California Common Cause Launches Massive Election Protection Program to Help Voters During General Election
LOS ANGELES – With voting in the 2020 general election well underway, and 118 Los Angeles County vote centers preparing to open tomorrow, California Common Cause is working to ensure that voters are informed and prepared to cast a ballot across the state.
The nonpartisan, nonprofit organization will have hundreds of trained volunteers in the field to monitor the election, provide assistance to voters, and report issues that arise in the field. Additionally, the nonpartisan voting rights organization has already contacted hundreds of thousands of voters with good, reliable information about how to vote and track their ballots, and is monitoring social media for misinformation and voters encountering problems.
Volunteers include Common Cause members, members of our partner organizations, community members, and students from across the region including law students from UCLA, Southwestern, Loyola Law School, UC Irvine, and University of San Diego.
“Voting is the bedrock of our democracy, a right all eligible Americans should exercise,” said Jonathan Mehta Stein, executive director of California Common Cause. “Though we are living in uncertain times, one thing we must be certain of is our right to vote without barriers. At the polls, voters may face intimidation and other suppression tactics. We are here to help.”
Poll Monitor Volunteers in the Field
California Common Cause has trained over 500 Election Protection volunteers to deploy to over 1500 voting locations in five counties during early voting and Election Day: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego.
Monitors will provide voters with assistance, identify voter intimidation or harassment, spot language access or disability access problems and report issues to California Common Cause headquarters. Headquarters will evaluate and triage problems and elevate to county elections officials, the Secretary of State or litigation partners.
A number of changes are taking place at voting locations in the region, some due to the transition to the Voter’s Choice Act (VCA), others as one-time changes as a result of the global pandemic and state legislation (AB 860 and SB 423):
- All voters in all counties have received a ballot by mail.
- Countywide voting is being offered in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties.
- Expanded early voting is available in all 5 counties on Saturday, October 31, with Los Angeles and Orange counties opening vote centers even earlier.
- Same day registration is being offered at ALL voting locations for the first time in a general election. New citizens, people who have moved, and anyone who missed the voter registration deadline can use this service, which will enable them to register and cast a ballot the same day.
National Voter Protection Hotline
Voters who encounter problems at the polls are encouraged to call the national, nonpartisan election protection hotlines below. Questions will be answered by trained, nonpartisan volunteers through the end of Election Day.
888-API-VOTE (Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Urdu, Hindi, Bengali)
888-569-7955 (disability access questions – California only)
Massive Voter Education Efforts
In a political environment seemingly awash with bad information, California Common Cause is attempting to reach as many California voters as possible with good information. The organization has sent 250,000 letters to California voters, with solid, reliable, nonpartisan information about how to cast their ballots and how to track their ballots in November 2020. Additionally, California Common Cause has texted over 400,000 California voters with the same information, with a plan to text hundreds of thousands more in the next week. The organization’s text program targets first-time and low-propensity voters, and voters who have never or rarely used a vote-by-mail ballot in recent elections.
California Common Cause is also monitoring social media channels for disinformation and misinformation and for voters in need of assistance.
Election Day Media Opportunity
Media are invited to interview voting rights experts at the Los Angeles call center on Election Day.
- Jonathan Mehta Stein, executive director, California Common Cause
- Kathay Feng, national redistricting and representation director, Common Cause
Follow us on Twitter @CommonCauseCA and Facebook @commoncauseca for updates on Election Day.
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