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Frequently Asked Questions About Voter Registration

Frequently Asked Questions About Voter Registration

Who can register to vote?

Eligibility Requirements

You can register to vote and vote if you are:

  • A United States citizen and a resident of California,
  • 18 years old or older on Election Day,
  • Not currently in state or federal prison, and
  • Not currently found mentally incompetent to vote by a court (for more information, please see Voting Rights: Persons Subject to Conservatorship).

Persons with a criminal history who
can register to vote:

  • In county jail:
    • serving a misdemeanor sentence (a misdemeanor never affects your right to vote)
    • Because jail time is a condition of probation (misdemeanor or felony)
    • Serving a felony jail sentence
    • Awaiting trial
  • On probation or parole
  • On mandatory supervision
  • On post-release community supervision
  • On federal supervised release
  • A person with a juvenile wardship adjudication

Persons with a criminal history who
cannot register and vote:

  • Currently imprisoned in:
    • State prison
    • Federal prison
  • Currently serving a state prison felony sentence in a county jail or other correctional facility*
  • Currently in county jail awaiting transfer to a state or federal prison for a felony conviction
  • Currently in county jail for a parole violation
When can I register to vote?

There is no waiting period. You may register or re-register to vote at anytime. To be eligible to vote in an election, you must have registered 15 days before Election Day.

How can I get a form to register to vote?
  • Go online by using the California Online Voter Registration System.
  • Mail a completed voter registration form, which can be obtained by picking up a voter registration form at most government buildings.
  • In person at one of the RR/CC offices or most government buildings.
  • Call (800) 481-VOTE, (800) 815-2666 Option 2.

For more information, see Registration Info

I registered at a Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) office. Why does the County say I'm not registered?

A number of citizens who thought they had registered at DMV offices are not actually registered. Although they checked the box on the DMV form indicating they wanted to register to vote, many forgot to complete the attached voter registration form. A voter registration form must be completed and signed in order to become a registered voter.

What if I just moved and did not re-register? Will I be eligible to vote?

If you were previously registered in Los Angeles County and have not re-registered since you moved within the County's borders, you can vote at the polling place for your new address. You will be asked to vote a provisional ballot and provide your new address and your previous address on the provisional ballot envelope.

I would like to register and vote, but I am a public figure. Will my address be made public?

Under current state law, voter registration information is a matter of public record. Public access to specific voter information, including home address and telephone number, however, is restricted. Any person may have their residence address, telephone number and email address declared confidential upon order of the Superior Court, or upon presentation of certification that the person is a participant in the Secretary of State's Address Confidentiality for Victims of Domestic Violence and Stalking Program.

Any person granted confidentiality under these circumstances shall be considered an absentee voter for all subsequent County elections or until the County is notified otherwise by the court, the Secretary of State's office or in writing by the voter.

Exceptions: Voter information is available to:

  • Candidates
  • Campaign Committees
  • Authorized persons using this information for election, scholarly, journalistic, political or governmental purposes
I became a new citizen by participating in a naturalization ceremony after the registration deadline. Can I still register and vote?

Yes. Persons who become citizens after the close of registration may register to vote and vote up to Election Day. You must register to vote and vote at the Norwalk main office only. New citizens must present a Certificate of Naturalization and declare that they have established residence in Los Angeles County.

May I register to vote at my business address or may I use my P.O. Box number?

No. A person may only register to vote at their place of residence. A business address or a P.O. Box number may only be used as a mailing address.

I am a college student living on or around campus, away from home. Can I register with my college residence address?

Like all eligible citizens, any college student may register to vote using their college residence address or may choose to use their family residence. California law (Elections Code Section 2025) allows college students to establish domicile or legal residence where they attend school if they so desire.

I did not vote in the last election. Do I need to re-register?

No. You are registered to vote as long as you remain at the same address and you will continue to receive election materials in the mail. However, if you move to a different address or have not voted in the last several elections, you may be sent a notice requesting that you either confirm that you have not moved or provide current residence address information. Your registration may be cancelled for failure to respond to an address confirmation mailing or if you have not voted in any elections occurring between the date of the mailing and two consecutive federal general elections.

Is identification required to register to vote?

The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) states that individuals registering to vote for the first time in the state/jurisdiction must provide either a valid California driver's license or state ID card number. Applicants who do not have either can provide the last four digits of their Social Security number. If the voter provides a driver's license or state ID number that can be matched to a state record, then the voter will not be required to show ID when they vote.

If a person registers by mail, has not previously voted in an election for federal office and:

  • Votes in person: A photo ID or a document that indicates the voter's name and residence address must be presented.
  • Votes by mail: A copy of a photo ID or a document with both the voter's name and residence address must be presented.
Can I vote if I am currently incarcerated?

Many Californians incarcerated in Los Angeles County Jails are still eligible to vote. Information on Inmate Voting can be found on our website.

Why is the DMV involved in voter registration?

The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (also known as The Motor Voter Act) permits persons conducting business at a DMV office to register to vote or update voter registration information.

What if my name, address, or political party affiliation changes?

Complete and submit a new voter registration form with your new information. Your voter registration should always reflect your current residence address to ensure that you receive the correct ballot material regarding candidates and measures on which you can vote.

May I sign a petition if I am not registered to vote?

No. You must be a registered voter for your signature to be valid on a petition. If you complete and sign a voter registration form on the same date or a date prior to signing the petition, your signature will be valid. The elections official must receive the completed and signed voter registration form on or before the date the petition is filed with the elections office.

Is it true that voter registration lists are used to select citizens for jury duty?

Yes. California State Statutes require that lists of registered voters be provided to the Jury Commissioner to be used for jury duty selection. Another source for selection of jurrors is from the Department of Motor Vehicles' list of licensed drivers and identification cardholders resident within the area served by the court.

If I cancel my voter registration, can I be certain that I will not get a summons for jury duty?

No. The Jury Services Division requests a list of active and cancelled voter files. Additionally, California State Statute requires that lists of licensed drivers, obtained from Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), be made available to the Jury Commissioner. For information regarding Jury Summons, call (213) 974-5332 or 5333 or see Los Angeles County Jury Services.

I speak another language. How can I register?

If you need the voter registration form in a different language, we can assist you. The RR/CC provides voter registration forms in 10 different languages in compliance with federal and state laws: Chinese, English, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai and Vietnamese.

To request multilingual election materials, call (800) 481-8683.

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