The State of California allows many, although not all, registrants to vote in every election (local, state, federal). There are three basic criteria to determine a person’s eligibility to vote: (1) U.S. citizenship, (2) at least 18 years old on election day, and 3) not currently found mentally incompetent. There are additional eligibility criteria for individuals who have been convicted of an offense, including a sex offense.
“It is important that registrants know their voting rights,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci. “In the past, some government employees have wrongly told many registrants, including those on probation, that they are not eligible to vote.”
First, a person may vote on election day if he or she is in county jail serving a misdemeanor sentence or is awaiting trial. Second, a person may vote on election day if he or she is on probation (state or federal), on mandatory supervision, on post-release community supervision, on federal supervised release or has a juvenile wardship adjudication.
A person may NOT vote if he or she is currently in custody in either state or federal prison, is currently serving a state prison felony sentence in county jail or any other correctional facility, is currently in county jail waiting transfer to a state or federal prison due to a felony conviction, or is in county jail due to a parole violation. In addition, a person may not vote if he or she is on parole under the supervision of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
For those eligible to vote, you must register to vote before or on the date of the election by using one of several methods. First, you can obtain and complete paper applications which are available at U.S. post offices, county election offices, public libraries and the Department of Motor Vehicles. Second, you can request that an application be mailed to you by calling (800) 345-8683. Third, you can register to vote at any polling location when it is open.