Making Democracy Work

Voting Information

How to register to vote and election information


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You must be registered by 15 days before voting in an election.

You are eligible to vote in California if on the day of the election you are:

  • At least 18 years of age by election day. Seventeen-year-olds who meet eligibility requirements can register to vote if they will turn 18 on or before the next election.
  • A citizen of the United States & a California resident.
  • You must be registered to vote on or before 15 days prior to the election.
  • Not declared mentally incompetent by a court
  • Not in prison or on parole for a felony conviction

When you register to vote, you must provide proof of identity; a California drivers license, or a California identification card number, or the last four digits of your SS number. If you do not include this information, you will be required to provide identification when you vote the first time.


You should register or re-register if you:
  • Have never registered in California
  • Have moved since you last registered
  • Have changed your name since registering
  • Wish to change your party affiliation
  • Are an ex-felon who has completed parole


You must be registered on or before 15 days before an election.

You may register online.

You may also register by completing a form. Forms are available at: Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters 1555 Berger Dr., #A, 95112 P.O. Box 1147, San Jose, CA 95108 (408) 299-VOTE (8683), or Toll free (866) 430-VOTE (8683) Monday-Friday 8 A.M.-5 P.M. or download a form here.

Registration Forms are also available at:

  • Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Post Offices
  • Libraries
  • City Clerks' Offices.

To reach the ROV bilingual staff, call:
  • Spanish: (408) 282-3095
  • Vietnamese: (408) 282-3097
  • Chinese: (408) 282-3086
  • Tagalog: (408) 282-3089

If you register to vote between 15-29 days before the election you may pick up your sample ballot at the Registrar of Voters.


You can register with a political party, or you can indicate "No Party Preference" as unaffiliated to any party. California's Modified Presidential Primary system allows voters registered as "No Party Preference" to cast a ballot for any Presidential Primary candidate whose party authorized such a vote. California's Top Two Primary system applies to Statewide and Legislative Offices and California Congressional Offices. Voters nominate a candidate for each seat on their ballot regardless of party affiliation. The top two candidates for each seat run-off in the November General Election. The California Top Two Primary system does not apply to non-partisan state and local elections or party County Committees. For more information, see the California Secretary of State


You may apply for a vote by mail ballot at any time up to 7 days before an election.
  • Anyone may register to vote as a permanent vote by mail voter and automatically receive a ballot by mail. To obtain a permanent vote by mail application, print form from the Registrar of Voters web site or call the Registrar's office to request one to be mailed to you. Registrar of Voters, Vote by Mail Division
    P.O. Box 1740
    San Jose, CA 95109
    Fax: (408) 293-6002, Phone (408) 299-8640
    Vote by Mail Website
  • Persons needing assistance to complete a ballot at the polling place may request assistance from the precinct officers.
  • A completed, signed vote by mail ballot must be received by the County Registrar by 8:00 P.M. on election day. It may be taken to any polling place within the county by the voter, family member, or caregiver with the voter's signed authorization.
  • A first-time voter who registered by mail and votes absentee must include a copy of either a valid photo I.D. or other document that shows the name and address of the voter, such as a utility bill.
  • You may vote on weekends two weeks prior to the election at the office of the Registrar of Voters from 8:00 A.M.-5:00 P.M. or other location. Call (408) 299-VOTE for other early voting locations.


Before each election, registered voters receive a sample ballot that contains their precinct number and polling place address and a form to request for mail ballot. Ordinarily, polls are open from 7 A.M. to 8 P.M. on election day.

If you encounter any problems at the polls call the election assistance hotline: 1-866-OUR-VOTE, 1-888-Ve-Y-Vota, and 1-888-API-VOTE.

Know your voting rights--check out the Voter Bill of Rights! Voter Bill of Rights