Aware that the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted Latinos in their health and economy, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla asked voters in the Latino community to vote by mail in the November presidential elections .
“There is nothing more convenient if they are afraid of exposing themselves. Too easy. If you haven’t done it before maybe now is the time to convince yourself, register to vote if you are not registered, update your registration, wait for your ballot by mail the first week of October, vote, send it back and stay safe in your home.to”.
During the videoconference “Access and Security When Voting During the Pandemic: Is California Ready?” Hosted by Ethnic Media Services, Secretary Padilla said he would like people to see November 3 not as the official election day, even though it is, but as the last day to vote.
And he explained that in his role not only as secretary of state but as head of elections for California, he works in partnership with all 58 California counties, to ensure that elections are accessible and safe for voters and poll workers given the COVID pandemic. -19.
“California doesn’t just have the largest and most diverse population. We have the largest and most diverse constituency with voters from all backgrounds, with all kinds of language preferences and cultural experiences. And at the end of the day, any citizen of the United States 18 years of age or older is eligible to register and vote. “
He made it clear that many of the policies that California have been advocating for years to increase access and participation make even more sense during this COVID-19 pandemic, starting with vote-by-mail.
“So the first decision we make is that every active registered voter will receive a ballot in the mail before the November election. Just as a point of reference, we know that in March more than 70% of the votes were by mail ”.
However, he remarked that the remaining 30% of Californians are still a large number of people who may not be as familiar or comfortable with voting by mail.
So they are going to motivate people to see voting by mail as the first and safest option.
“Mail-in ballots will begin shipping the first week of October, and must be returned postmarked on or before Election Day, and can arrive three days after the election and still be counted.”
He pointed out that they are extending that deadline to 17 days for this month of November in case there are delays in the postal service.
Trust in the vote
And to build trust in the mail they have expanded the ballot tracking tool across the state. “Now any voter in the United States will be able to see the status of their ballot. And at the end of the process, they can get a confirmation email when the county has received their ballot and when it has been counted, so that’s great for transparency and great for accountability.
Where is my ballot ?, he explained, is the name of a program that describes a tracking tool through which voters can register to receive alerts on the status of their ballot. “More than 900,000 California voters have already registered. I encourage people to subscribe. “
Vote in person
The secretary of state said they work with counties to make sure in-person voting is available and public health is integrated into the voting experience by including face masks, physical distancing, hand sanitizer and more.
And because of the pandemic, they are going to replace residential garages or retirement homes as voting centers with bigger, smarter and safer locations.
In some of the larger cities, he revealed, there are a few high-profile locations that will serve as polling stations, including the Golden One Center in Sacramento, the first NBA stadium, Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, the Chase Center in San Francisco, the Oakland Coliseum and the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The secretary of state acknowledged that there was a record registration for the March primaries and voter registration continues to grow.
“Therefore, we encourage people who are eligible to register to register to vote immediately. They can easily do it online. For people who are already registered, we encourage you to check the status of your registration to make sure it is up to date and up to date, especially your postal address. “
He also encouraged people to share an email address as part of their voter registration so that they can stay in touch with them if there are updates or changes around November 3. “
He recalled that the deadline to register to vote in the November elections is October 19, but voters who did not comply can still take advantage of the registration on the same day.
However, he specified that to register on the same day, you must appear in person at any polling place.