Mover's Guide: California

August 10, 2010

Elections Division: 800-833-8683

I moved from the address at which I am registered.  What should I do?

I moved from another state.

If you moved to California from another state, you must register to vote in California to be able to vote.[1]  The last day to register in time to vote in the next election is fifteen days before the election.[2]

If you moved from out of state, you may register to vote the same day you become a resident of the State of California.  Under federal law, if you move within thirty days of a presidential election, you are allowed to vote for President and Vice President in your former state of residence, either in person or by absentee ballot.[3]  In addition, if you move to California within fourteen days of a presidential election, you can register in California at your county elections office between the fourteenth and seventh day and cast a regular ballot for President and Vice President.[4]

I moved within California.

If you moved within the same county in California, you can sign a notice or letter of the change of address.[5]

If you moved to a new address within the state, you should complete a new registration form to update your registration records.[6]  That form is available here: https://www.sos.ca.gov/nvrc/fedform/

The election is right around the corner and I never updated my registration from my previous address.  What should I do?

If you moved to a new address in the same county since you last voted, you should contact your local election official to determine whether your registration is current and to find out the location of your current polling place.  Election officials may have changed your registration record to reflect your new address even if you did not notify the election official about the move. If your registration information has been changed to your current address, you should go to the polling place associated with that address to vote.

Many registered California voters who move are still entitled to cast a ballot that will be counted — even if they did not notify the appropriate election official about their move before Election Day and the election official has not changed their registration.

Scenario One: New Address, but Same Polling Place

If you moved to a new address that is covered by the same polling place as your old address, you can vote a regular ballot at that polling place after confirming your change of address at the polling place. This is true regardless of how close to the election you moved.[7]

Scenario Two: New Address in Same County but New Polling Place

If you moved within 14 days before the election you can vote at the polling place for your old address.[8]

If you moved to a new address within the same county but with a different polling place, you are entitled to vote a provisional ballot at the polling place associated with your new address, at the office of your county elections official, or another central location designated by the elections official.[9]  You will need to fill out a written confirmation that you are eligible to vote and registered in the county in which you are voting.[10]

Your provisional ballot will be counted if the signature on your provisional ballot matches the signature on your affidavits of registration and if election officials establish your right to vote.[11]

Scenario Three: New Address in New County

If you moved within 14 days before the election you can vote at the polling place for your old address.[12]

If you moved to a new address in a different county more than 14 days before an election, you should register to vote at your new address in order to vote in the election.[13]


[1] Cal. Elec. Code § 2000 (West 2010).

[2] Cal. Elec. Code § 2102(a).

[3] 42 U.S.C. § 1973aa-1(e) (2010).

[4] Cal. Elec. Code §§ 332, 3400.

[5] Cal. Elec. Code § 2119(a).

[6] Cal. Elec. Code §§ 2116, 2102(a) (West 2010). 

[7] 42 U.S.C. § 1973gg-6(e)(1) (2010).

[8] Cal. Elec. Code § 2035 (West 2010).

[9] Cal. Elec. Code § 14311.

[10] Cal. Elec. Code § 14310(a)(3).

[11] Cal. Elec. Code § 14310(c)(1)–(2).

[12] Cal. Elec. Code § 2035.

[13] Cal. Elec. Code § 2116 .