Californians have until Nov. 3 to return their mail ballots, but elections officials and experts are encouraging voters to do it sooner rather than later.
Waiting risks mishaps that could lead to a ballot not being counted.
During the March primaries, California counties were unable to count 100,000 mail ballots, and many were rejected because they did not arrive at elections offices on time, according to county data compiled by the Secretary of State’s Office. Legislators hoping to ameliorate the problem extended the deadline for receiving ballots from three days after the election to 17 days.
Early voting in-person begins in Los Angeles County Saturday morning, Oct. 24, at more than 100 polling places with an additional 650 to open Oct. 30 and running up until Election Day.
Voters can cast ballots at any one of the 766 Vote Centers throughout the county, regardless of where they are registered. Voters can also register or re-register a change of address at any Vote Center up until Election Day. And they can also drop off ballots.
Every active voter in Los Angeles County — roughly 5.6 million — has by now received a mail-in ballot. Voters can drop those ballots in the mail postmarked by Election Day or into any of the more than 400 official drop boxes throughout the county no matter where they are registered to vote.
After $300-million and 11 years, the nation's largest county rolled out the first publicly-owned voting system earlier this year, promising "transparency, accessibility, usability, and security."
Los Angeles County's new voting system — dubbed "Voting Solutions for All People," or VSAP — has raised concerns from election security experts. Dozens of advocacy groups have warned California's top election official that the electronic touchscreen system used for in-person voting relies on QR codes to tabulate votes. QR codes are vulnerable to hackers and system malfunctions and cannot be easily verified by most voters, U.S. government and outside experts have found.
Nervous voters in California are walking their mail-in ballots into elections departments so they can personally hand them to an election official.
They want to be 100 percent certain their ballot gets counted.
“It feels like every voter I talk to is on edge thinking for some reason their ballot might not count,” said Melinda Dubroff, registrar of voters in San Joaquin County.
Every qualified ballot will be counted and there’s really no need to worry once a ballot is mailed or placed in an official drop box, elections officials say. The state’s safety protocol for drop boxes is rigorous.
But voters have reason for anxiety.
More than 33 million Americans have already voted as of Tuesday -- roughly 70% of total 2016 early voting. On Monday, the Supreme Court denied a request by Pennsylvania Republicans to shorten the deadlines for mail-in ballots in the state. We’ll get the national picture on voting from NPR’s Miles Parks and hear how voting systems are handling the record turnout. Then, president and founder of the nonpartisan California Voter Foundation Kim Alexander joins Forum to take your questions on voting. We’ll cover topics like locating and using official ballot drop boxes, voting in-person after applying to vote by mail and correcting a mistake on your ballot. (Full Audio)
With about two weeks to go until Election Day, candidates across the country are in the final sprint.
Right now you're probably getting bombarded with texts and calls and finding your social media accounts inundated with personalized political ads.
In the age of social media, personal data is taking center stage in the battle for your vote and political data collection is a booming business.
These targeted messages, designed just for you, have become a powerful tool in the relentless effort to win your vote.
But have you ever wondered how campaigns are getting access to your personal information?
It's incredibly annoying and invasive, president of the nonpartisan California Voter Foundation Kim Alexander said.
She first started looking into voter privacy more than a decade ago.
Editor’s note: Voting early makes sense this election, but it can backfire when there’s a big campaign development
It’s a dilemma for voters, especially this election:
You want to get your ballot in early to make sure it’s counted.
But what if there’s a major development in a campaign that would have changed your vote?
It’s possible, for instance, that some early voters in South Sacramento—especially those struggling with skyrocketing rents—might regret their choice.
Les Simmons, who is running against Mai Vang in the Nov. 3 runoff for the District 8 City Council seat, had said he supported the local rent control measure.
Even as California sets records for early voting and advocates call for everyone to get out and vote, there's an important detail voting experts want you to know. Voting isn't a test, and it's OK if you don't want to answer all of the ballot questions.
“It’s perfectly acceptable to vote on one or two contests that you really care about and leave everything else blank," said Kim Alexander, head of the California Voter Foundation (CVF). "Your votes that you cast will be counted, and you’ll be a voter, and that's what’s important.”
Even for experienced voters like Alexander, there's always a question or two without a clear answer or one that has some ambiguity. It's part of the reason why she started the CVF back in 1994.
While she encourages people to use online resources like voter information guides and votersedge.org/CA, she said every voter still has an out.
If you are planning to vote by mail this year, the deadline to register to vote is Monday, October 19.
If you register to vote after Monday and vote in person, you’ll be casting a conditional or provisional ballot. Those only get counted after officials have finished verifying your information which could be after Election Day.
More than 2 million voters in California have already returned their ballots.