters have not been convicted of a crime that would preclude them from voting, and much more.
Assist County Officials in Setting Up Elections
VoteCal is used by county elections officials to help set up their elections. This includes placing voters into election precincts, determining which local, state, and congressional districts the voters fall into, keeping track of the political party preferences of each voter, and ensuring voters receive the state voter information guide for statewide elections and sample ballot pamphlets for all elections.
As new functionality is added to the VoteCal system, the Secretary of State provides new and/or updated guidance documents to county elections officials to provide counties with direction and processes to effectively use the VoteCal system.
California law requires county elections officials and the Secretary of State to produce a number of reports, including the Report of Registration that breaks down California's registered voters into various categories, and the Statement of the Vote issued after each state election. All of these public reports and many others are produced through VoteCal.
VoteCal External Interfaces
VoteCal performs many functions, including interacting and exchanging information with many other state and county information systems:
County Election Management Systems (EMS)
County elections officials use their EMSs to register voters and update voter information. This information is fed into VoteCal as close to real-time as possible.
LA County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk is seeking bids to modernize its Election Management System (EMS). See their request for proposal at the following link: https://lavote.net/request-for-proposals
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR)
Voter registration applications and existing voter records are run against the CDCR database. Any applicant who is confirmed to be a felon is not registered to vote and any existing registrant who is confirmed to be a felon has his or her voter registration cancelled.
Here is a more detailed discussion of what will cause a person who has committed a felony to have his or her voter registration application denied or his or her existing registration cancelled.
California Department of Public Health (CDPH)
Voter registration applications and existing voter records are run against the CDPH database. Any applicant who is confirmed to be deceased is not registered to vote and any existing registrant who is confirmed to be deceased has his or her voter registration cancelled.
California Employment Development Department (EDD)
VoteCal exchanges information with the EDD to get national address change information from the United States Postal Service (USPS) for voter registration records. If a voter's address has changed, his or her information will be updated in VoteCal and the voter's registration record and voting history is transferred to the voter's new county.
California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
VoteCal interacts with the DMV for two main reasons:
- Eligible applicants completing a driver license, identification (ID) card or change of address transaction online, by mail or in person at the DMV will be automatically registered to vote by the California Secretary of State, unless they choose to opt out of automatic voter registration. Please visit the Secretary of State’s Motor Voter webpage for more information.
- When a voter applies to register to vote online, the voter has the option of using their signature on file with the DMV to "sign" the application. VoteCal retrieves signatures from the DMV, appends them to the voter's application, and stores them for access by county elections officials.
Help America Vote Act (HAVA) Requirements
VoteCal has been implemented to provide a single, uniform, centralized voter registration database that meets applicable Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 requirements. VoteCal’s many functions improve services to the voters of California by:
- Connecting the Secretary of State and all 58 county elections offices together to improve the voter registration process
- Providing a publicly available website which allows voters to register online
- Providing a single, official statewide database of voter registration information
VoteCal implementation began with five pilot counties (El Dorado, Mendocino, Orange, Sacramento, and Solano) beginning in July 2015. The remaining counties were grouped into a series of “waves”, and monthly wave deployments occurred from October 2015 to February 2016. On September 26, 2016 the SOS declared VoteCal to be the official system of record for voter registration in the State.
Section 303 of HAVA (Public Law 107-22, 107th Congress) sets forth the computerized statewide voter registration list requirements.
- 1. The State shall implement a single, uniform, official, centralized, interactive computerized statewide voter registration list defined, maintained, and administered at the State level.
This computerized list will:
- serve as the single system for storing and managing the official list of registered voters;
- contain the name and registration information of every legally registered voter in the State;
- assign a unique identifier to each legally registered voter in the State;
- provide electronic accessibility to the information contained in the list by any election official in the State;
- allow all voter registration information to be electronically entered into the computerized list by any local election official in the State; and
- serve as the official voter registration list for the conduct of all elections for Federal office in the State.
- 2. The State must perform list maintenance to the computerized list on a regular basis. The state shall coordinate the computerized list with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation regarding felony status and the California Department of Public Health regarding death records. The list maintenance shall be conducted in a manner that ensures that:
- the name of each registered voter appears in the computerized list;
- only voters who are not registered or who are not eligible to vote are removed from the computerized list; and
- duplicate names are eliminated from the computerized list.
- 3. The State shall provide technological security to prevent the unauthorized access to the computerized
- 4. The State shall ensure that voter registration records in the State are accurate and updated regularly through a system of file maintenance and safeguards so eligible voters are not removed in error.
- 5. The State shall verify the voter registration information of applicants. An application for voter registration must include the applicant's current and valid driver license number or the last four digits of the applicant's social security number. If the applicant has not been issued a current and valid driver license number or social security number, the State shall assign the applicant a unique identifying number for voter registration purposes.
- 6. The State shall match information in the database of the computerized list with the database of the motor vehicle authority that has an agreement with the commission of Social Security to verify applicable information.