CALIFORNIA

VOTING GUIDE

Including Student Information

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+ Registration Deadlines and Election Dates

  • Voter Registration Deadline: 15 days before Election Day, or in most elections, through Conditional Registration (same day registration) at county elections official offices.
  • Note: Though already passed into law, automated voter registration is not scheduled to be implemented until April 2018.
  • Primary Election Registration Deadline: May 21, 2018, unless registering in person at county elections offices.
  • Primary Election: June 5, 2018
  • General Election Registration Deadline: October 22, 2018, unless registering in person at county elections offices.
  • General Election: November 6, 2018

+ Official Election Websites

+ Register at School or Home

Students have a choice about where to register to vote.

Students attending college may register at their campus address or choose to remain registered or register at their permanent or home address.

You may only be registered and vote in one location.

+ What Type of ID Do I Need to Register?

California’s voter registration form asks for your California driver’s license or ID number, or the last four digits of your Social Security Number. Be sure to provide one of these numbers if you have it.

+ What Type of ID Do I Need to Vote?

You do not need to provide an ID to vote early or on Election Day in California. The only exception is for first-time voters who registered by mail or during a voter registration drive and failed to provide a California driver’s license number, state ID number, or the last 4 digits of their Social Security Number.

+ Where Do I Vote?

Make a plan. Look up your voting site and hours at: www.sos.ca.gov/elections/polling-place

+ How Can I Vote?

By Mail

  • Any registered voter may vote by mail in California without an excuse.
  • Applications for a mail-in ballot sent by mail must be received by the county election official no later than seven days before the election, unless the voter lives in Madera, Napa, Nevada, Sacramento, or San Mateo counties (see below).
    • Any time after that, a voter will need to apply in person at their county election office to receive a vote-by-mail ballot for that election.
  • Completed vote-by-mail ballots must be returned in person or postmarked before the close of polls on Election Day.
  • Completed vote-by-mail ballots may be mailed to a county election official, returned in person to a polling place or the office of a county election official, or dropped into one of the county’s ballot drop boxes.
  • Five counties in California, Madera, Napa, Nevada, Sacramento, and San Mateo, are implementing a new law in 2018 where registered voters will be automatically mailed a ballot before Election Day.

Early In-person

  • Any registered voter may vote by mail in California without an excuse.
  • Early voting begins 29 days before an election
  • Some counties allow voters to vote early in person at select locations. Check with your County Clerk’s office for specific locations and times at: www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voting-resources/county-elections-offices

Election Day

  • Voting sites will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day. If you are in line by the closing time then you will be allowed to vote.

+ Common Questions/Concerns

Registering to Vote Does Not Affect Your:

  • Federal Financial Aid
    • Where you register to vote will not affect federal financial aid such as Pell Grants, Perkins or Stafford loans, or your dependency status for FAFSA
  • Status as a Dependent on Your Parents’ Taxes
    • Being registered to vote at a different address from your parents does not prevent them from claiming you as a dependent on their taxes
  • Tuition Status
    • Being deemed out-of-state for tuition purposes does not prevent you from choosing to register to vote in your campus community

Will registering to vote in California affect my driver’s license or car registration?

  • Registering to vote in California does not necessarily change your driver’s license and motor vehicle registration. However, as a full–time student in California, you may have to make these changes regardless of whether you register to vote in California. For more information, you may wish to contact the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

FELN intends that the information contained herein is used only as a general guide. This document should not be used as a substitute for consultation with a licensed California legal professional.

Last updated February 2018