On November 8th, Americans will be making important decisions that will shape our future for years to come. In addition to the nationwide elections, there are also important statewide and local elections in which to make your voice heard as a young, college-educated voter. We hope this post will help you make sure you’re registered to vote and are prepared to rock the polls on election day!
As a college or grad student, you can choose to register to vote in your home state or in the state where you go to school. Choose whichever state makes the most sense for you, but remember that you cannot register in more than one state during the same election cycle. The following is a handy step-by-step guide that will walk you through the process of registering and provide links to further resources.
The requirements to register to vote in California are as follows:
- A United States citizen
- A resident of California
- At least 18 years of age by election day (November 8)
- Not currently imprisoned or on parole for the conviction of a felony
- Not currently found to be mentally incompetent by court of law
When you register, you will need your California driver’s license or California ID card* or the last four digits of your Social Security Number. If you do not have any of these, don’t worry! You will be assigned an ID number for voter registration purposes only.
*Your California driver’s license/ID is only used to retrieve your signature from the DMV.
Deadline to register in California: October 24, 2016
Use the Secretary of State’s California Online Voter Registration Forum to submit your information online. It is also available in nine other languages! If you do not have a California Driver’s License or ID, you can still register online but must complete an online interview.
Pick up and fill out a voter registration card at one of the following locations in San Francisco:
- Department of Elections (San Francisco City Hall, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
- Department of Motor Vehicles (1377 Fell St., 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
- Local public library branches (Check sfpl.org for your local branch’s address / hours)
- U.S. Postal Service offices (Check usps.com for your local office’s address / hours)
Request a voter registration card by calling the Department of Elections office at (415) 554-4411, or by emailing them. Once you completely fill out the card, make sure it is postmarked or hand-delivered to the elections office by October 24:
San Francisco City Hall
1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Place
City Hall, Room 48
San Francisco, CA 94102
After processing your registration, you will receive a Voter Notification Card in the mail within three to four weeks. If you have NOT received a Voter Notification Card or wish to check your voting status, you may use the voter registration look-up tool, or call the Department of Elections at (415) 554-4375.
Register in Other States
Not a California resident? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | Arkansas | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | Nebraska | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | Washington, DC | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming
Register in Unincorporated Territories
If you live in: Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or the Northern Mariana Islands, this one’s for you. Residents of US territories don’t vote in presidential elections, but each territory elects a delegate to the House of Representatives.
Overseas and Military Voters
If you are a US citizen living or serving in the military outside of the US right now, you may register to vote by following this link to the Federal Voting Assistance Program website. Here, you can select your state of registration and scroll to the bottom left-hand box to register and then sign up to vote via Absentee Ballot. You can register online, or download a form and mail it to the appropriate office once you’ve completed it.
You’re Registered! Now What?
Educate yourself on both national and local issues. Make a plan to mail your absentee ballot or find your local polling place, so you can exercise your right to vote this November!