What You Need to Know About Voting in California

Secure ballot boxes like these at Monrovia Library will be operational next week. No postage is necessary. – Photo by Terry Miller / Beacon Media News

President Continues to Attack Mail-in Ballots,

By Terry Miller

With election day about one month away, the country is deeply divided on not only the candidates but also on the huge number of issues facing this enormously difficult and divisive year.

California is automatically mailing ballots to those citizens who registered to vote this year, much to the chagrin of President Donald Trump, who for months has been falsely saying that mail-in votes are fraudulent, without any evidence.

According to a quote in The New York Times, the president expressed his annoyance after the Justice Department disclosed details about an inquiry into nine discarded mail-in ballots found in Pennsylvania.

“These ballots are a horror show,” Trump said. “They found six ballots in an office yesterday, in a garbage can. They were Trump ballots, eight ballots in an office yesterday, in a certain state. And they had Trump written on it, and they were thrown in a garbage can. This is what is going to happen, this is what is going to happen, and we are investigating that. It’s a terrible thing that is going on with these ballots — who is sending them?”

In reality, seven of the nine ballots were for Trump. The ballots first came to the nation’s attention last Thursday when the Justice Department issued a press release in apparent coordination with the White House. According to Politico, “Election experts accused the Justice Department of politicizing a still-pending investigation — and pointed to the revelation that seven of the nine discarded ballots had been cast for Trump as especially concerning.”

An unidentified “individual was contracted to assist with the 2020 General Election as a temporary season independent contractor and began work on Monday, Sept. 14,2020. This contractor was assigned to sort the mail received by the Elections Bureau,” according to a press release.

“Ballots being opened or discarded, if true, is concerning. In Pennsylvania, ballots cannot be opened until 7 a.m. on Election Day,” according to Politico last Thursday.

The BBC reported that the president has said that universal mail-in voting would make the country “a laughing stock.” His comments came after the U.S. Postal Service warned in August that millions of mail-in ballots may not arrive in time to be counted in November’s election. On Sept. 17, Judge Stanley Bastian issued a nationwide preliminary injunction blocking changes at the USPS. According to the Los Angeles Times, Bastian called the changes announced by Postmaster General Louis De Joy, a loyal supporter of the president, “a politically motivated attack on the efficiency of the Postal Service” ahead of the election.

A record number of people are expected to vote by mail due in no small part to the pandemic. And despite the president’s continued attacks against mail-in voting, a system he himself uses, is safe from tampering.

In California, all voters will receive a vote-by-mail ballot for the November election. County elections officials will begin mailing mail-in ballots to all active registered voters in by Oct. 5, 2020. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked by Nov. 3, 2020; ballots returned at a secure ballot drop box must be deposited by 8 p.m. on Nov. 3, 2020. Voters have until Oct. 27 to request a mail-in ballot.

One or more early voting locations will be available in many counties for at least four days beginning the Saturday before the Nov. 3 election. Voting early at the Los Angeles County Registrar’s headquarters will start on Monday, Oct. 5, 2020 on the third floor. Voting locations will offer voter registration, replacement ballots, accessible voting machines, and language assistance.

Voters who have moved or not voted in the last few elections should check their registration status. L.A. County voters can verify that they are registered to vote at lavote.net/vrstatus. To vote in the Nov. 3 election, voters must submit a registration form postmarked no later than Oct. 19.

However, same day voter registration is also an option. Eligible citizens who need to register or re-register to vote within 14 days of an election can complete this process to register and vote at their county elections office, polling place, or vote center. Their ballots will be processed and counted once the county elections office has completed the voter registration verification process.

Before dropping off ballots, check that ballot cards are inside the official return envelope, securely sealed, signed and dated.

After returning your ballot via drop box or by mail you can check your ballot to make sure it was received and tallied through the Vote by Mail Status tool.

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