Published: Thursday, 1 October 2020
This year there are two propositions on California’s ballot meant to target voter inequity. Proposition 17, which guarantees the right to vote for people on parole for felony convictions, and Proposition 19, which allows 17-year-olds to vote in primaries if they will be 18 by the time of the general election.
More Equal Access
The passing of the Equal Rights Act in 1965 did not make voting completely accessible for all, but it did make tremendous strides toward it. Not only did it reaffirm the right to vote for Black Americans and provide new protections, it also paved the way for improving the voting experience for Americans with disabilities. All voters have the right to vote privately and independently, to have an accessible polling place with a voting machine for voters with disabilities and to seek assistance from poll workers who have been trained to use the accessible voting machine. If you have additional questions about accessible election materials, visit the U.S. Election Assistance Commission here or reach out via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Both voters with disabilities and voters whose first language is not English are able to bring someone to help them vote. If you would prefer to read your ballot in another language, you can request one be mailed to you with your ballot (if you vote from home) or at the polling location. Not all languages are available at all polling locations, so checking with your county election office either online or by phone first is highly recommended. Other information about voting in languages other than English can be found at https://www.eac.gov/election-officials/language-access.
Checking Your Registration
To check if you’re registered to vote, or to register/re-register, head over to http://asicsulb.org/vote2020! Even if you’ve previously registered, confirming your registration status and catching up on the additional voter information is essential . As measures like Proposition 17 and 19 seek to expand voting rights, now is an important time to reflect on the expansion of voting rights in the past. When the United States of America was founded, only property-owning white men could vote. Through protesting, lobbying, a civil war, more protesting and grassroots organizing, voting rights have expanded to include people of all religions, abilities, genders and races. However, not all voting rights have yet to be made equal. Inmates cannot vote in the large majority of states, nor can felons on parole. Additionally, states have different regulations regarding ID laws and voter-registration purges which often directly and/or indirectly impact people of color at higher rates than their non-marganalized peers. Even the location of polling places can disproportionately serve some communities over others. Voting for representatives and ballot measures is fundamental to ensure that everyone is equally represented in our democratic process. Check out CALmatters’ nonpartisan, one-minute videos for detailed information on each proposition at https://calmatters.org/election-2020-guide/.
For all other voter information, be sure to visit www.csulb.edu/vote.
This article was written as a part of the ASI Student Government advocacy series by Isabel Cameron, a third year student at CSULB double majoring in Political Science and Economics, serving as member of Lobby Corps.