Voter Bill of Rights

You have the following rights:

  • 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
    • registered where you currently live
    • at least 18 years old
    • not in prison or on parole for a felony
  • 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. 
  • The right to vote if you are still in line when the polls close.
  • The right to cast a secret ballot without anyone bothering you or telling you how to vote.
  • 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; or
    • 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, if you do not have your original vote-by-mail ballot.
  • The right to get help casting your ballot from anyone you choose, except from your employer or union representative.
  • The right to drop off your completed vote-by-mail ballot at any polling place in the county where you are registered to vote.
  • The right to get election materials in a language other than English if enough people in your voting precinct speak that language.
  • 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.
  • The right to report any illegal or fraudulent election activity to an elections official or the Secretary of State’s office.

 

Eligibility Requirements

You can register to vote and vote if you are:

  • A United States citizen;
  • A resident of California;
  • At least 18 years of age or older on or before the next Election Day;
  • Not currently imprisoned or on parole for the conviction of a felony; and
  • Not found mentally incompetent by a court of law.

You may be eligible to register and vote:

  • In county jail serving a misdemeanor sentence. A misdemeanor never affects your right to vote.
  • In county jail because jail time is a condition of probation.
  • On probation.
  • On mandatory supervision.
  • On post-release community supervision.
  • Done with parole. Your right to vote is automatically restored when you complete your parole. You just need to fill out a voter registration application either online at RegisterToVote.ca.gov or using a paper voter registration card.

Not eligible to register and vote:

  • Currently imprisoned:
    • In state prison.
    • In county jail serving a state prison sentence.
  • Currently on parole.

Criminal Justice Realignment Act

In 2011, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed the Criminal Justice Realignment Act (Realignment). Under Penal Code section 1170(h), low-level felons are sentenced to county jail and/or supervision by the county probation department instead of state prison. Realignment has caused some confusion about voting rights among people who have criminal convictions. The information above provides an explanation of who is eligible and who is not eligible to register to vote in California.

California Penal Code section 2910 allows the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR) to make agreements with local governments to house felons in a county jail or other correctional facility. For more information, please visit CDCR’s website. If you have questions about your voting rights, please contact your parole or county probation office.

Learn More

Released from Custody

If you requested a vote-by-mail ballot but are released from custody before you receive your ballot, you can still vote. Just go to the polling place for your home address or any polling place in the county where you are registered and vote a provisional ballot. If you change your name, home address, mailing address, or party preference, you must complete a new voter registration card. Voter registration cards are available at most public libraries and government offices. Additionally, you may apply to register to vote online.

register to vote

Voter Assistance


Phone Number Language
(510) 272-6973 English
(510) 208-9665 中文
(510) 272-6975 Español
(510) 272-6952 Tagalog
(510) 272-6956 Tiếng Việt
(510) 272-5035 हिंदी
(510) 272-5035 ਪੰਜਾਬੀ
(510) 272-5036 日本語
(510) 272-5038 ខ្មែរ
(510) 272-5037 한국어