California does not require ID to vote. You must verify your identity when you register to vote. 

California is a vote-by-mail state. Your ballot will automatically be sent to the address where you are registered to vote. You also have the option vote in person. 

Voter Registration in California

California Voter Eligibility Requirements

You must register before you can vote in California.

You are eligible to vote in California if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • You are a citizen of the United States. (Note: Some municipalities allow non-citizen residents to vote in school board elections.) 
  • You a resident of California.
  • You are at least 18 years of age on Election Day. 

You cannot register to vote in California if:

  • You have been convicted of a felony and your civil rights have not been restored.
  • You have been declared incapacitated by a court of law.

California Voter Registration ID Requirements

To register to vote:

  • You must provide your driver’s license number or state ID card number if you have one.
  • If you do not have either of these IDs, you can use the last 4 digits of your Social Security number (SSN).
  • If you do not have a Social Security number, then leave that space blank on your registration form.

If you don’t provide any of these numbers or the state can’t match the number you provide to official records, you will have to show an accepted form of ID the first time you vote.

You can use any unexpired photo ID or a non-photo document with your name and address.

Common examples include:

  • California driver’s license
  • California state ID card
  • US passport or passport card
  • Student ID
  • Military identification
  • Health club ID card 
  • Insurance card 
  • Public housing or assistance card 
  • Utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document (dated after November 2022)
  • Sample ballot or election document (dated for the specific election)
  • Voter notification card
  • Vehicle registration
  • Residential lease or rental contract

California ID Requirements for Voting In Person

You do not need to show ID when you vote in California. You must verify your identity when you register to vote. 

If you didn’t verify your identity when you registered, you need to provide ID the first time you vote for President or Congress.

California ID Requirements for Voting By Mail

California automatically sends mail ballots to all registered voters. You do not need to request your ballot, and no excuse is required to vote by mail.

If you didn’t verify your identity when you registered, you need to provide ID the first time you vote for President or Congress. You will be notified if you need to provide ID with your ballot.

Note that the signature on your ballot must match your signature on file with the state.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, California has same-day voter registration. Same-day registration allows you to register and vote in person on the same day. You can also use it to update your voter registration information.

The deadline to register to vote in California is 15 days before Election Day. If this registration deadline has passed, same-day registration (called “conditional registration”) is available in California during early voting and on Election Day.

You can check your voter information using this form. If you cannot find your information or something is incorrect, contact your county’s elections office.

We recommend that you check your voter information before each election’s voter registration deadline. This will give you time to submit a new registration if your information is missing or incorrect.  

You can also use California’s Secretary of State website to check your registration and find your polling location.

Each state has its own laws about whether citizens with previous criminal convictions can vote.

To check your eligibility to register to vote in California use Restore Your Vote

You can also learn more by reading this blog post: Can People Convicted of a Felony Vote in the United States?

College students are allowed to vote using their California school residence address. You can decide if you prefer to register in your home state or in California if you attend school there. You may only be registered and vote in one location.

You must be notified if your ballot is missing your signature or if the signature on it does not match your signature in state records.

After you are notified about a missing or mismatched signature, you must complete and return a Signature Verification Statement form to your county’s elections office. The deadline to submit your verification form is no later than 5:00 pm two days before the election is certified.

You can also correct a missing signature at voting sites in your county before the polls close on Election Day.


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