Voters Guide

CILS protects the California Native vote, aligning with tribal sovereignty. Historically, Native American voters faced barriers. Voting empowers collective Native voices for political change. CILS urges all Natives to register and vote in the General and Primary Elections.

History of Native American Voting

Until 1957, despite the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, Native Americans faced significant barriers to voting rights. The Fifteenth Amendment guaranteed voting rights regardless of race, yet early interpretations and state laws often excluded Native Americans. Even when citizenship was granted, discriminatory practices persisted, as seen in cases like Anderson v. Matthews (1907) in California and Porter v. Hall (1928) in Arizona.

Legal battles continued, with victories like Harrison v. Laveen (1948) in Arizona and Trujillo v. Garley (1948) in New Mexico gradually affirming Native American voting rights. Utah was the last state to amend its laws, allowing Native Americans to vote in 1957 after the Allen v. Merrell case. Today, the election of James C. Ramos as California’s first Native American State Assembly member and the establishment of the Native American Accessibility Advisory Committee signal progress and empowerment for California’s Native voters.

Through perseverance and advocacy, Native American voters have secured their right to vote, marking a significant milestone in the ongoing struggle for voting equality.

2024 General Election Dates

October 7: Ballot drop-off locations open. Election officials will begin mailing ballots on October 7.

  • Voters do not need to request a vote-by-mail ballot, as ballots are sent to all active registered voters.
  • Vote-by-mail ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day.

October 21: Deadline to register to vote. (However, in-person same day voter registration is available).

October 26: : Early in-person voting centers open in certain counties.

  • Using a search engine, you can check to see if there is early in-person voting within your county.

November 5: ELECTION DAY! Polling places, ballot drop boxes, and vote centers are open statewide 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM.

  • In-person same day voter registration is available.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Vote in this Election?

Eligible voters must be:

  • United States Citizen and resident of California;
  • 18 years or older on Election Day; and
  • Not currently in state or federal prison or on parole for conviction of a felony.
Where can I check my voter registration?

 On the California Secretary of State’s website at: https://voterstatus.sos.ca.gov

Do I have to request a mail in ballot?

No, every California Voter will be sent a vote-by-mail ballot. Ballots will be mailed out and can be dropped off at a ballot drop box, local elections office, polling place, or vote center.

How do I register to vote?

You can register online at https://registertovote.ca.gov/

If you are registering or re-registering less than 15 days before an election you will need to complete the Same-Day Voter Registration process and request your ballot in person at your county elections office or polling location. For more information on voter registration and voting locations, contact your local county elections official.

 

Do I need a CA Driver’s license or CA Identification card to register to vote?

No. If you don’t have a CA Driver’s license or ID card number, the website will create a pre-filled voter registration application for you to print, sign, and mail. If you do this, you may need to provide some form of identification when voting for the first time.

Can I get time off work to vote?

Yes! Your employer may require advanced notice and may ask for you to take the time off at the beginning or end of your shift. Employees can be given as much time off to vote as needed but only a max of two (2) hours is paid.

Can I register to vote on Election Day?

Yes! You can conditionally register to vote and cast a provisional ballot. Your provisional ballot will be counted when your County Elections Official verifies your voter registration.

Will I be required to provide an ID?

If you registered without a CA Driver’s License or CA Identification Card, you may be asked for verification of your identity. You may use other
documents to verify your identity. A list of these documents can be found: California Code of Regulations § 20107 allows for numerous documents which may include:
1. Document with current and valid photo ID:

  • Tribal ID
  • Driver’s License or ID from another state
  • Passport
  • ID card provided by commercial establishment
  • Military ID
  • Credit or Debit Card
  • Student ID and more.

2. Other document with name and address:

  • Utility bill
  • Voter notification card issued by governmental agency
  • Vehicle registration
  • ID Docs issued by governmental homeless shelters, and more.
If I am in line when the polls close can I still vote?

Yes! If you are in line at a voting location by 8 p.m. on Election Day, you have the right to vote.

Our Work Continues

It is important to us that work we do across California impacts Native Americans
in manners that will affect generations to come. Check out the other initiatives we
are working on below.