How to Vote in California: Registering, Mailing Ballots, and Propositions!

How to Vote in California: Registering, Mailing Ballots, and Propositions!

How to register

California offers voter registration online at

Voter Registration Guide:  Cal Matters Voting Guide  

To register in California you must:

  • Be a United States citizen
  • Be a resident of California
  • Be at least 18 years old or older on Election day
  • Not be currently in state or federal prison or on parole for the conviction of a felony

Poll Workers 

Be a Student Poll Worker

To be a student poll worker you need to be 16 years old, a U.S. citizen,  must maintain a 2.5-grade point average, and receive permission from your parents or guardian. Additionally, you may be eligible for a stipend ranging from $64 to $150 depending on where you live. 

More information found here

Become a Poll Worker 

To serve as a poll worker you must be:

  • A registered California voter or legal resident of the U.S. who would be eligible to vote 


  • Set up and close voting place
  • Help voters understand their rights 
  • Protects ballots and voting equipment 

To apply to become a poll worker, contact your county elections official for an application

Vote by Mail 

All registered voters will receive a vote-by-mail ballot for the November 3, 2020, General Election. 


  1. Fill out your ballot
  2. After you have voted, insert your ballot in the envelope provided, making sure you complete all required information on the envelope
  3. You may return your voted ballot by mail, in person, or to a drop box;
  • If you are returning your ballot by mail, it must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received by your county elections office no later than 17 days after Election Day
  • If you are returning your ballot in person or dropping it in a drop box, it must be delivered no later than the close of polls at 8:00 pm on November 3rd
  • Anyone may return your ballot for you, as long as they do not get paid on a per ballot basis. In order for your ballot to be counted, you must fill out the authorization section found on the outside of your ballot envelope. 

More information on elections, candidates, voting, and helpful resources can be found here.


Propositions, also known as ballot measures, are laws, issues, or questions that appear on a state ballot for voters to decide. They are the only way to change a state constitution in all states except Delaware.  

Title Subject  Description 
Proposition 14 Bonds Borrow Money to Continue STEM Cell Research

Background: Issues $5.5 billion in bonds for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) to conduct stem cell research.

Voting YES: allows for $5.5 billion bonds to be borrowed for stem cell and other medical research. Increases focus on improving access to treatments by changing CIRM structure.

Voting NO: a $5.5 billion bond is not issued.

Proposition 15 Taxes Increase Commercial Property Tax to fund Schools & Local Governments 

Background: Current tax assessment is from Prop 13 (1978) without adjustment for inflation since then.

Voting YES: property taxes on commercial properties worth more than $3 million would go to fund local government and schools. Prop 15 would be phased in starting in 2022, raising $6 to $12 billion yearly. 

Voting NO: property taxes do not change from what was approved in 1978.

Proposition 16 Affirmative Action  End the Ban on Affirmative Action

Background: repeals Prop 209, which prohibits discrimination or preferential treatment based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, education, and contracting. 

Voting YES: allows “diversity” to be considered by public agencies. Does not alter current laws guaranteeing equal protection or prohibiting unlawful discrimination.

Voting NO: Prop 209 ban on affirmative action remains in effect. 

Proposition 17 Suffrage Restoring the Rights to Vote to People on Parole

Background: Currently, the CA Constitution requires people with felonies to complete their imprisonment and parole before regaining their right to vote.

Voting YES: allows people on parole to vote, if they are U.S. citizens, residents of California, and at least 18 years old. 

Voting NO: people on parole will continue to be unable to vote.

Proposition 18 Suffrage Voting Rights for Some 17-year-olds

Background: Currently, the CA Constitution requires voters to be at least 18-years-old on the election date to vote in that election.

Voting YES: allows 17-year-olds to participate in primary and special elections if they will be 18 years old by the next general election. 

Voting NO: no changes to CA constitution no one under 18 years of age can vote. 

Proposition 19 Taxes Property Tax Transfers and Exemptions 

Background: Changes tax assessment transfers and inheritance rules

Voting YES: allows all homeowners that are over 55, disabled, or victims of natural disasters to be eligible for property tax savings. Inherited if used as primary homes or farms. Creates a state fire protection services fund. 

Voting NO: some homeowners that are over 55, disabled, or victims of natural disasters are eligible for property tax savings. All inheritance properties remain eligible. 

Proposition 20 Law Enforcement  Changes to Criminal Sentencing, Parole, & DNA Collection 

Background: Makes changes to policies related to criminal sentencing charges, prison release, and DNA collection.

Voting YES: makes changes to AB 109 (2011), Prop 47 (2012), and Prop 57 (2016). These props intended to reduce the prison population. Increases penalties for certain theft and fraud misdemeanors. Require DNA collection for certain misdemeanors. Increases the requirements needed for early parole consideration. Redefine 51 crimes as violent, excluding them from the parole program.

Voting NO: no changes. Penalties would not increase for certain misdemeanors. Early parole consideration factors would not be increased. DNA collection only required for felonies, sex offenders, and arsonists. 

Proposition 21 Housing  Rent Control

Background: in 2010, Prop 10 was introduced and rejected. Prop 10 would have allowed rent control on any type of property. Prop 21 builds upon this but adds more specifics. 

Voting YES: allows cities to limit rent increases for buildings at least 15 years old. Exempts single-family homeowners who own up to two homes.

Voting NO: no changes. Rent control is limited. 

Proposition 22 Business  App-Based Drivers as Contractors

Background: Considers app-based drivers to be independent contractors and enacts several labor policies related to app-based companies

Voting YES: Define app-based rideshare and delivery drivers as independent contractors. Create new labor and wage policies such as an earnings floor and limited work hours for app-based drivers. Requires companies to provide or make available occupational insurance. 

Voting NO: App-based drivers could be classified as employees under AB 5 (109). Drivers would have less work flexibility but also have standard benefits that businesses must provide employees.

Proposition 23 Healthcare  Regulation of Dialysis Clinics 

Background: This prop comes from an ongoing conflict between a labor union for healthcare workers (SEIU-UHW West) and CA’s two largest dialysis businesses (DaVita and Fresenius Medical Care).

Voting YES: Require every clinic to: have at least one physician present at all time, report data to the state, obtain state approval before closing a clinic, and not discriminate against patients  based on the source of payment

Voting NO: no extra requirements for clinics to be imposed 

Proposition 24 Business  Stronger Consumer Privacy Laws 

Background: The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) went into effect in January 2020 and enforcement began in July 2020. The act gave individuals more control over their data. Companies have to explain if data is being sold or collected. Consumers can opt out or request data deletion.

Voting YES: Strengthens current privacy laws. Defines data “sharing” to allow consumers to limit data sharing. Establishes the Privacy Protection Agency. 

Voting NO: No changes from the CCPA (2018)

Proposition 25 Trails  Cash Bail. Should We Keep it or Not?

Background: Senate Bill 10 (SB 10) was passed in 2018 which would make CA the first state without cash bail for those awaiting trials. Cash bail was replaced with risk assessment based on the suspect’s risk of failing to appear in court and on the suspect’s risk to public safety. SB 10 was put on hold due to a petition.

Voting YES: upholds  SB 10. Cash bail would be replaced with risk assessments.

Voting NO: Rejects SB 10. The bail system would remain as is.