This coming March 3rd 2020 Beverly Hills voters will go to the polls to choose among five declared city council candidates to fill two open seats. Running for re-election are incumbent councilmembers Lili Bosse and Julian A. Gold. Each was elected in 2011 and ran for reelection in 2015 but because no challenger emerged they were appointed to a second term. Challenging the two incumbents for the two open seats on our five-member city council are candidates Lori Greene Gordon, Robin Rowe, and Rabbi Simcha Green. Let”s meet the candidates!
March 2020 Candidates
Five candidates are running for two available seats in the Beverly Hills city council municipal election on March 3rd. The nomination period closed on December 6th but a write-in candidate is still possible until that window closes on January 6th. Elected councilmembers serve four-year terms. The office is non-partisan and is largely unpaid.
Change Comes to the Polls
The 2020 election promises to be like none we’ve had before. The California Voter Participation Rights Act has sparked some big changes in how we will vote. In lieu of traditional assigned polling places, new ‘voting centers‘ will welcome voters. And votes can be cast there throughout an 11-day voting period. New ballot-marking machines use touch-screens so a voter’s choices can be reviewed prior to casting the ballot. And vote by mail is easier than ever: a ballot can be left at any designated drop-off center throughout a 29-day period or drop it in the mail postage-paid!
These innovations emerged from the Los Angeles County Voting Solutions for All People program created to comply with the new law. To learn more about the changes see the Modernizing the Voting Experience flyer. Read a New Voting Experience excerpt from the county’s Voting Systems Assessment Project. Or kick back with this promo video.
Ballot-marking devices: touch screens for better or worse!
For voters who travel to polls, the most obvious difference from past elections is the new ballot-marking device. It eschews the trusty pen-and-ink ballot (‘inka vote’) of yesterday in favor of a touchscreen. Watch the video:
The advantage of the touchscreen is that ballot choices can be reviewed and revised prior to marking the paper ballot. And in another break with the past, the voter herself rather than the pollworker will insert her marked ballot into the scanner.
Replacing the voter registration ledgers of yesteryear is a new electronic roster of registered voters that replaces traditional weeks-old paper ledgers. Pollbooks will allow pollworkers to access a voter’s registration electronically and in theory help to minimize the time needed for voter verification at the polls.
Because these ‘real-time’ pollbook rosters show up-to-the-minute voter registration they should prevent a voter from voting again at different voting center. The old paper ledger used a voter signature as proof of a vote cast. But that voter sign-in was not accessible to pollworkers elsewhere. Now a voter trying again anywhere in the County will be flagged.
Most significantly, an electronic pollbook will allow voters to ‘conditionally’ register at the polls and cast a same-day ballot. That’s a big improvement over the provisional ballot. Election officials say it’s about confidence in the system.
The California Voter Participation Rights Act has also mandated another important change in how we vote: municipal elections in Beverly Hills from now on will be consolidated with the state’s primary contest and administered by Los Angeles County’s Registrar-Recorder & County Clerk.
Candidates will see new rules and deadlines. Voters in municipal elections will see a longer ballot that now includes state and local races and measures.
The consolidation of elections is intended to encourage turnout in historically low-turnout places like Beverly Hills. In 2017 only 25% of registered voters cast a ballot in our municipal election — a percentage that has declined steadily over past fifty years. Today one-in-five voting-age residents are not even registered to vote.
How to Register to Vote
To vote one must be a US citizen, be at least 18 years of age, and neither adjudicated mentally incompetent nor incarcerated (or on felony parole or probation). To register one must provide a name and current actual residential address, date and place of birth, California driver’s license number (or California ID number), the last four digits of your Social Security number, your telephone and and political party affiliation (if any).
Register using a paper form (available from the Beverly Hills City Clerk or by request to the Secretary of State at 800-345-8683) or register online. If registering by paper form, know that the County Registrar must receive the form at least 15 days prior to Election Day. Another option is conditional registration at a voting center.
For citizens under 18 the state allows for registration on or before Election Day as long as the voter is 18 years of age on election day. Alternately, a younger voter can pre-register to vote which will transition to non-conditional registration automatically on her 18th birthday.
As we approach the March 2020 election look for more Renters Alliance coverage of the campaigns and candidates. This is an important election for tenants because the final rent stabilization ordinance is riding on it!