Good-Government Groups Recruit Nonpartisan Poll Monitors, Prep Voters

Suzanne Potter | California News Service
A study from Common Cause found that the 2020 election, which was the first with universal mail-in ballots in California, saw the highest voter turnout in state history. Around 81% of registered voters cast a ballot. Photo Credit: 3desc / Adobestock

The June 7 midterm primary election is less than two months away, and clean-elections groups are working to clear up misconceptions and recruit nonpartisan poll monitors to make sure things go smoothly.

During the pandemic, the state started sending mail-in ballots to every registered voter, and last fall the Legislature made it permanent.

Alesandra Lozano, voting rights and redistricting program manager for California Common Cause, said many voters mistakenly thought the state did away with in-person voting.

“We’ve been encountering a lot of folks who think that we are exclusively a vote-by-mail state now because of the passage of Assembly Bill 37,” Lozano observed. “We’re reminding people that they have multiple options now whether it’s by mail or in person.”

Ballots will be mailed out in about a month. Six years ago, state lawmakers passed the Voter’s Choice Act, which allowed counties to expand early voting and set up local vote centers, with the option to reduce the number of neighborhood polling places.

For the June primary, Riverside and San Diego counties will transition to this model. People can go to their county registrar’s website to find out the closest place to vote.

Lozano pointed out Common Cause is also recruiting about 200 nonpartisan volunteers to do spot checks in those counties plus Los Angeles, to make sure polling places are set up correctly and election materials are translated into other languages, where it is legally required.

“Those folks are responsible for making sure that all is well and good that the location is complying with all state laws,” Lozano emphasized. “And also answering any questions that voters might have.”

Voters also should be aware redistricting means they may be in a new legislative district, with new candidates running. The last day to register to vote is May 23rd. You can sign up for texts to track your ballot at

Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.