Voter Frequently Asked Questions

What are the requirements to register or pre-register to vote?

See HERE for a list of qualifications.

How do I register to vote, pre-register to vote, or update my registration?

You can register to vote by contacting your County elections office before Election Day and/or registering at your polling place on Election Day.

When do I need to update my registration?

You will need to re-register if you move, change your name, or change your party preference.

I am registered as No Party Preference and heard that my default ballot will not include presidential candidates. How can I make sure I am able to vote for a presidential candidate?

By February 25, you can call, email or fax your County elections office to request a different party ballot – known as a crossover ballot – that displays presidential candidates. After February 25, you can take your mail-in NPP ballot to your County elections office to exchange it for a crossover ballot – or you can go to the polls on Election Day to request a crossover ballot.

I don’t understand the local measures on my ballot – help?

Check out our Local Measures Voter Guide for explanations and CAIR recommendations on how you could vote!

It’s my first time voting – what do I need to know?

Learn about resources at your disposal to help your voting experience go more smoothly.

Do I need to bring my ID with me to vote on Election Day?

You do not need an ID card in California to vote, unless you registered online or by mail, did not provide your social security number or driver’s license, and it is your first time voting.

What if I were turned away at my polling place on Election Day?

Know your voting rights and how to respond if this happens.

I don’t feel that any of the candidates will address Muslims’ needs – what is the point of my voting for people I don’t think will represent us well?

Much of the work that Muslim political activists and community leaders do happens not before or during an election, but actually after an election. It is then that the lobbying and the push to represent issues and change platforms start. There will almost certainly never be a perfect candidate that appeals to the Muslim community in every way, but the platform and issues are not always unchangeable, and can be swayed later on. In the meantime, your vote helps decide who we will be educating and holding accountable as our elected officials.

Voting doesn’t make a difference – why should I bother to vote?

Historically, many groups of people faced voter discrimination by encountering literacy tests, poll taxes, and the grandfather clause.  Originally, the only class that was allowed to vote was white male landowners. It was a long, arduous process to slowly expand that definition until it became as encompassing and wide as it is today. In fact, the power of voting was so valuable and precious that people have spent and sacrificed their lives fighting to gain it for them and their communities. Even today, voter suppression persists – demonstrating how powerful our communities’ voices are in the way they threaten the status quo. You as a citizen have the chance to assert your right to vote to make a change regardless of your background or where you come from. In addition, your vote certainly does make a huge difference in the election process. The collective power of the Muslim community, specifically in California, if properly leveraged, can be enough to sway entire elections even on the higher level. Any minority community that wishes to be taken seriously on any political level must, at the bare minimum, vote and participate in elections. Every minority community that has become powerful enough to sway politicians to adjust their platform and issues has an equally powerful, consistent voter bloc.

Besides voting, how else can I fight voter suppression?

One important way to support voters is at the polls. Find information HERE on how to become a poll worker – basic requirements are that you are a citizen and at least 16 years old on Election Day.

I want to help build a strong voter bloc of Muslims. How can I learn more about Muslim voters?

Check out THESE resources and reach out to CAIR’s Advocacy Department (Advocacy Manager Aliza Kazmi at with the Subject line ‘GOTV efforts’ to learn about how you can help us in enforcing the right to vote and uphold our democracy!