On March 3, California voters will have the opportunity to participate in primary elections for federal, state and local offices, as well as vote on several state and local initiatives. Candidates nominated in the primaries will appear on the Nov. 3 general election ballot and go head-to-head with competing nominees. 

Read City on a Hill Press’s voting guide to make sure you’re prepared when Election Day rolls around.

Who can register to vote?

To register to vote in California, you must be a U.S. citizen and at least 18 years old by Election Day. 

Those under the age of 18 can preregister to vote if they will be 18 by the day of the election. 

People currently in state or federal prison, on parole for a felony conviction or deemed by a court to be mentally incompetent are prohibited from registering.  

How to register to vote

You must have registered to vote by Feb. 18. Applications submitted by mail must be postmarked by that date. 

You’ll need your driver’s license, identification card number or the last four digits of your Social Security number. If you don’t have those forms of ID, you will be assigned a number that will be used to identify you as a voter.  

If you missed the deadline, you may still conditionally register to vote and submit a provisional ballot by appearing at the county election office, vote center or designated satellite location in the days prior to and including Election Day. The Bay Tree Bookstore will also house a same-day voter registration station from Feb. 29 to March 3. 

To register to vote-by-mail, your county elections office needs to receive your vote-by-mail application by Feb. 25, or seven days before Election Day. If you miss the deadline, you can apply in person at your county elections office. 

Once you have registered, you will not need to register again unless you change your name, party affiliation or address. If you have updated your current address with the DMV or post office, that will automatically be reflected on your voter registration so you will not need to re-register. 

To check if and where you’re registered, visit RegisterToVote.ca.gov or call your county elections office.

When and where to vote

The California polls are open on March 3 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

You can vote in person at the polling location indicated on the county voter information guide you received in the mail. Polling places can also be determined by visiting the polling place locator at vote.org

There will be six polling stations scattered across campus. 

Vote-by-mail ballots can be hand delivered to any polling place in your county or your county elections office, or mailed to your county elections office. Mailed ballots should be postmarked on or before Election Day, and must be received no later than three days after the election. 

Some California districts will provide ballots and other election materials in non-English languages, and a comprehensive list of included counties can be found at federalregister.gov. Santa Cruz County will only provide ballots in English, but Spanish translated election materials will be available at every polling location and can be referenced while filling out the ballot. Sample ballots in the language indicated during voter registration will be mailed to you prior to Election Day and can be brought to your polling location as well. 

You are not required to present ID when voting in California, but it is recommended to bring a form of identification if you submitted your voter registration application by mail and didn’t provide your driver’s license, identification card or Social Security number.