California’s Voter Bill of Rights

The Official Voter Information Guide for the California Primary Election on June 7, 2022 begins with the Voter Bill of Rights. It’s visually striking, consuming a whole page. Plus impressive details such as 3 ways to get a new ballot and another 3 ways to report illegal or fraudulent activity.

The Secretary of State really wants to make it easy for eligible citizens to vote. In a democracy, why wouldn’t you?

The California Voter Bill of Rights

Voter Bill of Rights

You have the following rights:

  1. The right to vote if you are a registered voter. You are eligible to vote if you are:
    • a U.S. citizen living in California at least 18 years old
    • registered where you currently live
    • not currently serving a state or federal prison term for the conviction of a felony
    • not currently found mentally incompetent to vote by a court
  2. The right to vote if you are a registered voter even if your name is not on the list. You will vote using a provisional ballot. Your vote will be counted if elections officials determine that you are eligible to vote.
  3. The right to vote if you are still in line when the polls close.
  4. The right to cast a secret ballot without anyone bothering you or telling you how to vote.
  5. The right to get a new ballot if you have made a mistake, if you have not already cast your ballot. You can:
    • Ask an elections official at a polling place for a new ballot,
    • Exchange your vote-by-mail ballot for a new one at an elections office, or at your polling place,
    • or Vote using a provisional ballot.
  6. The right to get help casting your ballot from anyone you choose, except from your employer or union representative.
  7. The right to drop off your completed vote-by-mail ballot at any polling place in California.
  8. The right to get election materials in a language other than English if enough people in your voting precinct speak that language.
  9. The right to ask questions to elections officials about election procedures and watch the election process. If the person you ask cannot answer your questions, they must send you to the right person for an answer. If you are disruptive, they can stop answering you.
  10. The right to report any illegal or fraudulent election activity to an elections official or the Secretary of State’s office.
Special Notice
  • Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on the day indicated in the posted county Voter Information Guide.
  • Specific instructions on how to vote, including how to cast a provisional ballot, can be obtained from a poll worker or by reading the information mailed to you by your local elections official.
  • If you are a newly registered voter, you may be asked to provide appropriate identification or other documentation according to federal law. But please note that every individual has the right to cast a provisional ballot even if he or she does not provide the documentation.
  • It is against the law to represent yourself as being eligible to vote unless you meet all of the requirements to vote under federal and state law.
  • It is against the law to tamper with voting equipment.

If you believe you have been denied any of these rights, call the Secretary of State’s confidential toll-free Voter Hotline at (800) 345-VOTE (8683).

Proposed: National Voter Election Code

Please forward this to your network, especially to friends living in states where voter rights are threatened:

It behooves our Congress to support legislation to create a uniform National Voter Election Code to ensure that the same rules apply for every voter relating only to the time, place and manner of elections as per Section 1.4 of the US Constitution so that a voter in West Virginia has the same rules for access to the vote as a voter in CT or GA or TX.

Congress adopted a Uniform Commercial Code after states had enacted a hodgepodge of laws making commerce chaotic. Democracies elsewhere have the same standard for voting for its citizens. It is time for the USA to do the same.

Senate Bill 1 should be renamed the National Voter Election Law and passed immediately.

Alice Schaffer Smith
Executive Director, National Voter Corps
www.nationalvotercorps.org

A Unique (but much needed) Approach to Voter Registration

Prison inmates are largely ignored when it comes to voter registration efforts. Most people – including prisoners themselves– assume they are ineligible to vote. While convicted felons cannot vote, inmates who are awaiting trial (and therefore innocent until proven guilty) or serving time for misdemeanors are actually qualified to register and vote.  Continue reading “A Unique (but much needed) Approach to Voter Registration”

Mi Familia Vota in California’s Central Valley

Are you frustrated by low voter turnout and attempts to suppress voting? Here’s a ridiculously easy way to join the fight…come to a party and donate.

Mi Familia Vota  is a national civic engagement organization that unites Latino, immigrant and allied communities to promote social and and economic justice through citizenship workshops, voter registration and voter participation.  (Check out their Introduction video.)  Continue reading “Mi Familia Vota in California’s Central Valley”