What every California voter should know before Election Day
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous changes have been made to the voting process.
This November’s general election is set to be historic, and not just because of the presidential race at a time when the American electorate is unusually polarized.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous changes have been made to the voting process. Mail-in ballots are available for all California voters for the first time in history, and the state has also pledged to make safe in-person voting available.
In a press conference earlier this month with Ethnic Media Services, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla spoke about the state’s new voting procedures, and how his office is working to ensure that all communities are able to vote safely.
“In my role as Secretary of State, I also serve as California’s Chief Elections Officer. We work in partnership with all 58 counties in California to administer elections. Usually we want to make sure elections are accessible and secure. Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, we also need to make sure that the voting experience is one that is safe and protects health both the voters and election workers,” Padilla said.
Eligible Californians can register to vote online up until the deadline of Oct. 19. After that date, the only option is same-day voter registration in person, either during early voting or on election day. Voters who use same-day voter registration receive provisional ballots so they can still vote in the election.
Padilla urged voters to verify their voter registration before the Oct. 19 cutoff to ensure that ballots are delivered to the right address.
He also addressed that some previously registered voters may have inactive voter status and need to re-register. Voters are classified as “inactive” when a county elections official receives information that a voter has moved out of state, or if two general elections have passed and the voter has not voted or confirmed their address, according to the California Elections Code. Inactive voters usually don’t receive voter information guides, and their names won’t show up on the voter rolls when they go to vote in person.
“If an inactive voter goes to vote in person, they’ll still be allowed to vote a provisional ballot, their registration will be re-activated, and their ballot will be counted. So, it doesn’t mean that they’ve been taken off the rolls completely. It’s one of the reasons we’re asking people who think they’re registered to verify their registration status. The simple act of verifying your registration status will ensure that you are an active registered voter and will receive your ballot this November.”