Registrar of Voters office
The San Diego County Registrar of Voters office in Kearny Mesa. File photo

With the June 7 primary election in California on the horizon, California Common Cause is launching an Election Protection Program in Southern California to address any trace of voter suppression, it was announced Friday.

The nonpartisan group plans to deploy 70 trained poll monitoring volunteers in Los Angeles, San Diego and Riverside counties. Riverside and San Diego counties are moving to a vote center election model starting with next week’s primary election. Los Angeles County already uses a vote center election model.

“Our democracy is strongest when every voter can make their voice heard on Election Day,” Jonathan Mehta Stein, California Common Cause Executive Director, said. “Yet we know voters routinely encounter challenges that prevent them from submitting their ballot correctly and on time. Our Election Protection Program volunteers help voters navigate the election system so that every Californian*s vote is fairly counted.”

California Common Cause has provided thousands of trained volunteers through its Election Protection Program for the past decade. The volunteers assist voters who might encounter problems, from confusing voting rules, outdated infrastructure, and other obstacles.

“No matter the year, Californians are passionate about exercising our freedom to vote,” Alesandra Lozano, California Common Cause Program Manager for Voting Rights and Redistricting, said. “But Friday we know voters face increasing barriers to casting a ballot, including targeted disinformation campaigns designed to confuse and deter voters, particularly voters of color. The Election Protection Program is a key tool in California Common Cause*s mission to protect every voter and the integrity of our election system itself.*

In addition to helping voters on Election Day, poll monitors submit reports from each voting location they visit, documenting the voter experience including wait times, tech problems, language and disability access, and compliance with state and federal law.

California Common Cause says it will publish an election report at the conclusion of the program. The report will include election data, an overview of poll monitors, measure county election administration strengths and areas for improvement.

— City News Service