Residence and Domicile

In order to qualify for most offices, a candidate must be a registered voter of the district or division thereof. The following code sections will assist in determining residence.

Elections Code 349. Residence and Domicile

"Residence" for voting purposes means a person’s domicile. The domicile of a person is that place in which his or her habitation is fixed, wherein the person has the intention of remaining, and to which, whenever he or she is absent, the person has the intention of returning. At a given time, a person may have only one domicile. The residence of a person is that place in which the person’s habitation is fixed for some period of time, but wherein he or she does not have the intention of remaining. At a given time, a person may have more than one residence. (Added by Stats. 1994)

Elections Code 2020. Term of domicile

The term of domicile is computed by including the day on which the person's domicile commenced and by excluding the day of the election. (Added by Stats. 1994)

Elections Code 2021. Person away for temporary purposes

  1. A person who leaves his or her home to go into another state or precinct in this state for temporary purposes merely, with the intention of returning, does not lose his or her domicile.

A person does not gain a domicile in any precinct into which he or she comes for temporary purposes merely, without the intention of making that precinct his or her home. (Added by Stats. 1994)

Elections Code 2022. Move to another state

If a person moves to another state with the intention of making it his or her domicile, the voter loses his or her domicile in this state. (Added by Stats. 1994)

Elections Code 2023. Move to another state

If a person moves to another state as a place of permanent residence, with the intention of remaining there for an indefinite time, he or she loses his or her domicile in this state, notwithstanding that he or she intends to return at some future time. (Added by Stats. 1994)

Elections Code 2024. Intention and fact or removal

The mere intention to acquire a new domicile, without the fact of removal avails nothing, neither does the fact of removal without the intention. (Added by Stats. 1994)

Elections Code 2025. Employment in the service of the United States; Navigation; Institution

A person does not gain or lose a domicile solely by reason of his or her presence or absence from a place while employed in the service of the United States or of this state, nor while engaged in navigation, nor while a student of any institution of learning, nor while kept in an almshouse, asylum or prison. This section shall not be construed to prevent a student at an institution of learning from qualifying as an elector in the locality where he or she domiciles while attending that institution, when in fact the student has abandoned his or her former domicile. (Added by Stats. 1994)

Elections Code 2026. Domicile of Legislative Member or Congressional Representative

The domicile of a Member of the Legislature or a Representative in the Congress of the United States shall be conclusively presumed to be at the residence address indicated on that person's currently filed affidavit of registration. (Added by Stats. 1994)

Elections Code 2027. Domicile of family; residence in trailer

The place where a person's family is domiciled is his or her domicile unless it is a place for temporary establishment for his or her family or for transient objects. Residence in a trailer or vehicle or at any public camp or camping ground may constitute a domicile for voting purposes if the registrant complies with the other requirements of this article. (Added by Stats. 1994)

Elections Code 2028. Place of family and business

If a person has a family fixed in one place, and he or she does business in another, the former is his or her place of domicile, but any person having a family, who has taken up an abode with the intention of remaining and whose family does not so reside with him or her, is a domiciliary where he or she has so taken up the abode. (Added by Stats. 1994)

Elections Code 2029. Domicile of spouse

The domicile of one spouse shall not be presumed to be that of the other, but shall be determined independently in accordance with this article. (Added by Stats. 1994)

Elections Code 2030. Marriage to a person employed in the service of the United States

A domiciliary of this state who marries a person employed temporarily in this state in the service of the United States government, may elect to retain his or her domicile for the purpose of qualifying as an elector only, except that his or her domicile in this state shall terminate if the domiciliary qualifies as an elector in any other state or any territory. (Added by Stats. 1994)

Elections Code 2031. Homeowner’s property tax exemption; renter’s tax credit; driver’s license

If a person has more than one residence and that person maintains a homeowner's property tax exemption on the dwelling of one of the residences pursuant to Section 218 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the residence subject to the homeowner's property tax exemption is that person's domicile. However, this presumption shall not apply in the event any other residence is listed as the person's current residence address on any driver's license, identification card or vehicle registration issued to that person by, and on file with, the Department of Motor Vehicles.

If a person has more than one residence and that person claims a renter's tax credit for one of the residences pursuant to Section17053.5 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the residence subject to the renter's tax credit is that person's domicile. However, this presumption shall not apply in the event any other residence is listed as the person's current residence address on any driver's license, identification card, or vehicle registration issued to that person by, and on file with, the Department of Motor Vehicles. This section shall not be applicable to state or federal elected officials. (Added by Stats. 1994)

Elections Code 2032. More than one residence

Except as provided in this article, if a person has more than one residence and that person has not physically resided at any one of the residences within the immediate preceding year, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that those residences in which he or she has not so resided within the immediate preceding year are merely residences as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 349 and not his or her domicile. (Added by Stats. 1994)

Elections Code 2033. Change of house number

Whenever the house number or the mailing address of a voter has been changed and the voter's domicile is the same, the public agency authorizing the change shall notify the county elections official in writing of the change and the county elections official shall make the change on the voter's affidavit of registration and a new affidavit shall not be required. (Added by Stats. 1994)

Elections Code 2034. Domicile in more than one precinct

A person domiciled in a house or apartment lying in more than one precinct shall be registered as domiciled in the precinct designated by the county elections official on the basis of the street address or other precinct the county elections official considers appropriate unless the person requests, either by letter or in person at the office of the county elections official, that he or she wishes to be domiciled for registration purposes in another precinct in which his or her house or apartment lies. In order to fulfill the requirements of this section, the letter of request shall include the name, signature, and residence address of the requester. (Added by Stats. 1994)

Elections Code 2035. Voter residence change 28 days prior to an election

A person duly registered as a voter in any precinct in California who removes therefrom within 28 days prior to an election shall, for the purpose of that election, be entitled to vote in the precinct from which the person so removed until the close of the polls on the date of that election. (Added by Stats. 1994)

Voter Registration and Establishment of Domicile. Walters v. Weed (1988)
AKA "UCSC Student Voting Case." 45 Cal.3rd.1

In this California Supreme Court decision, the court held that voters who have moved, but have not established a new domicile, may vote in the precinct of their former domicile even though they have not intention of returning to live there.

Homeless Person’s Right to Register to Vote. Collier v. Menzel (1985). AKA "Fig Tree Case." 176 Cal. App.3d 24

In this Court of Appeal decision, the court held that a homeless person may register at a location deemed by the voter to be a dwelling place or place of habitation for that voter. A mailing address needs to be provided in order for the voter to receive election materials.

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