CVF in the News

By Ben Christopher, CAL Matters, October 16, 2020


In a press conference seemingly designed to deescalate a week-long legal standoff, declare victory and profoundly confuse the California press corps, Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Secretary of State Alex Padilla said they would not be taking legal action against the California Republican Party for its makeshift ballot box program. 

But the two Democrats insisted that the GOP had changed policy in response to their warnings — a claim the Republicans denied. 

“We are not going to mother or shepherd someone through every day of activity, but what we are trying to do is make it clear what the law requires,” said Becerra, two days after he threatened the California Republican Party with criminal prosecution. 

By Zach Fuentes, ABC 10, October 16, 2020


If you are planning to vote by mail this year, the deadline to register to vote is Monday, October 19.

If you register to vote after Monday and vote in person, you’ll be casting a conditional or provisional ballot. Those only get counted after officials have finished verifying your information which could be after Election Day.

More than 2 million voters in California have already returned their ballots.

Kim Alexander, of the California Voter Foundation, explains just what ballot harvesting is.

By Mike Duffy, ABC 10, October 14, 2020


The term “ballot harvesting” is all over the news after the California Republican Party admitted to placing "unofficial" ballot drop boxes in a number of counties around the state. 

Elections officials say it is illegal, but Republicans argue the drop boxes are a legal form of ballot collection.

Kim Alexander, president and founder of the California Voter Foundation, said ballot harvesting is also known as “third party ballot return” and it allows a designated person to deliver a voter’s ballot for them. The process isn’t new but how it’s conducted and what is allowed has changed over the years.

Prior to 2013, a voter had to be ill or disabled for someone else to return their ballot for them. Plus, that person had to be a family member or a member of the same household.

By Tami Abdollah, dot.LA, October 13, 2020


Minutes into filling out my absentee ballot last week, I was momentarily distracted by my dog Seamus. A moment later, I realized in horror that I was filling in the wrong bubble -- accidentally voting "no" on a ballot measure that I meant to vote "yes" on.

It was only a few ink marks, but it was noticeable enough. Trying to fix my mistake, I darkly and fully filled in the correct circle and then, as if testifying to an error on a check, put my initials next to the one I wanted.

Then I worried. As a reporter who has previously covered election security for years, I went on a mini-quest trying to understand how a small mistake can have larger repercussions. 

By Madeleine Brand, KCRW, October 13, 2020


The unofficial ballot drop box controversy isn’t the only reason U.S. voters are anxious. People also have questions about mail-in voting, such as how to know if they signed in the right place, and whether their signatures will be recognized.

Kim Alexander, president of California Voter Foundation, says to make sure your ballot signature looks like the one on your driver’s license. 

“If there is a problem with your signature … it doesn’t happen a lot, but it is one of the leading reasons ballots get rejected. Before your ballot would be rejected, your county has to contact you and provide you with a chance to submit a new signature,” Alexander says. “So this is a good reason to sign up for ballot tracking because you will get notified immediately if there is a problem with your ballot or your signature."

But people can end up making all sorts of mistakes. 

By David Rosenfeld and Ryan Carter, Los Angeles Daily News, October 9, 2020


It wasn’t exactly news to Jonathan Savell that the previous owner of the home he purchased seven years ago was deceased. He bought it on probate.

But when two vote-by-mail ballots showed up this week, one for him and one for the previous owner, it made him wonder about the integrity of the November election. Due to the coronavirus, this is the first year every active voter in the state received a mail-in ballot.

“Everybody has concerns about integrity and stuff. I think that it is not a partisan issue,” said Savell, who lives in Inglewood. “Everybody should be worried. Anyone has the capability of cheating if something is sent their way.”

By Ben Christopher, Cal Matters, October 9, 2020


When the ballots arrived in Susan Lambert’s mailbox earlier this week, everyone in the house was accounted for. There was one for her, one for her husband, and two for her adult step-sons.

And then there was the one for George.

Lambert, a playwright, producer and writer who lives in Pasadena, didn’t recognize the name. There wasn’t a George among her neighbors, nor was it the name of the prior owner of the home, which she bought 13 years ago.

Lambert’s husband shrugged and chucked the extra ballot in the recycling. 

More than 21 million ballots are now in various stages of transit across California. They are in mail trucks and mail boxes. Some are sitting on kitchen tables unopened and others have already been filled out and shipped back to county election offices.

By KQED News Staff, KQED, October 9, 2020

Private Firefighters Accused of Allegedly Setting Illegal Backfires

State fire officials are investigating several private firefighters for allegedly setting illegal backfires to protect some structures threatened by the Glass Fire in the wine country.

Some Call for a Less Partisan Election Chief in California

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla is charged with overseeing the state's elections. But he's also a Democrat, who has to face his own election every four years. Some election experts think the job needs a fundamental overhaul.
Reporter: Scott Shafer, KQED

Jackie Lacey and George Gascón Square Off in LA County District Attorney Race

By Lara Korte, The Sacramento Bee, October 9, 2020


President Donald Trump last week again brought into question the integrity of the upcoming election by suggesting, without evidence, that voters could engage in fraud at polling places. 

“Go into the polls and watch very carefully,” Trump said at the first presidential debate against Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Since the debate, Trump and his campaign have continued calls for poll watchers, calling on an “Army for Trump.” 

Although every registered California voter will receive a mail-in ballot this week, most counties will still offer physical polling locations for those who want to cast a ballot in person. For those who want to, state law allows the public to observe many aspects of the election process — from preparation of voting equipment to the canvass of the vote after Election Day. 

By Pat Beall, Catharina Felke, Jackie Hajdenberg, Elizabeth Mulvey, Aseem Shukla, Front Line, October 8, 2020


In a normal election year in any given state, hundreds or even thousands of absentee ballots get tossed for everything from late postmarks to open envelopes.

North Carolina rejected 546 ballots for missing witness signatures in the 2012 presidential race. Virginia tossed 216 ballots in the 2018 midterms because they arrived in an unofficial envelope. Arizona discarded 1,516 ballots for non-matching signatures the same year.

The 2020 presidential election will not be normal.

Absentee ballot rejections this November are projected to reach historic levels, risking widespread disenfranchisement of minority voters and the credibility of election results, a USA Today Network, Columbia Journalism Investigations and FRONTLINE investigation found.