October 21, 2020

By Pamela Rudd, Opinion Editor

Tuesday, November 3, 2020, is the California General Election.


All US citizens and residents of California who are 18 years old by November 3, 2020, can vote. 

If you have a misdemeanor offense, you can vote. If you are awaiting trial, or on probation, mandatory supervision or post-release community supervision, you can vote. If you have a juvenile wardship adjudication you, too, can vote.

You cannot vote if you are in state or federal prison, are on parole for a felony conviction, or if you have been found mentally incompetent by a court. If you have completed parole your voting right will be restored once you re-register to vote.

Learn more here

Poster outside a small neighborhood grocery store encourages people to vote in Kensington, CA on Sunday, Oct. 12, 2020. (Pamela Rudd/The Citizen)


If you meet the requirements, it’s easy to register. It is best to register at least two weeks before Election Day, but same-day voter registration is an option.  

Online: Federal law requires that registration information be available in a variety of languages including English, Spanish, Hindi, Vietnamese, etc. Click the link and begin the process! You can also pre-register or check your registration status at this link. 

In-person: Pick up a registration application at the DMV, many post offices, government offices or libraries, or your county election office. The Alameda County Election Office is located at 1225 Fallon Street, Room G-1, Oakland. 

By mail: Call the secretary of state at 800 345-VOTE (8683) to request a registration application by mail.

Same-day voter registration:  It is possible to register and vote on the same day. Keep in mind that your ballot will not be counted until the county elections office has completed the verification process. Learn more here.

Preregistration: Not quite 18, but eager to get involved? California residents ages 16-17 who want to vote in future elections can register online as well.


How to vote: In California, every registered individual will be sent a vote-by-mail ballot and a California General Election Official Voter Information Guide, prepared in accordance with the law and certified as correct by Secretary of State Alex Padilla. Because of COVID-19, you do not need to request a vote-by-mail ballot. 

Make sure to seal the ballot inside the envelope provided by your county elections office and sign it. Your signature should match the one on your driver’s license, state ID, or the signature you provided when registering. This is how the county elections office protects your vote.

By mail: Completed ballots may be mailed without stamps, but must be postmarked by election day, November 3, 2020. Check the mail pickup times to be sure the mail will be picked up on time. Vote early to skip the line. 

In-person: Ballots may be left at a secure dropbox, polling place, vote center or county elections office. Use the “polling place lookup tool” on the California Secretary of State website to find the most convenient location.

Please follow COVID-19 safety procedures. Wear a mask and social distance, be sure to wash your hands before and after entering the polling location and bring your own ballpoint pen.

Vote. Vote Soon. This is your chance to make a difference.