How to Register to Vote in California?
Voting allows the commoners to choose their representative in the government and a path to express their opinion in a democratic nation. It gives them a chance to select a leader for tomorrow who will lead them and implement policies for their benefit. It is the fundamental right of every and every citizen to cast their vote and choose their representative.
Voter eligibility in California
The following are the prerequisites to be able to cast a vote in California
- Must be a U.S. citizen
- Must be a California resident
- Must be 18 years or older on the day of the election
- Should not be judged mentally incompetent by the court.
- Currently, it should not be in prison or on parole for a felony
- Exception: Citizens serving specific legal offense
- Felony convictions having their civil rights restored
How to register to vote in California
An applicant, who meets the voter requirements mentioned above, can register to vote by submitting a voter application online or by mail. Registration can also be done at a Department of Motor Vehicles office while applying for a driver's license or registering a vehicle. The last day to register is 15 days before the upcoming election. The application must be time-stamped by midnight of the last day of registration. On failing to meet the deadline, the request will be processed, but the applicant can only vote for the next upcoming election. The application has to be accepted by the local election official.
Online registration: The California online voter registration website can be used to register online and submit an application. A series of questions need to be answered along with providing personal information including
- Date of birth
- California driver’s license number
- Social Security number
The system checks with the California DMV to ensure that the applicant signature is on the file and it is added to the application. If the name is not on the record, the applicant information will be sent to the local county elections board. The online application can be printed, signed and mailed to the address provided in the form.
Register by mail: If an applicant wants to register to vote by mail, the applicant can print the National Mail Voter Registration Form which is available online. The applicant can also pick up the form from a local DMV, county elections office, or request one by calling voter hotline. Voter enrollment applications are also available at post offices, public libraries, and other government offices.
The applicant is required to complete the application and mail it to the address provided in the application form along with
- California driver’s license; or
- Identification card number; or
- Four digits of the social security number
If the applicant doesn't have any of the numbers mentioned above, the election officials will assign a voters identification number.
Military, overseas and out of state voter registration in California
California military and foreign residents: An active duty military member and dependent and spouse, or a California citizen currently residing overseas can enroll to vote and apply for an absentee ballot using the Voter Registration and Absentee Ballot Request Federal Post Card and mail it to the local county elections board. Hotline number can also be called an application form requested.
Out of station residents: can register to vote using the Voter Registration and Absentee Ballot Request Federal Post Card and mail it to the local county elections board. They can also call the hotline and request to mail an application form. College students living away from home can register to vote at the address used while away at school or the home address, but not both.
Voting is a fundamental right of every citizen. It gives them an opportunity to choose a leader for tomorrow. A nation’s political foundation is built with the help of voting and hence, every vote matters.