Eligibility Requirements

You can register to vote and vote if you are:

  • A United States citizen and a resident of California,
  • 18 years old or older on Election Day,
  • Not currently serving a state or federal prison term for the conviction of a felony, and
  • Not currently found mentally incompetent to vote by a court (for more information, please see Voting Rights: Persons Subject to Conservatorship).

Persons with a prior felony conviction who can register to vote:

  • In local detention facility:
    • serving a misdemeanor sentence (a misdemeanor never affects your right to vote)
    • Because jail time is a condition of probation (misdemeanor or felony)
    • Serving a felony jail sentence
    • Awaiting trial
  • On parole
  • On probation
  • On mandatory supervision
  • On post-release community supervision
  • On federal supervised release
  • A person with a juvenile wardship adjudication

Persons with a current felony conviction who cannot register and vote:

Currently serving a state or federal prison term for the conviction of a felony in:

  • State prison
  • Federal prison
  • A local detention facility*

NOTE: Once you have finished serving your term, your right to vote is restored; however, you must register online at RegisterToVote.ca.gov or by filling out a paper voter registration card.

*California Penal Code section 2910 allows the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to make agreements with local governments to house felons in local detention facilities. A person serving a state prison sentence who is housed in a local detention facility under these circumstances is not allowed to register and vote. Additionally, a person in a local detention facility who is awaiting transfer to a state or federal prison following a felony conviction is not allowed to register and vote. 

Voting Rights: Persons with a Prior Felony Conviction


If you are unsure of what type of sentence you are serving, ask staff at your correctional facility.

How to Register to Vote

Please use this tool to determine your eligibility: Restore your vote

You may request a voter registration card from the Secretary of State or your county elections office.  If you are in jail and you are eligible to vote, you are entitled to receive a voter registration card.

You may also apply to register to vote on the Secretary of State’s website RegisterToVote.ca.gov. Your voter registration application must be received or postmarked at least fifteen (15) days before Election Day to be eligible to vote in that election.  In elections conducted by your county elections official, you can “conditionally” register and vote provisionally at your county elections office or polling location after the 15-day voter registration deadline. For more information please go to the Secretary of State’s webpage on same day voter registration and voting (https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voter-registration/same-day-reg/) or contact your county elections official. 

Voter registration cards and voting materials are available in English, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese.   Voter registration cards are, available at most public libraries and government offices. See the attached list for state and local elections office contact information.

Vote by Mail

If you are already registered to vote at your current home address, you may request a vote-by-mail ballot application by contacting your county elections office. Once you receive your vote-by-mail ballot application, you must complete and return it to your county elections office at least seven (7) days before Election Day.

If you are not registered to vote at your current home address, you may register or re-register to vote and request a vote-by-mail ballot on the Secretary of State’s website RegisterToVote.ca.gov.

Release from Custody

If you requested a vote-by-mail ballot but are released from custody before you receive your ballot, you can still vote. Just go to the polling place for your home address or any polling place in the county where you are registered and vote a provisional ballot.

If you change your name, home address, mailing address, or party preference you must complete a new voter registration card.


For more information, contact your county elections office or the California Secretary of State:

California County Elections Officials


California Secretary of State
Elections Division

1500 11th Street, 5th Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814
Email Elections Division

Voter Hotlines