Qualifications To Register

To register to vote in California, a person must:

  • Be a United States citizen
  • Be a resident of California
  • Be at least 18 years old on Election Day
  • Not be currently serving a state or federal prison term for the conviction of a felony 
  • Not be found mentally incompetent to vote by a court

To pre-register to vote in California, a person must:

  • Be a United States citizen
  • Be a resident of California
  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Not be currently serving a state or federal prison term for the conviction of a felony 
  • Not be found mentally incompetent to vote by a court

Military & Overseas Voters

To register as a military/overseas voter, a person must:

  • Meet the qualifications listed above, and
  • Be in the military or a spouse or dependent of someone in the military or armed services;
  • Be overseas temporarily or by virtue of employment;
  • Be overseas indefinitely.

Access the Secretary of State’s website for Military and Overseas Voters

Address Confidentiality Program

Victims of domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault are eligible to participate in a program administered by the Secretary of State that offers victims anonymity when registering to vote. Click here to learn more.

College Students

A college student should register to vote in the county where they claim permanent residency. A permanent residence address may be the residence where the student lives while at school or at his or her parents’ residence.

New Citizens

Any new citizen who has a swearing in ceremony that takes place after the voter registration deadline is eligible to register and vote at the Registrar of Voters beginning on the 14th day before an election and ending at the close of polls on Election Day. In order to do so they must have established residence in the state of California and show proof of citizenship.

Voting Rights for Those with Criminal Convictions

You can register and vote if you are:

  • In county jail serving a misdemeanor or felony sentence
  • In county jail because jail time is a condition of probation
  • In county jail serving a felony jail sentence
  • In county jail 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

You cannot register or vote if you are:

  • Currently serving a state or federal prison term for the conviction of a felony in:
    • State prison
    • Federal prison
    • County jail or other correctional facility

California Penal Code section 2910 allows the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR) to make agreements with local governments to house felons in a county jail or other correctional facility. A person serving a state prison sentence who is housed in a local jail or other facility under these circumstances is not allowed to register and vote.