Register to Vote
In California, the deadline to register to vote for any election is 15 days before Election Day, so please register early!
The California Secretary of State is now offering Where’s My Ballot?—a new way for voters to track and receive notiﬁcations on the status of their vote-by-mail ballot.
A voter who has signed up will receive notices via email, text, or voice message from the county elections official regarding the status of the voter’s vote-by-mail ballot including:
- When the ballot has been delivered
- The date that the voter’s ballot is expected to be delivered to the voter
- If the voter’s ballot is returned as undeliverable to the county elections official by the USPS
- When the voter’s completed ballot has been received by the county
- Whether the voter’s completed ballot has been accepted or a reason why the ballot could not be accepted and instructions of steps the voter can take in order to have the ballot accepted
The deadline for the voter to return his or her ballot if the county has not received a voter’s completed ballot by specified dates as determined by the county elections official
Voting By Mail in California
You may return your voted ballot by:
- mailing it to your county elections official;
- Vote-by-mail ballots that are mailed 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 not sure your vote-by-mail ballot will arrive in time if mailed, bring it to any polling place in the state between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.
- returning it in person to a polling place or the office of your county elections official;
- Vote-by-mail ballots that are personally delivered must be delivered no later than the close of polls at 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.
- dropping your ballot into one of your county’s ballot drop boxes; or
- Vote-by-mail ballots that are personally delivered to a ballot drop-off location must be delivered no later than the close of polls at 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.
- authorizing someone to return the ballot on your behalf.
- 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.
When your vote-by-mail ballot is received by your county elections official, your signature on the return envelope will be compared to the signature on your voter registration card to ensure they match. To preserve the secrecy of your ballot, the ballot will then be separated from the envelope, and then it will be tallied.
The Right to Vote
The right to vote wasn’t just handed to Americans. They had to fight for it.
When did you become eligible to vote?
- 1788 – Constitution Ratified
- 1870- 15th Amendment – Right to vote shall not be denied on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
- 1920 – 19th Amendment – Right to vote shall not be denied because of gender.
- 1965 – Voting Rights Act of 1965 – Enacted to enforce the 15th Amendment.
- 1971 – 26th Amendment – Voting age nationally established as age 18.