California Family Resource Association

Get Out the Vote

Register To Vote

Are you registered to vote? Are you encouraging your clients and community members to vote? As trusted messengers, nonprofits are well positioned to help their communities become engaged and active voters. Voting is an excellent gateway to other forms of civic participation and voting can benefit your health.

It's easy to register online at the Secretary of State's website:

Or you can pick up a paper application at your local U.S. Post Office or public library.

Every Vote Counts

Think your vote doesn't count? Think again. In 2014, TWO judicial races were decided by a coin toss because candidates received the exact same number of votes! More examples of close 2014 elections.

Encourage Others To Vote

I Cant Vote... But You Can It is 100% legal for 501(c)(3) nonprofits to encourage people to register to vote, as long as you do not endorse any specific candidate or party. Remember to be clear with all staff and clients that your registration policies are nonpartisan.

Consider how your nonprofit can ensure that your constituents, staff, and community members have the assistance and information they need to vote. Sometimes all it takes is a simple reminder.

Learn ways you can help get out the vote by accessing resources from CalNonprofits. You can also download posters (.pdf) (in English and Spanish) and a list of ways to participate whether you can vote or not (.pdf).

Election Resources

Voter's Edge - Nonpartisan voter information, including funding sources. Voter's Edge customizes who and what is on the your ballot, based on your address.

Official Voter Guides from the California Secretary of State (the left column has links to the information in 10 other languages).

Key Dates for the November 2016 Election:

October 24 - Last day to register to vote.
November 1 - Last day to request a “vote by mail” ballot. Contact your county for more info.
November 8 - Election Day! Polls are open 7 am – 8 pm

Paid Time Off To Vote

Polls are open from 7 am to 8 pm on Election Day. If employees are scheduled to be at work during that time, California law allows them to take up to two hours off to vote, without losing any pay. Details about time off to vote.

Mail In Ballots & Early Voting

Thanks to 2014 legislation, vote-by-mail ballots will now be counted in elections if they are postmarked by Election Day and received within three days afterward. (Previously they had to be received by Election Day to count.)

Or you can go to your county election office and vote early, pick up a vote-by-mail ballot, or drop off your vote-by-mail ballot.

People With Criminal Convictions or Detained in Jail CAN Vote in California

In California, you are still eligible to vote even when you are:

  • In county jail serving a misdemeanor sentence. A misdemeanor never affects your right to vote.
  • In county jail because jail time is a condition of probation.
  • On probation.
  • Done with parole, mandatory supervision, or post release community supervision. Your right to vote is automatically restored when parole or supervision is done.

Find out more at: the Secretary of State's Voting Rights website, and ACLU's

Voting and Homelessness

Persons experiencing homelessness can register and vote. On the registration form they should describe the location where they live most of the time, using cross streets, landmarks, or other information to pinpoint an exact location (to determine what precinct to register them.) Info about voting and homelessness.

California Voter ID Requirements

In most cases, California voters are not required to show identification at their polling place. However, if it's your first time voting it is a good idea to bring ID. Some examples of accepted ID:

  • copy of a recent utility bill or bank statement
  • sample ballot booklet mailed from the county elections office
  • documents from a government agency (that show name and address)
  • passport, driver license, or California ID card
  • student ID card

See the full list of acceptable ID and the official guides to voting and other outreach publications (in 10 languages).