CVF in the News

By John Myers, Los Angeles Times, May 8, 2020

Excerpts:

Citing public health concerns over millions of Californians showing up at voting locations this fall, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday ordered ballots to be mailed to the state’s 20.6 million voters for the November election while insisting there will need to also be new rules for anyone who participates in person.

The decision makes California the first state in the nation to temporarily shift to all-mail voting as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic — prompted, Newsom said, by the likelihood that public health conditions will not have improved to a level at which millions of people could show up on a single day to cast a ballot.

“There’s a lot of excitement around this November’s election in terms of making sure that you can conduct yourself in a safe way, and make sure your health is protected,” Newsom said during a midday event.

By John Myers, Los Angeles Times, May 4, 2020

Excerpts:

SACRAMENTO — California’s 2020 presidential primary officially entered the history books Friday, as state officials certified a final tally and a rate of voter turnout that, while one of the highest in recent elections, still saw fewer than half of the state’s registered voters cast a ballot.

In all, 46.89% of registered voters cast ballots in the March 3 primary, which was moved up from June with hopes that turnout would be high and presidential candidates would be forced to address issues mattering most to Californians. Turnout was noticeably lower in Los Angeles County, where 38% of voters showed up. It was one of three counties tied for the second-lowest turnout in the state.

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By Ben Chistopher, CalMatters, April 28, 2020

Excerpt:

This coming November, every one of California’s more than 20 million registered voters may receive a ballot in the mail — whether they ask for one or not. In fact, many election administrators and advocates say it’s inevitable.

“It’s not a question of ‘if,’ said Kim Alexander, the president of the California Voter Foundation. “But ‘how.’”

California is already ahead of the curve when it comes to voting from home. In the March primary election, 75% of voters got a ballot in their mailbox. But the exigencies of social distancing are putting pressure on state lawmakers to round that up to 100%, ensuring that every registered voter has the option to cast a ballot without having to physically crowd into a polling place.    

By Tim Foster & John Howard, Capitol Weekly, April 20, 2020

Following the harrowing scenes of voters braving long lines and exposure to the coronavirus during Wisconsin’s primary election last week, there is a renewed discussion of the importance of vote-by-mail options.

California has long been a leader in this area, but could we see an all mail-in election by November? Kim Alexander of the California Voter Foundation joins the Capitol Weekly Podcast’s Tim Foster and John Howard to chat about the positives and negatives of vote-by-mail, and she offers some surprises — including the high number of rejected mail-in ballots and the lowdown on voter fraud.

(Listen to podcast)

By Laurel Rosenhall, CalMatters, March 27, 2020

Excerpt:

Initiative proponents have until the end of April to collect the signatures they need to put their ideas on the ballot — and with millions of Californians staying home, some campaigns won't have time to collect enough signatures. 

California voters may experience a small silver lining amid the coronavirus pandemic: a shorter November ballot, featuring fewer of the statewide propositions that often put voters in the middle of confusing industry fights. 

Initiative proponents have until the end of April to collect the signatures they need to put their ideas on the ballot — and with millions of Californians staying home, and practicing social distancing when they go out, it may be impossible for some campaigns to collect enough signatures in time. 

By Maris Lagos, KQED Radio News, March 27, 2020

Excerpt:

California officials say the state will be ready for the November general election, despite the coronavirus pandemic. But questions remain about key issues, including whether groups pushing ballot measures will be able to collect signatures before the June deadline given current social distancing requirements.

It also remains unclear whether traditional polling places will be up and running by the fall, given concerns about the virus. In the March 3 primary election, 75 percent of registered voters in California received a vote-by-mail ballot — and Secretary of State Alex Padilla said he is confident that counties can expand that number to all voters by the fall.

Padilla said his office is working with counties to ensure that by November, anyone who wants a ballot in the mail gets one — and safe opportunities will be available for people to vote in person if they prefer.

By Saul Gonzalez, KQED's California Report, March 5, 2020

Many voters in Los Angeles County had to stand in line for hours to vote on Super Tuesday. There were reports of glitchy equipment and confused staff, even though L.A. County was using new touch screen machines that were supposed to make voting faster and more convenient.

Guest: Kim Alexander, president of the California Voter Foundation (audio)

By Rebecca Plevin, Desert Sun, March 4, 2020

Excerpts:

Chuck Yates arrived at his Palm Springs polling place on Super Tuesday, prepared to vote by paper ballot as he always has. But things didn’t go as he had planned.

“I showed up, I gave my name and they said, ‘you voted by mail,’’ he said. “I said, ‘no, I didn’t.’”

A poll worker handed him a provisional ballot, which he begrudgingly filled out.

Two other longtime Coachella Valley voters told The Desert Sun they had similar experiences. They said they went to their polling places on Election Day, intending to vote in-person, only to be told they had received a mail-in ballot at home. They said poll workers offered them the option of casting a provisional ballot.

By Aaron Mendelson, LAist, March 4, 2020

Excerpt:

Combined with more than half a million votes that the registrar has received through the mail, that would already represent a 13% turnout for L.A. County, if all the votes cast so far are counted.

The new system has its advantages, says Kim Alexander of the California Voter Foundation, a voter outreach and research nonprofit. She said there have been bumps as the new system has been rolled out, but called the vote centers “a good fail safe for a place like Los Angeles where we have millions of voters.”

There are nearly a thousand voting centers to choose from, but many longtime polling places won’t be open this year.

I caught up with Alexander while she was driving between vote centers in Watts and Culver City to see how the new system was working.

She said she saw lines growing this morning, which could signal long waits tomorrow.

By The Associated Press, New York Times, March 4, 2020

Excerpt:

A series of changes in California meant to boost voter turnout and smooth its new Super Tuesday primary election led to a surge in last-minute voters, computer problems and short-staffing that appeared to catch elections officials by surprise, triggering scathing criticism Wednesday. 

Long lines, sluggish computer connections and general confusion plagued polling places statewide — raising serious questions about the ability of the most populous state to handle November's general election, when millions more voters are expected. Critics called for an overhaul before then.

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