Register to Vote

For information about the new Voting Choice Act in 2018, please visit our dedicated page for that information here.

Secretary of State - Register to Vote Secretario de Estado - Registrarse para votar 登記投票 Magparehistro para Makaboto

Registering to vote is vital to supporting Democratic Party candidates. The easiest way you can register to vote is to visit the new online registration system, California Online Voter Registration Website. You will need to provide your California Driver License/Identification Card number and/or the last four digits of your Social Security number. The Secretary of State offers the online form in multiple languages. The most common for our county are above. You can simply click on the box and you'll be taken to a version in that language.

You may also register by mailing a completed Voter Registration Form to the San Mateo County Elections office. Forms are available at public libraries, city and county offices, California Department of Motor Vehicles offices, at U.S. Post Offices. You may also call the San Mateo County elections office at 650-312-5222 to receive a voter registration form by mail.

If you think you might already be registered to vote, you can visit the Official Election Site of San Mateo County, Shape The Future, to check your voter registration status, find your polling place, or request a Vote by Mail ballot.

Voter Qualifications

You may register to vote if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • Citizen of the United States
  • Resident of California
  • At least 18 years of age on or before election day
  • Not in prison or on parole for the conviction of a felony

If you move, change your name, or change your party affiliation, you will need to re-register. You may register at any time, but to be eligible to vote in an upcoming election, your Voter Registration Form must be postmarked no later than 15 days before that election.

Once your registration form is received and processed, you will receive a Voter Notification Card within 3 to 4 weeks indicating that you are now a registered voter.

Absentee Voting

Any registered voter may vote by mail with an absentee ballot.

You may apply for an absentee ballot by:

  • Completing the application on the back cover of your Sample Ballot Pamphlet
  • If you are residing outside the U.S., please visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program for information about requesting an Overseas Absentee Ballot. 
  • Sending a written request for an absentee ballot, which must include the following:
    • Your full name
    • Your residential address in San Mateo County
    • Your mailing address (where you want your ballot sent if that address is different from your residence)
    • Name & date of election you want to receive a ballot for
    • Your signature

    Please mail your request to: Registration & Elections Division 40 Tower Road San Mateo, CA 94402 Attention: Absentee Unit

  • You may also fax your request to (650) 312-5348

The Elections Office must receive all applications no later than seven days before election day. Postmarks do not count.

How to Become A Permanent Absentee Voter

Any voter may become a Permanent Absentee Voter.

To receive an application to become a Permanent Absent Voter, please download and print the permanent absentee voter application form (PDF format). Complete, sign, and mail or fax the application to:

Registration & Elections Division
40 Tower Road
San Mateo, CA 94402
Attention: Absentee Unit

Fax: (650) 312-5348

Once enrolled as a Permanent Absent Voter, you will automatically receive an absentee ballot for elections in which you are entitled to vote. Failure to vote in a statewide election, however, will cancel your Permanent Absent Voter status, but this will not affect your active voter registration status.

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