How the November 2020 Election is Different and How To Ensure Your Vote Counts
In California, voting for the Nov. 3rd Presidential Election will be different from other elections in several ways. This year, a ballot will be mailed to every registered voter in the State of California. Previously, they were only sent to individuals who specifically requested mail-in ballots. Voters will still have the ability to vote in person, but polling place locations and voting dates will be different.
When you sign-up for a California driver’s license you are automatically added to the voter rolls unless you state that you are not a U.S. citizen or request to opt out. Not everyone who is registered for a license is expecting, or able, to return a mail-in ballot this year. Additionally, many others who have passed away, moved, or don’t wish to vote, will also receive a mail-in ballot because voter rolls have not been given an up-to-date purge and the system is now set for 100% mail-in. This creates an opportunity for these wayward votes to be scavenged.
Ballot harvesting was allowed by the California Legislation before the 2018 midterm elections. This relatively new law allows any representative to gather or “harvest” ballots on behalf of registered voters. Both assisted living facilities and college campuses are ripe for ballot harvesting. The Los Angeles Times editorial board, along with others, has called for the law to be fixed or repealed, saying it “does open the door to coercion and fraud.”
The danger of Ballot Harvesting is a bi-partisan concern. On September 17, 2020, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, Democrat-Hawaii and Congressman Rodney Davis, Republican-Illinois, introduced The Election Fraud Protection Act in Congress. Rep. Gabbard wrote: “The strength of our democracy lies in the integrity of our elections. Ballot harvesting allows third parties to collect and tamper or sway an election for or against a certain candidate or party. No one should get in between a voter and their vote.” Rep. Davis wrote: “We’ve seen ballot harvesting widely used in states like California and a recent court case in North Carolina outlined the clear opportunities for fraud and coercion with the ballot harvesting process.” This bill will prohibit federal funding for states that allow ballot harvesting, thus encouraging all states to stop this practice.
Voting in person is the best way to ensure that your vote will be counted. Take your mailed ballot with you to your polling place, “surrender” it to the polling authority who will then give you an in-person ballot, cast your votes on-site and then place your completed ballot in the secure box provided.
Counties will vary on how they operate in-person voting and how they manage mail-in ballot processing. Your polling place will be listed on your ballot, or you can find it at your county’s Registrar of Voters website.
I’m attaching a 2 page info-sheet prepared by Election Integrity Project-California (EIPCa) that details plans for in-person voting for each county in California. It outlines what residents can expect for their area. You can click the link to read the PDF: 4 voting plans for the state
The Election Integrity Project is a non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)(3), public benefit corporation with the goal of enabling citizens to become active participants in the entire election process, from overseeing the integrity of the voter rolls to ensuring that each lawfully cast vote is counted fairly and that all processes are in compliance with federal, state and local laws, statutes and regulations. For over nine years, it has trained over 10,000 citizens to observe, document, and research California elections.
Election Integrity Project suggests that voters should:
• Check your registration at your county registrar’s website or the CA Secretary of State’s website. Report any problems to EIPCa.
• Sign-up to track your ballot at this ballot tracking website. This will help prevent your ballot being used by someone else.
• Mark your calendar: you should receive your ballot in the mail NO LATER THAN October 14.
• If it has not arrived, call your Registrar’s office IMMEDIATELY, report your ballot missing, insist that it be cancelled and that you be mailed a new one; and verify the mailing
• Vote in person, if possible. It remains the best method to ensure that your vote is counted.
• If you cannot vote in person, turn your ballot in only to a staffed drop box that is emptied daily, a polling location, or your county elections office.
EIPCa needs volunteers to observe at the polls and to observe the mail-in ballot tabulating process. To volunteer, click here to contact the Election Integrity Project CA. EIPCa is offering volunteer training that is 90 minutes long and is conducted through zoom conference during this election season.