Members of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party said Thursday that they want people to cast their ballots as early as possible for the Nov. 3 general election to ensure the process goes smoothly.
LACDP members acknowledged there were some problems with the in-person voting centers during the March primaries because county election officials did not anticipate the majority of people would show up on election day — as the county this year began allowing in-person voting for up to 11 days before and on Election Day.
Many people reported waiting in line for as many as four hours at some locations in March and some people didn’t realize their polling location had been dissolved to allow people to vote at any of the centers.
“We’re encouraging all voters to vote early, return those ballots as early as possible. Please do not delay,” LACDP Chairman Mark Gonzalez said. “We’re fighting for a fair and just election here in L.A. County, despite all the attempted maneuvers by the Trump administration to destroy confidence and validity for this election.”
Standing in front of Staples Center with other party leaders, Gonzalez said the county’s drop-off ballot boxes will be monitored and examined daily, and they will be bolted to the ground and locked, but he said he expects this to be the first mostly mail-in ballot election due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gonzalez said he does not want people to feel threatened or intimidated when voting in this year’s election, following President Donald Trump’s statements during Tuesday night’s debate against Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Trump called on a known white supremacist group to “stand back and stand by” for the election and continued to cast doubt of the election’s integrity and the abilities of the U.S. Postal Service.
“I think that what the Trump administration is trying to say is that Democrats are ballot-harvesting, and that’s not what we’re doing,” Gonzalez said. “We’re trying to encourage folks to turn in their ballot.”
Calls and emails from City News Service to the Republican Party of Los Angeles County, which also goes by LAGOP, were not immediately returned.
“It is not an overstatement to say that we are voting for our very lives this election,” County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said. “We’re voting for the safety and health of our family and indeed our loved ones.”
Gonzalez and Ridley-Thomas were joined by Los Angeles County District Attorney Candidate George Gascon — who faces incumbent Jackie Lacey in the general election — and Los Angeles Councilman David Ryu, the incumbent candidate who faces Nithya Raman in the Council District 4 race. Ridley-Thomas faces Grace Yoo in the Los Angeles Council District 10 race.
The three ways to vote in this year’s general election are by mail, in person or by using the drop-off boxes.
Gonzalez also mentioned that other people can be designated to drop off someone’s ballot, as long as that person is not on the voter’s payroll, by indicating on their ballot envelope.
All registered voters in California this year will be issued a mail-in ballot by Oct. 5. Ballots can be mailed back to the Registrar Recorder/County Clerk as long as they are postmarked by Nov. 3.
Registered voters in Los Angeles County will be able to cast their ballot in person starting Oct. 24 at any of the county’s more than 760 vote centers, which will include Dodger Stadium, SoFi Stadium, the Long Beach Convention Center, The Forum, Hollywood Park and Staples Center.
Social distancing will be in place and masks must be worn while at the voting centers, the RR/CC’s office stated.
Additionally, the RR/CC’s office provides an electronic service for sample ballots that people who can fill out to receive a QR code that can be scanned at the polls and speed up the process. Printed sample ballots are also mailed to residents.
The deadline to register to vote in California is Oct. 19.
More information on the election, including the ability to check voter registration status and voting locations is available at lavote.net.