By Jesus Alcala Avalos
This year’s general election will occur on November 3rd. Voters will be able to decide who they support on a wide variety of candidates and issues. Most Californians should have received their mail-in ballots or they will be able to vote in-person at their local polling place. Citizens in California’s Riverside County will be able to vote in-person from October 31st to November 3rd.
“Voting is a civic responsibility. Especially in community college students who have an opportunity to create change that can affect their education and the job market they will enter. Use the ability to vote to improve this country that they will inherit as the next leaders of this nation,” wrote Michael Rabi, political science instructor at Mt. San Jacinto College.
Students will get to participate in the state’s popular vote for the president. The results of that popular vote determine how the state’s electors will vote in the electoral college. If voters like the last four years of President Donald J. Trump, voters can show their support by voting for him in this election. If voters do not like the last four years of Trump or support Biden or another third party candidate, they can then vote for Biden or a third party candidate.
Voters also get to vote on representatives for the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate, which make up Congress. The 2020 United States House of Representatives elections will also be held on November 3, 2020, with special elections throughout the year. Elections will be held to elect representatives from all 435 congressional districts across each of the 50 U.S. states.The six non-voting delegates from the District of Columbia and the inhabited U.S. territories will also be elected. Senate elections are different and rotate every two years, thus California does not have any Senate seats up for election in 2020.
After researching your representative, if voters like how the representative has voted on issues during their term, voters can show their support by voting for them again. Otherwise, voters have the option of voting for the opposing candidate.
While the elections for President and Congress get the most media attention, local elections have the greatest impact on everyday life. The state Governor and legislators are in charge of the pandemic response while the city council is in charge of parks, police, and fire department. California’s governor is not up for election this year, but voters are able to vote for members to the state legislature and the city council. Again, voters are advised to research them and vote accordingly.
Depending on the voting address, voters may also get to vote for the Board of Trustees of your local community college. MSJC will have three seats up for election. MSJC’s Political Science Club hosted forums where each candidate gave answers to questions prepared by the student body. Voters are advised to research each candidate before voting.
Even if voters don’t care about the politicians, Californians will be able to vote on propositions. This year, there are 12 California propositions on a wide variety of topics, so there are lots of opportunities to vote on a variety of issues.
Proposition 16 will allow the state government to factor race, sex, ethnicity, and national origin when hiring or awarding contracts. Proposition 21 will allow local governments to enact rent control. Proposition 22 will exempt ride-share and delivery apps from providing employee benefits.
California’s Voter Information Guide has detailed information on each proposition, such as arguments and fiscal impact.
If voters happen to be overwhelmed by the amount of choices, voters do not have to vote for everything on the ballot. This means that voters can skip any section that they do not have a strong opinion on. The voting machine may warn voters about not voting in a particular field, but the voter can skip any section.
The next step is to find a local polling station.
Californians can register to vote on the same day that you vote. If you do register the same day, you will receive a provisional ballot. The provisional ballot is placed in an envelope so that it won’t be counted until the registration is accepted by the county.
Provisional ballots are also given to voters that want to change or update their registration. Information in the voting database may be outdated and updating this information will require the voter to vote provisionally.
Most Californians have already received their ballots through the mail. If voters haven’t received one, made a mistake on your ballot, or have not registered to vote they can then go to an in-person polling place. Voters are asked to bring the mail-in ballot if possible.
What can voters expect
- The voter will be directed to the sanitation table, where they will be offered a mask and sanitizer.
- The voter will fill out a form with personal information that will be verified by an election officer.
- The election officer will print two labels and give one to an assistant.
- The assistant will start the voting machine.
- The voter can then vote.
- The voter will then print the ballot and drop it into the collection box.
With a vote, citizens can help shape the future of the nation and community.