Elections 2018


Primary Election Date: June 5, 2018

Voter Registration Deadline: May 21, 2018

General Election Date: November 6, 2018
Voter Registration Deadline: October 22, 2018

Election Day Information

Polling Place Hours

Election Day voting hours are from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at all polling places statewide.

Polling Place Location

You can find your polling place by using the State of California’s online Find Your Polling Place service. You may also find your polling place location on your sample ballot. For additional information and/or to confirm your polling place location please contact your County Elections Office.

Participating in a Primary

The State of California conducts semi-closed primaries for the Presidential Primary. The Republican Party conducts closed primaries. You must be registered with the Republican Party in order to participate in its Presidential Primary. The Democratic Party, the American Independent Party, and the Libertarian Party will allow affiliated and independent voters participate in their Presidential Party. For congressional and state offices, the State of California conducts a top-two primary. All candidates, regardless of party affiliation, run on the same primary ballot. The top-two candidates will participate in the general election, again regardless of party affiliation.

Sample Ballot

Sample Ballots may vary by county. You should contact your County Elections Office for more information on your sample ballot. The State of California will also mail all registered voters a Sample Ballot prior to Election Day.

Time Off to Vote

The State of California requires private and public employers give employees time off to vote, unless the employee has two hours of nonworking time available to vote. Employees must give proper notice to their employer.

Provisional Voting

You may be asked to vote a provisional ballot at the polls due to one of the following reasons:
  • Your name is not on the official roster of voters and the election officer cannot verify your voting eligibility on Election Day. The elections official's office will then check the registration records. If further research determines that you are eligible to vote in the election, the provisional ballot will be counted.
  • You have moved within the county, but did not re-register to vote. The elections official will verify your prior registration before the provisional ballot will be counted. Your registration will then be updated with your current address.
  • Records indicate that you requested an absentee ballot and you fail to turn in the absentee ballot at the polls on Election Day. The election official's office will check the records, and if you did not vote an absentee ballot, your provisional ballot will be counted.
  • You are a first-time federal election voter in the county and were unable to provide the required proof of identification. The elections official's office will verify your eligibility to vote by comparing the signature on your registration with the signature on the provisional ballot envelope.
After Election Day you can verify the status of your provisional ballot by accessing the State of California’s online Check Status of Your Ballot service.

ID Requirements for Voting

In most cases, California voters are not required to show identification at their polling place. However, the State of California recommends all first-time voters to bring identification to their polling place. You may be asked to present identification if you mailed your voter registration application and did not include your driver's license number, a California identification number, or the last four digits of your Social Security number.

Acceptable forms of identification include:
  • A copy of a recent utility bill
  • The sample ballot your received from your county elections office
  • A United States passport
  • A California DMV-issued driver’s license or identification card

For more information on identification to use when you vote for the first time check the complete list or call the Secretary of State's toll-free voter hotline at (800) 345-VOTE (8683).

Voter Registration & Verification

Eligibility to Register to Vote

To register to vote, you must:
  • Be a United States citizen
  • Be a resident of California
  • Be at least 18 years of age (or will be by the date of the next election)
  • Not be in prison or on parole for conviction of a felony
  • Not have been judged by a court to be mentally incompetent to register and vote

Registering to Vote

All California voters must be registered to vote at least 15 days before Election Day (See deadlines above.) Once you register, you may vote in all state and local elections. You will not need to register to vote again unless you move to a new address, change your name, or your political preference.

You may register online by using the State of California’s Online Voter Registration service or you may find a voter registration application at any California Department of Motor Vehicles office, most post offices, public libraries, government offices, or you may request one from your county elections office.

To receive a voter registration application by mail from the Secretary of State, call the toll-free voter hotline at (800) 345-VOTE

ID Requirements for Voter Registration

To register to vote in California you will have to provide your California driver's license number or identification card number or the last four digits of your Social Security Number (SSN). If you do not include this information you will be required to provide identification when you vote. See section above on voter identification requirements for more information.

If you register to vote by mail and submit a driver's license number that the state or local elections official can match with an existing state identification record, then you will not be required to provide identification when you vote.

Verify Registration

You may look up your voter registration status using the State of California’s Check Status of Your Registration service. You may also contact your county’s election officials to find and/or confirm your registration status.



All voters in the State of California have the option of voting by mail.

If you apply by mail, your application must be received no later than 7 days before Election Day. Any time after 7 days, you will need to apply in person at your county elections office to get a vote-by-mail ballot for that election.

On Election Day you may return a Vote-by-Mail ballot at any polling place in your county or the county elections office. All 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. Postmarked 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 3 days after Election Day.

Multilingual Services

The Secretary of State offers all voter information and assistance in English and in Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese.

Certain jurisdictions also have a legal obligation to provide language assistance to voters that rely on languages other than English. Those jurisdictions are determined based on the communities/municipalities in the 2010 census which had over 10,000 residents which relied on a single minority language and did not speak or read English very well.     
 For a complete list of counties required to provide oral assistance and bilingual election materials in the following language click here. 

If you are a voter that needs assistance in a language other than English, you may receive assistance from anyone of your choice with the exception of your employer, an agency of your employer and/or an official of your union. You may also receive assistance at the polling place from two poll workers from opposite political parties.

For additional information on minority language assistance click here. 

Voters with Special Needs

Before each election, every registered voter is notified whether their polling place is accessible. This notification comes on the sample ballot mailed to each voter by their county elections official. Election officials are required, to the extent possible; ensure that polling places are accessible to voters with disabilities. For further information on services for voters with disabilities please visit the Secretary of State’s section on Voters with Disabilities.

Military and Overseas Voting

Eligibility for military/overseas absentee voting

To be eligible for military/overseas absentee voting you must be:
  • A member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard;  
  • A member of the Merchant Marine, Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service, or the Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States;  
  • A member of the National Guard on activated status. 

Requesting an absentee ballot

 If you are a military/overseas voter you should fill out and file your FPCA (Federal Postcard Application) as soon as possible but no later than the 11th day before election.  The Federal Postcard Application is available to: 
  • active duty military, spouses, and dependents (voting from outside the home California county)  
  • U. S. Citizens (nonmilitary) temporarily overseas  away from the home California county  
  • U. S. Citizens (nonmilitary) permanently overseas away from the (previous) home California county

Your ballot must be received by your county registrar by Election Day. Mailed ballots must be postmarked by November 8, 2016 and received by the third day after Election Day.

Additional military/overseas absentee voting information

For further information you may visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program site for California by clicking here or by contacting the Overseas Voting Foundation by clicking here or dialing +1(202) 470-2480

California Secretary of State & County Election Officials Contact Information

Elections Divisions of the Secretary of State

1500 11th Street, 5th Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814
Main Number: (916) 657-2166
TTY/TDD: (800) 833-8683
Voter Hotline: (800) 345-VOTE (8683)
Elections Division Fax: (916) 653-3214

For county list and contact information click here.

Contact a NALEO Educational Fund VE-Y-VOTA hotline representative at 888-839-8682 if you need assistance on or prior to Election Day.