Updated October 6, 2020
2020 is an Election Year, as you may have heard, and Voting in Los Angeles County has completely changed. We want you to know as much as possible before you head to the polls. Earlier this year, LA County voters began using new voting machines and were able to vote in hundreds of new places.
And in the November election, all Californians have been sent a Mail-in ballot, too.
We are not here to make endorsements of any candidates or ballot measures. We just want to share information on how to vote.
General Overview and Important Dates:
Like everything else this year, Election Day looks very different. Tuesday, November 3rd is officially Election Day. But Election Day isn’t just One Day anymore. Families can vote and return their ballots in multiple ways over multiple days starting as early as Monday, October 5th.
The last day to register to vote is Monday, October 19th.
A Few Good Websites:
- https://lavote.net: Any questions that aren’t answered here, you can find on this site.
- https://locator.lavote.net/locations/vc: A list of Voting Center locations throughout Los Angeles County can be found here.
- https://vote.gov: For general, nation-wide voting information. This way you can help make sure family members across the county have the information they need to cast their votes.
- https://california.ballottrax.net/voter/: This site gets rid of the guesswork. Follow the directions at the site, and you can track your ballot – when it is mailed, when it is received, and when it is counted.
How To Vote:
Here’s what you can expect. All registered voters in California will be sent a vote-by-mail ballot complete with prepaid, first class postage return envelope.
Once you mark your ballot, you have three options.
- 1. You can send your ballot through the mail. No additional stamp is required. All ballots must be postmarked by November 3rd.
- 2. You can deliver your ballot to a drop-box. Counties throughout the state will offer secure drop boxes where you can place your completed ballot. All ballots must be dropped off by 8:00 pm on Tuesday, November 3rd.
- 3. You can return your ballot in-person. A variety of polling centers and voting centers will be operating throughout the city including such iconic sites as Staples Center and the Pantages Theatre. Additionally, many voting locations will be open before Election Day. All ballots must be dropped off by 8:00 pm on Tuesday, November 3rd.
New Voting System in LA County
This voting system was introduced in the March 2020 election, but some voters may not be familiar with it.
The Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters, which runs our elections, has information about the new machines and how to use them, as well as a list of all the new voting locations, on their website. This year you can vote at ANY location, not just the polling place you’re used to.
Be sure to check out their website LAVote.net to find everything from a list of all the polling places to a video demo of the new voting machines.
Where can I Vote in Los Angeles?
There’s a list of all the possible places to vote in Los Angeles on the County’s website, which are now called Vote Centers. The idea was to make it easier for people to vote by having Vote Centers located near homes, schools and jobs. There are hundreds of Vote Centers all around the County.
Some Vote Centers are open for the entire 10 days, and some are only going to be open the 4 days prior to March 3rd. There’s a handy zip code search function so you can find the polling place that is most convenient for you.
Some of the coolest places to vote in LA County:
- Dodger Stadium
- Hammer Museum
- Universal CityWalk
- Grand Central Market
- The Music Center
- Union Station
- Staples Center
- The Hollywood Bowl
Why Has LA County Made This Change?
The new voting system is supposed to make voting faster, easier and more convenient. But as with anything that’s new, it will take some getting used to.
Can I still vote on Paper at a Polling Place (I mean Vote Center)?
No, the old style of paper ballot will not be used in LA County. The new touch-screen voting machines are the way we will now vote. They include multiple languages, font-size adjustment, a tactile keypad, optional headphones for hearing assistance, and once you’re done voting, a paper ballot print-out will be issued.
Can I still Vote by Mail in LA County?
Yes, you’ll still be able to Vote by Mail, even with the new voting system. Please check the LAVote.net website to find out how and when to request a mail-in ballot.
Voting in the Presidential Primary
If you are not a member of a political party (if you are registered as “no party preference” or “decline to state”), you will not see any presidential candidates on your ballot unless you take an extra step and request a different ballot for one of the parties that allows voting from unaffiliated voters. If you vote at the polls, you can request in person, but if you vote by mail, you need to fill out a postcard and mail it back in.
You can find out more info on How to Vote for President on the CA Secretary of State’s website.
No matter how or when you vote, you hope you take full advantage of the rights we have as part of this American democracy.