Spotlight on CVF

Young California Voters Had Mail-In Ballots Rejected At Three Times Overall Rate, Study Shows

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Every election, tens of thousands of California voters have their vote-by-mail ballots rejected, typically because they don’t arrive on time or lack a signature.

But in at least three California counties — Sacramento, Santa Clara and San Mateo — young voters had their vote-by-mail ballots disqualified at three times the overall rate, a new study shows. 

Study Finds Young Voters More Likely to Have Mail Ballots Rejected

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Young voters are more likely to have their mail ballots rejected than older voters, according to a study out Monday examining voting in Sacramento, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties in the 2018 general election.

The research published by the nonpartisan California Voter Foundation highlights one of the greatest challenges for California's shift towards expanded vote-by-mail this election: the number of ballots that are returned, but not counted because they were mailed too late or lacked an accurate voter signature.

Counting votes

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California is notoriously slow counting all the ballots and calling final election results. This November will likely take even more time with a record avalanche of mail ballots expected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While it’s still seven weeks until Election Day, that’s the message officials are already trying to get out in hopes of avoiding confusion and concern among voters.

How To Vote This November

With the 2020 election just over two months away, it’s time to start thinking about the logistics of voting. To make voting easier and safer during the pandemic, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill back in May to mail every active registered voter a ballot. But many voters have concerns, such as questions about signature requirements and how to cast a ballot if you’re experiencing homelessness or displacement and don’t have a mailing address. These issues are compounded by the pressure put on the already-struggling U.S. Postal Service to handle an expected record number of mail-in ballots.

Navigating 2020's Turbulent Election Season

Description

With no end in sight for the Covid-19 pandemic, the November elections are shaping up to be an unprecedented test of the nation’s voting system. So, on this edition of KCBS In Depth, as election officials surge vote by mail systems and harden polling places, we take a closer look at the effort to create a socially distanced election. Then in the second half we speak with a longtime election reform advocate about what voters need to know to make sure their votes do indeed get counted this fall. 

Guests

Kim Alexander with California Voter Foundation

Kim Alexander is president of the California Voter Foundation (CVF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization she re-founded in 1994 and dedicated to improving the voting process to better serve voters, online at www.calvoter.org. CVF is a longtime leader in advancing the responsible use of technology in the democratic process, by pioneering online voter education, online campaign finance disclosure, and voter-verified paper ballot records and auditing requirements for computerized voting systems.

So How Many Votes Have Been Cast In OC and LA So Far?

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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.”

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