L.A. County prepares for mail-in voting, Metro to provide free rides on Election Day


Samantha Bravo

An official ballot drop box was placed at the Northridge Recreational Center on Reseda Boulevard and Mayall Street. Voters are able to track their ballot by visiting california.ballottrax.net/voter.

Samantha Bravo, Assistant News Editor

This year, all registered voters will be mailed a ballot for the 2020 election. Eligible citizens have to submit their registration, with postmarked or submitted electronically by Oct.19. Same-day voter registration is also available on Election Day — Nov. 3.

As of Sept. 4, there are 5,631,164 registered voters in Los Angeles County. There are nearly one million residents who are eligible but not registered to vote, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar Recorder County Clerk press release.

There will be more than 400 secure drop boxes throughout the county, providing voters an accessible and contact-free method to return their ballot during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The drop box ballot locations near CSUN include the Northridge Branch Library, Granada Hills Branch Library, the Northridge Recreation Center and the Mid-Valley Regional Library.

CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison announced in an email that CSUN will host a voting center located in Redwood Hall Room 160 on Oct. 24 through Nov. 3.

“I encourage all eligible members of the campus community to register to vote, and then to exercise this right in the November election,” Harrison said in the email.

In her email, Harrison suggested students to visit CSUN Act Now, the campus initiative to grow student engagement in the 2020 election.

Edgar Recinos, a Chatsworth resident, turns in his ballot at the Porter Ranch Public Library ballot drop box in Porter Ranch on Monday, Oct. 5, 2020. Recinos said this is his first time mailing in his ballot. (Samantha Bravo)

To help voters, the County Clerk provided a guide to plan and cast their ballots safely this year. The County Clerk provided several methods for voters to safely send their mail-in ballots. Voters can return their ballot via a mailbox, an official drop box or at any Vote Center in L.A. County.

Voters are able to track their ballots by subscribing to “Where’s my Ballot,” to receive free personalized text messages, emails and/or automated voice messages. Voters can confirm that their ballots have been received and tallied through the Vote by Mail Status.

In partnership with the L.A. County Recorder/County Clerk office, Metro will be providing free fares on buses, rail lines and bike share on Election Day. Metro bike users will not be charged during the promotion period.

E-bike users are still required to pay a $1 unlock fee and Smart Bike users will be charged for bikes left outside of stations.

There will be in-person voting centers available beginning Oct. 24 through Election Day on Nov. 3 at Union Station West and El Monte Station. Vote-by-mail ballot boxes have also been placed at 19 rail and bus stations.

“We want to make it easy for people to reach the polls or vote by mail and cast their ballot this election,” Metro CEO Phillip Washington said in a press release. “Democracy works best when everyone participates in it and has a voice, and we want to ensure that voting is easy and accessible to all those who rely on the Metro system.”

Additionally, the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder Office will be providing mobile vote centers set up at various Metro rail and bus park-and-ride lots between Oct. 24 and Nov. 2.

L.A. Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti is working with Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials to provide voters free transportation and ballot boxes at as many stations for convenience.

[tweet to embed] https://twitter.com/mayorofla/status/1314355311696732162?s=21

“The health of our democracy depends on our participation, and we have to do everything possible to empower Americans to exercise their fundamental rights,” Garcetti said in a press release.

Voting centers will also be organized prior to Election Day. The list of voting centers will be available here.

The L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan said as many as 150 Los Angeles Unified School District schools are being evaluated to serve as an accessible voting center in the Presidential General Election.

“We’re thankful for this important and continued collaboration with the Los Angeles Unified School District to provide schools as vote centers in the upcoming Presidential General Election,” Logan said in the press release. “LAUSD’s leadership in hosting a vote center at these trusted and well-known locations ensures voters have a safe, accessible, and trusted place to cast their ballot in-person.”

These locations will become voting centers beginning on Oct. 30 through election day. The official voter information guide can be accessed here.