skip to main content
Vote In California

Next Statewide Election:
March 3, 2020,
Presidential Primary Election

November 6, 2018, General Election Voter Guide

Introduction to Voting

Ways to Vote

The Start and End of Voting for this Election

Voting starts on October 8, 2018 and ends on Election Day, November 6th.

If you’re already registered to vote before October 8th, you are free to vote starting on that day.

Voting before Election Day

Requesting a Ballot

If you’re registered to always receive your ballot by mail (sometimes called “permanent vote-by-mail” or “permanent absentee” voting), your ballot will be mailed to you after October 8th. If you aren’t signed up to always get your ballot by mail, you can send a request for your ballot to your local elections office. In some counties, everyone gets a ballot by mail automatically.

Also starting October 8th, you can go to your county’s local election office, to an early voting location, or to a Vote Center in your county, during their business hours. There, you can register and vote in-person, or request a ballot to take home.

Returning the Ballot

You can fill out your ballot, place it in its return envelope, seal it up, and sign the outside of the return envelope. Once you do, it’s ready to be turned in. Completed ballots can be returned in multiple ways:

  1. Put your ballot envelope in a free official drop box.
    • No stamps needed if you put the envelope in one of your county’s free drop boxes. Check your county’s instructions for drop-box locations.
  2. Return the envelope via mail.
    • Make sure the envelope either says that the postage is paid, or include enough stamps to make sure it’s delivered. Check with your post office or your local elections office for how many stamps are needed for your envelope. Put it in the mail at least a week before the Election Day to make sure it arrives on time.
  3. Return your ballot to a polling place, Vote Center, or county elections office.
    • You can take your ballot to a Vote Center or county elections office on or before election day, or to a polling place in your county on Election Day.
  4. Give your completed ballot envelope to someone else to turn in for you.
    • In California, you can have anyone you like turn in your ballot for you. Only give your ballot to someone you trust to deliver it, and fill out the place on the ballot envelope giving that person authorization to turn in your ballot.

If you’re having trouble finding one of the locations you can vote at, see the help section below.

Voting on Election Day

  • Polls and vote centers are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 6.
  • Voting ends at 8:00 p.m., but if you are in line before 8:00 p.m., you can still vote.
  • If you’ve been issued a ballot by mail, you can drop it off on Election Day.
  • If you’ve lost, misplaced, or forgotten your ballot, you can be issued a new one.
  • If you’re having trouble finding one of the locations you can vote at, see the help section below.


The Need to Register

The last day to register to vote for this election is October 22, 2018. If you aren’t registered on or before October 22nd, you can still vote, but you must first go to one of your county’s election offices or vote centers in person to register and vote “conditionally.”

If you were registered in a previous election, you might not have to register again, as long as none of your personal information has changed.

Must Re-Register If You Move

Election mail doesn’t forward like other mail. And where you can vote depends on where you live. So, if you move, you must re-register to vote.

Check Your Registration Online

You can go to, or click “My Voter Status” from the main menu above. There, you can check to make sure all of your registration information is up-to-date.

Updating Your Registration Information

If any of your registration information has changed, to submit an update, you just need to fill out a new registration form. You can do so online at RegisterToVote.CA.Gov, or by clicking the “Register to Vote” link on the main menu above.


Voter Bill of Rights

Every voter in California has the following rights:

  1. The right to vote if you are a registered voter. You are eligible to vote if you are:
    • a U.S. citizen living in California
    • at least 18 years old
    • registered where you currently live
    • not currently in state or federal prison or on parole for the conviction of a felony
  2. The right to vote if you are a registered voter even if your name is not on the list. You will vote using a provisional ballot. Your vote will be counted if elections officials determine that you are eligible to vote.
  3. The right to vote if you are still in line when the polls close.
  4. The right to cast a secret ballot without anyone bothering you or telling you how to vote.
  5. The right to get a new ballot if you have made a mistake, if you have not already cast your ballot. You can:
    • Ask an elections official at a polling place for a new ballot,
    • Exchange your vote-by-mail ballot for a new one at an elections office or at your polling place, or
    • Vote using a provisional ballot.
  6. The right to get help casting your ballot from anyone you choose, except from your employer or union representative.
  7. The right to drop off your completed vote-by-mail ballot at any polling place in California.
  8. The right to get election materials in a language other than English if enough people in your voting precinct speak that language.
  9. The right to ask questions to elections officials about election procedures and watch the election process. If the person you ask cannot answer your questions, they must send you to the right person for an answer. If you are disruptive, they can stop answering you.
  10. The right to report any illegal or fraudulent election activity to an elections official or the Secretary of State’s office.


Election Offices

The California Secretary of State’s Office is responsible for statewide elections. The office directs statewide registration and voting systems management. The office also investigates fraud and voter suppression.

Each of California’s 58 counties also have their own election offices, which handle most of the duties for holding elections, including registering voters, mailing materials, providing polling places, and counting ballots.

Contacting the Secretary of State

Elections Contact

Elections Division
1500 11th Street, 5th Floor
Sacramento CA 95814
Phone: (916) 657-2166
Fax:(916) 653-3214
Monday through Friday
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 
(excluding state holidays

Email Elections Division Staff

Voter Hotlines

  • (800) 345-VOTE (8683) - English
  • (800) 232-VOTA (8682) - español / Spanish
  • (800) 339-2857 - 中文 / Chinese
  • (888) 345-2692 - हिन्दी / Hindi
  • (800) 339-2865 - 日本語 / Japanese
  • (888) 345-4917 - ខ្មែរ / Khmer
  • (866) 575-1558 - 한국어 / Korean
  • (800) 339-2957 - Tagalog
  • (855) 345-3933 - ภาษาไทย / Thai
  • (800) 339-8163 - Việt ngữ / Vietnamese
    (800) 833-8683 - TTY/TDD

Finding Your Local Elections Office

The Secretary of State’s website also contains a listing of contact information for each of the 58 local elections offices.


Getting Help

Finding your Polling Place or Ballot Drop Box

Click here to go to Secretary of State's Website for finding early voting and Vote-by-Mail Drop Off locations.

Click here to go to Secretary of State's Website for finding your polling place.

Anyone can help you fill out a ballot or return your ballot.

You can take up to two people into the voting booth with you. You can ask people for their opinions, you can have them hold the pen for you, and you can bring whatever resource documents you need with you.

If voting from home, you can give your completed ballot to anyone you choose to return it for you.

Your local elections office can answer questions, and so can pollworkers and the California Secretary of State.

Whether you’re in-person, or contacting people over the phone, election officials are available to answer any questions you have.

You can even ask questions via email, or find the California Secretary of State on Facebook or Twitter

The Secretary of State’s Voter Hotline is available at (800) 345-VOTE (8683)

Other agencies and non-profits are there to help.


This website and its contents are maintained by the Voter Access Project -