California Common Cause Launches Expanded Election Protection Program

Our nonpartisan poll monitors head to the Central Valley for the first time, expanding our Election Protection program that already covers all of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA – California Common Cause has launched its most extensive Election Protection Program yet, days ahead of the 2022 Midterm Election. For the first time, the nonpartisan program will deploy trained poll monitoring volunteers throughout the lower Central Valley in Tulare, Kern, and Kings Counties, in addition to continued presence in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, and San Bernardino Counties. Manning the voting sites in the state’s Central and Southern regions with 225 trained, nonpartisan poll monitors, California Common Cause is ensuring that every voter can cast their ballot without barriers, intimidation, and undue burden.

“Voting is the backbone of our democracy, and all California voters deserve to cast their ballots free of complications,” said Jonathan Mehta Stein, executive director of California Common Cause. “Our expanded Election Protection presence will allow us to assist more Californians than ever before, helping to ensure that every vote is fairly counted.”

California Common Cause has been a major leader of the Southern California Election Protection Program for the last decade, recruiting and training thousands of nonpartisan volunteers in helping Southern Californians make their voices heard on Election Day. For this year’s Midterm Election, nonpartisan poll monitors will be deployed to voting locations during the early voting period through Election Day. Volunteers will help voters navigate confusing voting rules, outdated infrastructure, and misinformation. 

For the first time, the program is expanding into the southern Central Valley, providing support to smaller communities in California’s rural regions, where voters historically face greater barriers to voting compared to voters in larger cities.

The eight counties in which California Common Cause will be operating are home to 22.5 million people, more than half of California’s total population.

“The Election Protection Program is critically important for protecting the integrity of our election system and ensuring that every eligible voter has the opportunity to participate in the election process,” said Alesandra Lozano, California Common Cause’s Program Manager for Voting Rights and Redistricting. “Despite California having universal vote-by-mail, voters who prefer to vote in-person continue to be met with barriers to casting a ballot, like targeted disinformation campaigns and voter intimidation designed to confuse and deter voters, particularly voters of color. Our nonpartisan volunteers are voter’s first line of defense in combating problems during the early voting period and on Election Day.”

All volunteers in the Election Protection Program go through an extensive and comprehensive training and receive support from our Election Protection headquarters throughout the voting period. Volunteers are trained to identify and address problems at the polls and escalate what they cannot fix to headquarters for further assistance. Poll monitors submit reports from each voting location they visit, documenting the wait times, parking availability, language and disability accessibility, and poll worker effectiveness. 

This year, volunteers will also work remotely as Social Media Monitors, tracking social media for posts that share issues at the polls, reporting election-related misinformation and disinformation, and connecting voters online to resources and support. 

At the conclusion of the program, California Common Cause will release a midterm election report that shares election observations directly from the field, giving an overview of poll monitors’ findings, strengths of each county’s election administration, and areas for improvement.

To learn more about the 2022 Election Protection Program, click here.