Wave Wire Services
LOS ANGELES — Early in-person voting for the Nov. 3 General Election began Oct. 5 at the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s headquarters in Norwalk, and registered voters should begin receiving vote-by-mail ballots later this week.
State and county officials are urging voters to use their mail-in ballots and return them early. The ballots do not require postage and can be dropped off either at any post office or nearly 400 drop boxes set up around the county for the election. Beginning Oct. 24, ballots can also be dropped — without standing in line — at any of the hundreds of vote centers set to open for in-person voting.
“For the first time, every active, registered voter in California will have a vote-by-mail ballot in hand weeks before the election,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. “This expansion of vote-by-mail will maintain the resiliency of our democracy during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no safer way for voters to vote than from the comfort and safety of home. And with multiple layers of security — ballot watermarks, unique barcodes on each vote-by-mail ballot return envelope, required signature verification, and ballot tracking — Californians can vote-by-mail with confidence.”
Voters curious to track their ballot, from mailing to counting, can sign up at https://california.ballottrax.net/voter/ or through plan.lavote.net and receive automatic notifications of each step along the way. Officials also reminded voters to sign their ballot envelope to ensure that it is counted.
Voters who prefer to cast a vote in person can do so at any one of hundreds of voting centers — including Staples Center, Dodgers Stadium, SoFi Stadium, the Hollywood Bowl and many Los Angeles Unified School District campuses across the region — regardless of where they live.
All public health and safety guidelines will be followed, and voters will be required to wear a mask unless they opt to vote curbside. More than 115 centers will open Oct. 24 and another 650 locations are slated to become available as of Oct. 30.
“People [can] cast their vote in a safe and secure way despite the challenges that we’re facing in our community related to the pandemic,” Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan said during a public Zoom information session Oct. 1. “We’re taking every precaution to ensure the health and safety of our voters as well as our election workers.”
Maps of the drop-off ballot boxes and vote centers are now accessible online, and Logan is encouraging residents to make a plan to vote early.
County Supervisor Janice Hahn said the drop-off or vote-by-mail system are the safest ways to vote amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“All you have to do is put your ballot in the mail or at one of the 398 drop boxes across L.A. County,” Hahn said.
People can also take their completed vote-by-mail ballot and “skip the line” to drop it off in-person at any vote center.
A large-scale, multimedia, multilingual campaign has been undertaken to spread a message that vote-by-mail ballots are convenient to use and can be dropped at the post office, any vote center or at nearly 400 drop boxes set up around the county. Ballots will be picked up every 72 hours and as Election Day nears, on a 24-hour schedule.
“Our democracy really depends on people participating,” said Jeff Klein, the Registar-Recorder/County Clerk’s manager of civic engagement. “We have a lot of people eligible to vote, but not everyone is registered and not as many people as we would like participate in the election.”
There are 6.1 million eligible voters in the county, 5.6 million of whom have already registered to vote. However, only 38% of registered voters turned out for the March primary, Klein said.
The map of vote centers and their availability can be found at locator.lavote.net/locations/vc. The locations of drop-off ballot boxes can be found at locator.lavote.net/locations/vbm/.
More information can be found at LAVote.net