Registration Basics

Elections staff explaining voter registration procedures to the public


Learn about who can register, how to register, when to register, and what to expect after you submit your registration application to the Department of Elections. To check if you are currently registered to vote in San Francisco, use the Voter Portal.

Qualifications to Vote

To register to vote in San Francisco, you must be:

  • A United States Citizen
  • A San Francisco resident
  • At least 18 years old* before or on the day of the election
  • Not be in state or federal prison for the conviction of a felony
  • Not currently found mentally incompetent to vote by a court

The passage of Proposition 17 in the November 2020 election amended the state Constitution to allow otherwise eligible residents who are on parole to register to vote.

*If you are a San Francisco resident who is 16 or 17 years old, you may pre-register to vote. Your registration will become active on your 18th birthday, as long as you meet all other registration qualifications. For more information, visit our High School Programs page.

How to Register to Vote

Online, using the California Secretary of State's Online Registration Application. If you do not have a signature on file with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), you will need to print, sign, and mail the application.

On paper, using a Voter Registration Application. To receive a paper registration application by mail, contact the Department of Elections through our contact form or call (415) 554-4375. For your convenience, Voter Registration Applications are also available at your local post office, San Francisco Public Library branch, or DMV office.

Watch this step by step video on how to fill out a voter registration application.

When to Register to Vote

If you are not registered in San Francisco

The deadline to register to vote is 15 days before an election.

If you missed the registration deadline, you still have the option to register and vote. For more information, visit the Provisional Voting page.

If you are currently registered in San Francisco

Re-register to vote to update your political party preference, name, or signature on file with the Department. The deadline to update your registration record is 15 days before an election. For more information, visit the Make Changes to Your Registration Record page.

To check if you are currently registered to vote in San Francisco, use the Voter Portal.

What to Expect after You Register to Vote

After you submit your completed registration application, please allow three business days for processing. To check your voter registration status, use the Voter Portal.

After processing your application, the Department will mail you a Voter Notification Card to confirm your voter registration. Please allow two to three weeks for postal delivery.

When you receive the Voter Notification Card, please review the printed information to make sure it is correct. If you find any errors, please contact us using our contact form or call (415) 554-4375.