Faced with the social distancing requirements of the COVID-19 pandemic and complaints from voters about long lines and long waits to vote in the March 3 Presidential primary election, the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County will provide vote-by-mail ballots for the Nov. 3 general election.
Supervisors Janice Hahn and Sheila Kuehl proposed the change to election protocols that typically send vote-by-mail ballots only on request at the April 28 meeting of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors. Now the County Clerk’s office will mail ballots to all registered voters.
The Stay at Home mandate likely will have been lifted by November, but even if some restrictions are lifted at that time, public health officials expect some form of social distancing will be required longer term in order to prevent a new surge of COVID-19 cases. As a result, in-person voting locations could be hard-pressed to recruit election workers or accommodate the need for social distancing while meeting voter demand.
“Nothing, including all the challenges related to COVID-19, should be allowed to prevent voters from casting their ballots in November,” Kuehl said.
California Elections Code dictates that Los Angeles County send vote- by-mail ballots to all registered voters by 2024, so the board’s move simply accelerates that process.
The City of West Hollywood is encouraging residents who are already registered to vote to verify their address and voter registration status online at http://www.lavote.net. Those who will be 18 years of age on Nov. 3 should register to vote there now. The deadline to register to vote for the Nov. 3 general election is Oct. 19.
The city’s elections page, www.weho.org/elections, provides detailed election information and links to the California Secretary of State’s voter gegistration page, the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder’s website, and links to find specific information about how to apply to vote by mail, and sample ballots.