California Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced the launch of online pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds. By pre-registering, California youth will have their voter registration become active automatically when they turn 18.
“California’s 16- and 17-year-olds can now pre-register to vote online at registertovote.ca.gov,” said Secretary Padilla. “Online pre-registration will help more young people vote as soon as they are eligible. Whether they’re at school or at home or hanging out with friends, young Californians can pre-register to vote in just minutes in their smartphone, tablet or laptop.”
Pre-registration does not change the voting age, which is still 18. Instead, it allows eligible Californians ages 16 or 17 to complete the online voter registration form, so that they will be automatically registered to vote as soon as they turn 18.
The new online pre-registration is available to California youth who are 16 or 17 and meet the following criteria:
• A United States citizen,
• A resident of California,
• Not currently imprisoned or on parole for the conviction of a felony (for more information on the rights of people who have been incarcerated, please see the Secretary of State’s Voting Rights for Californians with Criminal Convictions or Detained in Jail or Prison), and
• Not prohibited from voting by a court because of mental incompetency (for more information, please see Voting Rights: Persons Subject to Conservatorship).
16- and 17-year-olds who do not have a signature on file with the DMV, through a driver license or state ID card, will need to complete the pre-registration process by printing a paper form and mailing it to their county elections office. Applicants will be sent confirmation when their voter pre-registration application is processed, or they will be contacted if more information is needed to confirm their eligibility.
In 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 113 by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) which allowed voter pre-registration beginning at age 16 once the California’s statewide voter registration database, VoteCal, was certified. VoteCal was certified in September 2016, and pre-registration was initially only offered through paper forms.