What is pre-registration?

Eligible 16- and 17-year-old Californians can pre-register to vote in order to be automatically registered when they turn 18.

Who is eligible?

All of the following criteria must be met for eligibility:

  • 16 or 17 years old.
  • A U.S. citizen and a California resident.
  • Not currently in state or federal prison, or on parole for a felony conviction.
  • Not found to be mentally incompetent by a court.

How does an individual pre-register to vote? 

There are three options to pre-register:

  • Online at
  • By paper; paper applications are available at county elections offices, DMV offices, many public libraries, post offices, and government offices. Have an application mailed to you by calling (800) 345-VOTE.
  • In person at the DMV.

More information here from the California Secretary of State.


The report “Path to the Polls: Building a More Inclusive Democracy by Preregistering California’s Youth,” released by CALPIRG Education Fund, NALEO Educational Fund, and Frontier Group, offers best practices for the preregistration of 16- and 17-year-olds. The report also highlights research on the benefits of preregistration, lessons from other states, and recommendations for California to expand youth voter participation.





Future of California Elections asked eligible youths ages 15-18 in 2019 to create art based on what inspires them to be a future voter. To view the submissions, click here.