The List: Not sure how to register to vote? Here are five easy ways


California’s deadline to register for November midterm elections is Oct. 22, and despite the constant calls to action on social media and television, it can be difficult to understand how to register. Luckily, this week’s installment of The List is here to help.

Online Registration

Whether you’re on mobile or desktop, registration is easy online. All you need with you is a California driver license or California ID card, and the last four digits of your social security number. Prompts will ask for your personal information and mailing address, and you can even sign electronically using the signature you’ve provided at the DMV. You’ll have one final form mailed to you, which must be signed and returned to your local election office.

Registration at the DMV

If you need to renew registration or get new tags, you can kill two birds with one stone by registering there. Although the traditional paper form is available, you can also use the touchscreen terminals to apply for an electronic driver license or ID card and complete your voter registration at the same time. From there, your voter registration information will be electronically shared with the local election office for processing.

Register by Mail

Registering by mail is a bit more complicated. First, you’ll have to download the national registration form at the the Election Assistant Commission website. If you can’t do that, you can also call the Secretary of State toll-free voter hotline, at 800-345-VOTE, to request that an application be mailed to you, or pick one up at the at the county elections office, DMV, public library and most government offices. Then, mail it to the California Secretary of State office along with a photocopy of your driver license or ID card.

Pre-Register to Vote

Even if you can’t legally vote, it’s still possible to register ahead of time. Pre-registrations are available online, and although they won’t become active until turning 18, you can get that out of the way well in advance. You also won’t need a driver license or ID card, but you’ll still need to sign it when you turn 18 and your registration will be on-hold until then.

Conditionally Register

Finally, it’s possible to register after the Oct. 22 deadline in California, by completing the conditional voter registration process. Once the proper forms are signed and turned in any time from Oct. 23 to Election Day on Nov. 6, you can cast a ballot. Bear in mind that your ballot will not be processed until your voter registration is processed and approved.


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