Culture

California ballot tracking, security and counting. What you need to know about mail-in voting


You found your mail-in ballot between the pizza coupons and the power bill, researched the candidates and propositions, marked your choices and now you’re ready to send it off to be counted.

But this year, with President Donald Trump and lawmakers in Washington freaking everybody out about possible fraud and trouble voting, even the most seasoned voters are worrying about what happens next.

Is the mail really reliable? Can that drop-box in front of the library be trusted? How do election officials make sure my vote isn’t hacked by the Russians or that my shifty-looking neighbor doesn’t get to vote twice?

Welcome to the Journey of a California Ballot. In the spirit of Schoolhouse Rock, the Bay Area News Group has produced a special election video that lets you tag along to see what happens to your vote.

California’s election officials and post office insist they’re making the ballot’s trip as smooth as possible.

“From beginning to end, there are security measures in place to ensure vote by mail is safe,” California Chief Deputy Secretary of State James Schwab said during a recent voting webinar hosted by the University of California Advocacy Network. “Voter fraud is extremely rare and isolated.”

And indeed, no credible analysis to date has found evidence of fraud in the numbers needed to swing even a razor-close U.S. election.

Here’s how mail-in voting works in California and what’s different this year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The surge in mail-in ballots

More than 21.2 million Californians — roughly 85% of the eligible population of the Golden State — had registered to vote as of Sept. 4. That’s the highest percentage registered ahead of a general election in the past 68 years. It’s also more than the entire populations of every state in the country but Texas and — barely — Florida.

And because of the pandemic, every active registered voter in California will automatically receive a ballot — printed on watermarked paper at a facility certified by the state — in the mail this year, meaning they won’t have to go to a polling place. Translation: Lots of ballots for the postal service to deliver.

Last presidential election, roughly 58% of Californians who voted did so by mail.

In a few states, like Oregon, mail-in voting was the norm before the coronavirus. But in other states, millions of people who typically vote in person have requested mail-in ballots, and many of them will have to follow strict rules that voter advocacy groups worry could cause confusion and invalid ballots. In Pennsylvania, for instance, voters need to put their ballot in an envelope and then into another envelope to vote correctly. Only one envelope is required in California, but voters here have to be sure to sign it before they send it on its way.

NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 17: Dozens of mail boxes sit in the parking lot of a post office on Lafayette Avenue on August 17, 2020 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Mayor Bill De Blasio has called for an investigation after receiving reports …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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