How to vote in California
Election day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020. All of California’s registered voters will be mailed a ballot no later than 29 days prior to Election Day. Early voting and in-person voting locations will also be available to voters.
Who can vote
To register in California you must:
- be a United States citizen
- be a resident of California
- be at least 18 years old or older on Election Day
- not be currently in state or federal prison or on parole for the conviction of a felony
- not be currently found to be mentally incompetent to vote by a court
- *find more information on voting rights restoration here
Vote in person
Vote on election day
All registered voters in California will receive a ballot by mail. However, in-person voting locations will be available to voters. Polling locations may be found online by visiting the Secretary of State’s My Voter Status tool.
California voters can also vote before Election Day. The early voting period runs from Monday, October 5, 2020 to Monday, November 2, 2020, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live. Early voting and vote-by-mail ballot drop off locations may be found on the Secretary of State's Early Voting website.
What to bring
- If you've voted in California before, you don't need to show ID.
- If you're a first-time voter who registered by mail, and didn't include your driver's license number, California ID number, or the last 4 digits of your Social Security number on your registration, you may be asked to provide ID when you vote. Acceptable forms include: copy of a recent utility bill, the sample ballot booklet you received from your county elections office or another document sent to you by a government agency, a US passport, driver license, official state identification card, or student identification card showing your name and photograph.
- Voters without ID: If you are unable to provide ID, you will be able to vote a provisional ballot.
Vote by mail
All registered voters will be sent a vote-by-mail ballot for the November 3, 2020 General Election. Registered voters do not have to apply for a vote-by-mail ballot for this election.
- Fill out your ballot
- After you have voted, insert your ballot in the envelope provided, making sure you complete all required information on the envelope.
- You may return your voted ballot by mail, in person, or to a drop boxIf you are returning your ballot by mail, it must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received by your county elections office no later than 17 days after Election Day.If you are returning your ballot in person or dropping it in a drop box, it must be delivered no later than the close of polls at 8:00 p.m. on November 3rd.Anyone may return your ballot for you, as long as they do not get paid on a per ballot basis. In order for your ballot to be counted, you must fill out the authorization section found on the outside of your ballot envelope.
See what's on the ballot
Learn more about what will be on your ballot by visiting the Ballotpedia.
Get step-by-step help
TurboVote can help you start the absentee/mail-in ballot request process, send you election reminders, and more. If you’d like more help planning how to vote, we can walk you through the process!
Election Day registration
California does offer registration on Election Day.
Military and overseas voters
Active-duty military, their families, and overseas citizens can register to vote and request their absentee ballot using the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). To do so:
- Fill out the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), or download a copy. Your election official may have questions, so please provide an email address or phone number where they can reach you.
- Send the application to your election official.
- It is never too early to submit an FPCA! Please do so as soon as possible. You can look up recommended mailing dates by country and region.
- Please fill out and send back your ballot as soon as you receive it. Following are recommended return dates to make sure your ballot arrives at your election office on time:35 days before election - On a ship at sea: September 28, 202030 days before election - Outside of the US: October 2, 202011 days before the election - Stateside: October 23, 2020
- States begin mailing absentee ballots at least 45 days before Election Day. If you haven't received your ballot by 30 days before Election Day, contact your local election office.
If after submitting your FPCA, your ballot does not arrive, contact your election official first. Then:
- You can still vote using the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). Print, sign, and mail your FWAB to your local election office.
- If you mail a FWAB and then receive your regular absentee ballot, you should complete and mail your absentee ballot also. Election officials will ensure that only one ballot is counted.
Check your voter registration status
You can look up your voter registration record and verify that your information is correct using California's voter registration lookup tool.
Dates and deadlines
- Election day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020.
- The deadline to register online to vote is Monday, October 19, 2020.
- The deadline for registering by mail to vote is (postmarked by) Monday, October 19, 2020.
- The deadline to register in person to vote is Tuesday, November 3, 2020. Conditional voter registration is a safety net for Californians who miss the deadline to register to vote or update their voter registration information. Voters can use the conditional voter registration process from the day after the deadline all the way through Election Day. Eligible citizens can go to their county election office, polling place, or vote center to register and vote conditionally. These ballots will be processed once the county elections office has completed the voter registration verification process.
- All registered voters will automatically be mailed a vote-by-mail ballot for the November 3, 2020, General Election.
- The early voting period runs from Monday, October 5, 2020 to Monday, November 2, 2020, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live.
- You can also register and vote on Election Day.
Election contact information for California
Secretary of State
1500 11th Street, 5th Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814