Adventures in Democracy – Adopt-a-poll for the March 3rd Election!

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10 mins read

Join us as volunteers at our polling place! 

“We the People”: What we now know is how essential the private citizen is in keeping the lights on in this democratic experiment we call America. Although state governments are in charge of elections…organizing, facilitating and sometimes suppressing them, the person handing you your ballot is usually a regular citizen, just like you.

In fact… why NOT you? Our county pioneered the “Adopt-a-Poll” program in 1996, with 23 organizations participating. Today there are more than 64 organizations participating in our county’s elections process. Indivisible Ventura will be running a polling place with three precincts and we need volunteers. Unlike regular poll workers, Adopt-a-poll volunteers don’t get paid. The payment becomes a fundraiser for Indivisible Ventura, which helps underwrite printing and stamps for our postcard/pizza parties and costs for our citizenship fairs. However, there are some great advantages:

  • An “Adopt-a-Poll” volunteer can sign up for short shifts, instead of the standard  6:00am-9:30pm shift required of a regular poll worker.
  • Become your social circle’s expert on voting in California. Volunteers participate in one 3-hour training course, offered at different times all over the County. (schedule)
  • Have a great experience helping people at the polls with our wonderful group of volunteers. Our impromptu potluck buffet is awesome! Registered CA voters, legal permanent residents, and high school students (who meet the student requirements listed below) are all welcome to be poll workers.
  • Note to past volunteers – the dreaded “Edge” is dead!!!

Here’s how to become a part of an amazing democratic tradition!

Send  the following information to indivisibleventura@gmail.com by Monday, Jan. 13th:

  • Your name
  • Home address (Required by the County)
  • Phone #  (Required by the County)
  • Email address;  (Required by the County and us, so we can communicate)
  • Languages you speak other than English – WE NEED SPANISH SPEAKERS!
  • Preferred training class (See schedule here – classes fill up, respond as quickly as you can!) Please state city/date/time. We’ll sign you up.
  • 1st and 2nd shift choices, (directly below) If you’re willing to do more than one, or if you’re willing to take shifts where we have gaps in coverage, please note that.

Shift times are:

  • 6:00 – 10:00 am
  • 10:00 – 2:00 pm
  • 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm
  • 6:00 pm – 9:30 pm

Adults can be poll workers if they are:

  • A registered California voter or
  • A legal resident of the United States who would be eligible to vote except for their citizenship status;

High School students can be poll workers is they comply with the following requirements: 

  • Be a United States citizen
  • Be at least 16 years old on Election Day
  • Attend a public or private high school
  • Have at least a 2.5 grade point average
  • Get permission from your parents and school
  • Attend a training session

Just like oxygen masks on a plane…first make sure you’re ready, then help others!

Put these links in your phone contacts under “voting” and be ready to share!

  • Register to vote online here. (English, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Tagalog, Thai and Vietnamese versions available.)
  • Preregister to vote here. (for 16 and 17 year old citizens and residents of CA)
  • Check your status here. (Check your status, where you’re registered, party & language preferences, status of vote-by-mail or provisional ballot, polling location, and more!)
  • Ventura County Residents: Users can register to vote or confirm voter information through text messaging by texting “Ventura County” to “2VOTE” (28683).
  • Questions – click here. “If I register as Independent, do I get to vote in the primaries?“, etc…
  • Compilation of new CA and federal voting laws here. No stamps on mail-in ballots, same day registration at polling places, and more!
  • Official Voter Information Guide – State of CA.
  • All States – primary elections schedule here.

Here’s a preview of the new voting system! 

We invite you to the Elections Division for a free demonstration of the new touchscreen voting equipment. Our new system will debut in the March 3, 2020 election. Visit anytime during our regular office hours of 8am-5pm Monday through Friday at 800 South Victoria Avenue in the Hall of Administration at the Government Center in Ventura. We look forward to seeing you!” (Ventura Co.)

Versión en español

News reports on new system: Moorpark Acorn, Ventura County Star.

Overview of new system: 

The touchscreen ballots are products from Dominion Democracy Suite Voting System. Voters have the option of marking a paper ballot or using the new touchscreen ballot marking tablet to mark their ballot.

Paper ballots will look similar to past ballots, with a few differences. For instance, voters will now mark their ballots by filling in ovals instead of “connecting” arrows. Ballot pages will now be printed on regular 8×11 letter size paper, instead of the longer and more unwieldy sheets used previously.

Instructional image of a ballot choice being marked

Accessible ballots: Each polling place will have accessible voting stations consisting of a modern touchscreen ballot marking tablet and an individual printer. These devices provide a simple, intuitive interface for voters. Unlike the direct-recording electronic voting machines previously used, ballot marking tablets do not store voters’ selections electronically. After marking their ballots, voters print their ballots from a printer in their voting booth which lists the voters’ selections and includes a secure bar code. The voter can then review it for errors and redo their selections if necessary.

ballot marking tablet

All ballots marked at the polling place are put in the same ballot box. They are no longer scanned on-site.

These ballot boxes are then returned to the Ventura County Registration & Elections Division, where central high-speed scanners count the paper ballots and tabulate votes. As ballots are reviewed during the canvass, the system creates a complete audit trail documenting how each mark on each ballot was interpreted and tallied.

Security of voting results: “The California Secretary of State’s Office applies one of the most rigorous voting system testing and certification programs in the country. Prior to being certified for use, all voting systems undergo end-to-end testing, including functional testing, source code review, red team security testing with experts trying to “break into” the voting system, accessibility testing and volume testing.

In compliance with SOS certification standards, no part of the Democracy Suite voting system connects to the internet at any time. The system does not receive or transmit election data through any type of external communication network. The system encrypts data and requires successful completion of a two-step authentication process before anyone can access data.

Using Democracy Suite, all …ballots will be paper ballots, ensuring a physical audit trail. Voters using ballot marking tablets will be able to see their selections printed on their ballot before depositing their ballot in the Ballot Box. In addition, the Democracy Suite System includes a complete ballot-level audit trail. As ballots are scanned, a digital image of every ballot is created, and appended to each image is a record of how the voter’s intent was interpreted by the voting system. This helps ensure an accurate, transparent and auditable elections process.” (San Mateo)

Originally posted on Indivisible Ventura. Re-posted with permission.


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