Seng So, APEN Electoral Organizer
2020 has been a year like no other. Millions of acres of land have been consumed by fires and communities across the state have been displaced. On Labor Day weekend, we experienced some of the hottest weather on record: Woodland Hills reached a record breaking 121℉. September marks the umpteenth month into a global pandemic that has shuttered us in our homes, infected people in the tens of millions and has laid bare the vast inequities that exist between working-class, immigrant and refugee communities and the rich. And in the midst of all of this we are in the throes of a historic social uprising in defense of Black life.
This is the backdrop of which we enter the elections, less than 40 days away.
But as we have done in times of crisis before, our communities come together to provide for one another. Community-rooted organizations have launched efforts to provide resources, rent support and culturally relevant health and safety information for families in need. Teachers are finding creative ways to teach classes online. Essential workers are stepping up to provide for communities. And young people across the state are mobilizing for long-term solutions to address the gaps exposed by the pandemic.
All of this leading up to an election with so much at stake. Our livelihood, health, and the ability to determine our future are on the line.
In 2016 we launched the first ever California Asian Pacific Islander Voter Guide to offer vision-aligned guidance on statewide ballot measures. This year’s Voter Guide recognizes the urgency in the fight to secure a better future for our families and communities and calls upon us all to make sure our voices are heard this election cycle. A #JustRecovery for our communities means that we need to mobilize to the polls and vote for the future we want.
The pandemic has shifted how we are able to vote this year. Taking into account health precautions, access to the polls and potential delays in mail voting, here are important things you should know about voting this year.
HOW TO VOTE:
- REGISTER. Register to vote by October 19th! You can check your voter registration and register to vote here.
- VOTE-BY-MAIL. In California, all active registered voters will automatically receive a vote-by-mail ballot. Ballots will be mailed out on October 5th. To check if your ballot has been mailed, use the vote-by-mail ballot tracker or contact your local county elections office. Drop off the vote-by-mail ballot at a drop-off center or mailbox. Vote-by-mail ballots must be postmarked on or before 8:00pm on November 3rd.
- VOTE IN-PERSON. If you’re voting in-person, vote early to beat the lines! Early voting begins on October 24th, and the last day to vote is November 3rd. Click here to find your polling location and see where early voting is offered.
- USE THE VOTER GUIDE: Please refer to the California Asian Pacific Islander Voter Guide for guidance around this year’s statewide ballot measures.
Other important things to know:
- Vote-by-mail ballot tracker: You can track your ballot to see when it’s mailed, received, and counted by signing up at WheresMyBallot.sos.ca.gov.
- Vote early: Due to the pandemic, expect delays in mailing and long lines at the limited polls locations that will be open. It is important this year to submit your ballots early.
- Language access: CA offers language assistance for voters in 14 Asian languages. To find out what language assistance is available, contact your county elections office. Call to (800) 345-VOTE (8683) to find your county office.