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Voter Registration

Qualifications to Vote

In order to qualify as a registered voter in San Francisco:

  • You must be a United States citizen
  • You must be a resident of San Francisco
  • You must be at least 18 years of age or older on Election Day
  • You must NOT be in prison or on parole for the conviction of a felony
  • You must not have been judged by a court to be mentally incompetent to register and vote

Voter Registration ID Requirements

Federal and state law now requires that EVERY person who registers or re-registers to vote MUST provide the following identification:

  • A California Driver's License (or California Identification card) number on your registration form; or
  • The last 4 digits of your Social Security Number on your registration form.
  • If you do not have a California Driver's License, or California Identification card number, or a social security number, a unique identifying number will be assigned to you for registration purposes only.

Note: The Secretary of State's office must validate the registrant's identification number or last four digits of their Social Security number in order for the Department of Elections to place the registrant on the active voter roll; the voter may be asked to show proof of identification at the polling place.

How and Where to Register

You will need to register whenever you move, change your name, or change your political party preference.

There are several convenient ways to register or re-register:

  1. Register Online
    Use the Secretary of State's California Online Voter Registration Form to submit your information online.
  2. Register by Mail
    Call our office at (415) 554-4411 or email us and we will mail a voter registration card to you.

    Complete all required sections of the Voter Registration Card.

    • Fill out the Voter Registration Card using a dark ink pen
    • Use your legal name
    • If you live in an apartment, fill in the apartment number
    • Enter your date of birth
    • Sign the Voter Registration Card before mailing

    Note: You must provide a valid residence address to register—NOT a business address.

  3. Register in Person
    Pick up a voter registration card at the Department of Elections, local public library branches, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and U.S. Postal Service offices.

Deadline to Register

To be eligible to vote in an upcoming election, a completed voter registration card must be postmarked no later than15 days before Election Day.

If you need further assistance completing the voter registration card, please call the Department of Elections at (415) 554-4411. Step-by-step illustrated instructions (PDF) are available for download.

Please note: Information on your voter registration affidavit will be used by elections officials to send you official information on the voting process, such as the location of your polling place and the issues and candidates that will appear on the ballot. Commercial use of voter registration information is prohibited by law and is a misdemeanor.

Voter information may be provided to a candidate for office, a ballot measure committee, or other persons for election, scholarly, journalistic, political, or governmental purposes, as determined by the Secretary of State. Driver's license and social security numbers, or your signature as shown on your voter registration card, cannot be released for these purposes. If you have any questions about the use of voter information or wish to report suspected misuse of such information, please call the Secretary of State's Voter Protection and Assistance Hotline at (800) 345-VOTE.

safe at home iconCertain voters facing life-threatening situations may qualify for confidential voter status. For more information, please contact the Secretary of State's Safe At Home program.

Verifying Registration Status

After processing your registration form, the Department of Elections will mail a Voter Notification Card within three to four weeks. If you have NOT received a Voter Notification Card or wish to check your voting status, you may use the voter registration look-up tool, or call the Department of Elections at (415) 554-4375.

Obtaining Proof of Voter Registration

A Certificate of Registration verifies "active" voter registration within the City and County of San Francisco. There is a $1.50 fee, payable by cash or money order, personal checks and credit cards are not accepted.

To request a Certificate of Registration In-Person:
Please go to the Department of Elections, City Hall, Room 48, Monday through Friday, 8a.m.-5p.m. You will need to provide valid photo identification.

To request a Certificate of Registration by Mail:
Your written request must include:

  • Your printed name
  • Date of birth
  • Photocopy of valid California State Driver's License or Identification Card
  • San Francisco registered address
  • Your signature
  • Telephone number
  • Self-addressed stamped envelope
  • Money order payable to the Department of Elections in the amount of $3.00

If you have any questions, you may call (415) 554-4375.

Mail your written request and money order to:
Department of Elections
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 48
San Francisco, CA 94102-4634

Voter Registration Drive

Any individual, group or organization requesting 25 or more voter registration cards must complete and submit a Voter Registration Cards Statement of Distribution Form (PDF) to the Department of Elections.

The Voter Registration Cards Statement of Distribution Form can be faxed to (415) 554-4372 or mailed to:

San Francisco Department of Elections
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Pl., Rm 48
San Francisco, CA 94102

A guide on how to conduct a voter registration drive (PDF) is available for download.

National Voter Registration Act (NVRA)

The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), also known as the "Motor Voter" law, requires the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and many other government agencies to give people the chance to apply to register to vote. Here you will find information on the NVRA and Secretary of State Debra Bowen's efforts to assist state agencies and county elections officials ensure people are provided with the opportunity to apply to register to vote.


Training for NVRA Agencies

Last updated: 12/2/2015 9:15:00 AM