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Here's How You Can Register To Vote And Apply To Vote By Mail Online
The deadline to register for California's upcoming June primary is May 23rd. California, being the progressive place it is, has made it oh-so easy for residents to register, change their registration status, or even just make sure they're registered at the correct address. Almost all of California's crucial voter registration services can be accomplished online, so you should probably just do this right now before you forget. It will take you less than five minutes.
And while Governor Jerry Brown signed the Motor Voter Act back in October of last year, automatically enrolling anyone who visits the DMV, the system may not be up and running until next year. California Secretary of State Alex Padilla told KPCC earlier this year that the automatic enrollment system night not be fully functional until next year.
So with that in mind, here's how to register online, or even just check your voter status.
So you want to vote Democrat:
If you're #FeelinTheBern or #WithHer, you need to be either a registered Democrat or be registered as someone with "No Party Preference." California's Democratic party has what's called 'semi-closed' primary, meaning that Democrats and unaffiliated voters can participate. Registered Republicans, Libertarians, and other party members are not allowed to vote for Democratic candidates.
If you are registered as NPP, you must request a Democratic party ballot when you vote.
It's crucial to note that "No Party Preference" is the de-facto independent vote in California, not the American Independent Party. The AIP is prohibited from voting in the California Democratic Primary.
To register as a Democrat or NPP, visit the California Secretary of State Voter Registration website.
So you want to vote Republican:
If you want to vote for Trump, Cruz, or Kasich in the Republican primary, you must to be a registered Republican. The Republican party has a 'closed' primary, meaning that only registered Republicans can vote in the primary; no NPP voters, no libertarian voters, only registered Republicans.
To register as a Republican, or change your voter status to Republican, you can do so online at the California GOP's registration website.
Check your registration status, especially if you think you're 'independent':
Two weeks ago, the L.A. Times broke a story saying that three out of every four people registered with the American Independent Party incorrectly believed they were independent voters. The American Independent Party is a fringe right-wing party, and voters registered with the AIP are not allowed to vote for either Democratic or Republican candidates.
You should absolutely check your status if you think you're registered as an independent voter. It's probably a good idea to check even if you don't think you're independent, given the last thing you want to have happen is realize, come election day, that you're not allowed to vote for the candidate you want to vote for.
To check your status, visit the trusty Secretary of State's website. Follow this link.
So you want to vote by mail:
Voting by mail is easier. Instead of dealing with a polling place (which may be a breeze, or may take hours), you can fill out your ballot on your own time, probably from the comfort of your own bed.
Los Angeles County residents have it easy. Our county's registrar office has set up a website that will allow you to request a vote-by-mail ballot for the June primary. Requesting the ballot online is a one-time affair, and will not set you up for permanent vote by mail status. L.A. County residents who wish to vote by mail in the June primary should follow this link to the L.A. County Registrar's office. All applications to vote by mail must be received by May 31st.
Other counties usually rely on printed, signed and mailed applications. If you live outside of L.A. County, all you have to do is visit your county's election office to learn more. A good bet is to simply google your county's name followed by the word "voting."
Alternatively, the Secretary of State's site includes links to different county registrar offices around the state. Follow this link.
Registering for permanent vote-by-mail status also varies by county. While Los Angeles and San Francisco counties require a paper application, other counties, for example Solano, allow you to register online.