What Happens After I Register to Vote?

The Registrar of Voters (ROV) receives thousands of voter registration forms and updates to voter records every day. Maintenance of the database of registered voters is a key function of the ROV.

It can take up to five business days to process your voter registration form after we receive it.  This time includes confirming the information you provided on your form with the Secretary of State and thoroughly checking the database for duplicate records. To check your registration status, please use our online registration look up tool.

After you are registered to vote, the ROV will confirm your registration by sending you a postcard and voting materials:

  • You Will Receive a Voter Notification Card

After processing your registration form, the ROV will mail you a postcard. This Voter Notification Card (VNC) confirms you are registered to vote. Please allow four to six weeks after you register to receive this postcard.

When you receive the Voter Notification Card (VNC), please review the printed information to make sure it is correct. If you see an error, please contact us by emailing us at [email protected] or by calling (866) 430-VOTE [8683].

If you pre-register to vote when you are 16 or 17, the Secretary of State will send you a post card notifying you that your application was received and processed. Then, once you turn 18, the Registrar of Voters will activate your registration and send you a VNC to confirm you are registered to vote.

  • You Will Receive Voter Information Guides

About 40 days before each election, the ROV begins mailing each registered voter on the rolls at that time a local County Voter Information Guide (CVIG) that has helpful information about the election, including what’s on your ballot, the location and hours of each Vote Center and Ballot Drop Box location, key deadlines and a sample of your official voter’s ballot.  If you register to vote after this mailing and closer to the election, the ROV will mail you a postcard notification informing you of how you can review your County Voter Information Guide (CVIG) online.

You may choose to “Go Green” and opt out of receiving a paper version of the County prepared CVIG and simply review it online. Just visit our online preference form

The Secretary of State’s office prepares and mails the State Voter Information Guide containing information on statewide candidates and measures.  

  • You Will Receive a Vote by Mail Ballot

At 29-days before each election, the ROV begins mailing each registered voter a package containing Vote by Mail ballot, voting instructions, locations and hours for where you can drop off your ballot, and a security envelope to protect and return your vote.  

If you do not receive voting materials and believe you are eligible to vote, you may use our self-serve voter registration look-up tool or call us at (866) 430-VOTE [8683] and ask for help.  

  • Other Notices You May Receive

There may be many reasons why the ROV will send voters a notice or announcement in the mail, in addition to voting materials. These notices may be sent prior to or during an election or throughout the year, so it is important to keep your registration information up to date.  

Voter Notification Cards and Notices are sent directly to voters to confirm a recent change they’ve made to their name, address or political party affiliation. The ROV receives data from the Post Office and the National Change of Address (NCOA) exchange reflecting both address updates and changes that result in undeliverable mail. The ROV will send a special notice to voters to confirm the accuracy of the information received.  

Unsigned Ballot Statements are sent to voters who forgot to sign their Vote by Mail return envelope, or a Signature No Match statement may be mailed so the voter may update their signature and have their ballot processed

Voter Education and Announcements are sent to help voters prepare for upcoming changes. For example, the ROV will send out notices and reminders to voters about the County of Santa Clara’s Vote by Mail and larger Vote Center voting model under the Voter’s Choice Act.  Ahead of the Presidential Primary Election, the ROV also sends each non-partisan voter information about how to request a political party ballot from the parties that allow.

Visit our Voter Registration Forms and FAQs  page for more information.


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