top
Newswire
Calendar
Features
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
Related Categories: South Bay | Government & Elections
March on the Polls Highlights Early Voting
by Sharat G. Lin
Monday Nov 5th, 2018 12:48 AM
March on the Polls mobilized voters to vote early in Santa Clara County which provides 8 early voting centers. It particularly targeted poorer communities that may not be aware of early voting as an alternative to voting on Election Day which is a working day. [Cover photo: Teresa Castellanos, Cindy Chavez, and Teresa Gomez show their mail-in ballots before delivering them to the Registrar of Voters.]
sm_motp-01.jpg
"Go! Vote! Go! Vote!" was one of the chants of the March on the Polls.

A coalition of South Bay groups organized the March on the Polls on Saturday, November 3, 2018 to not only draw attention to early voting centers, but to actually provide free rides to bring voters to vote early at the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters.

As the March on the Polls reached the early voting center at the Registrar of Voters on Berger Drive in San José, Assemblyman Ash Kalra and County Supervisor Cindy Chavez led the way and were received by Registrar Shannon Bushey. Participants either brought their mail-in ballots to be handed in, or went to the early voting center to cast regular ballots.

The first challenge of the March on the Polls is to get voters to actually vote.

At the rally Milan Balinton, executive director of the African American Community Service Agency, narrated that in the morning he had asked a young African American brother, "Are you registered to vote?"

The young man answered, "No, because it is rigged."

Balinton responded, "If it is rigged, then you need to unrig it by voting and getting others to vote!"

In response to people who don't bother to vote because they think it doesn't make a difference, lawyer Valerie McGinty, founder of Fund Her, pointed out, "In 1984 there was an Indiana Congressional election that was won by four votes. And in 1974 a New Hampshire U.S. Senate election was decided by two votes. Did they know it was going to be that close going in? Of course not. And you can't know that until it's too late to vote."

California is leading the nation in making it easier for people to vote by easier voter registration, multi-lingual ballots, and early voting. Santa Clara County has taken extra measures not required by the Secretary of State of California, such as providing early voting centers all around the county and paying the postage for mail-in ballots. Most other counties only provide early voting at the registrar's office, which may be a long distance away for most residents.

Santa Clara County now provides 8 early voting centers: the Registrar of Voters office, Milpitas Library, Joyce Ellington Library, Cambrian Library, Santa Clara City Library, Rinconada Library in Palo Alto, Morgan Hill City Hall, and the Willey Cultural Center in Gilroy. All early voting centers are open October 27 - November 5, 2018 from 10 am to 6 pm daily.

This is in contrast to some other states like Kansas, Georgia, and Florida that are making it harder to vote by attempting to purge voter rolls, restrict early voting, and reduce the number of polling places.

Teresa Castellanos, trustee of the San José Unified School District, reflected on how we got here: "If we look at communities of color, they have really only had 50 years of the right to vote. ... And it has been under attack for 20 years. And if we look at Native American communities, it is less than a hundred years that they have been considered U.S. citizens. And they are also under attack. And so it's really important that we remind our communities what we have fought for to make sure they have the right to vote. And the only way we can protect it is by voting."
§March on the Polls: Rally
by Sharat G. Lin Monday Nov 5th, 2018 12:48 AM
sm_motp-02.jpg
The March on the Polls rally on Saturday, November 3, 2018. Teresa Castellanos, emcee, spoke to a crowd of 60-70 people from the back of a truck.
§March on the Polls
by Sharat G. Lin Monday Nov 5th, 2018 12:48 AM
sm_motp-03.jpg
The March on the Polls proceeded from the rally along Berger Drive in San José to the Registrar of Voters office.
§March on the Polls: Free Bus Rides
by Sharat G. Lin Monday Nov 5th, 2018 12:48 AM
sm_motp-04.jpg
Some people came on this bus to the rally and early voting throughout the day. The rides were free.
§March on the Polls: Welcome by Registrar
by Sharat G. Lin Monday Nov 5th, 2018 12:48 AM
sm_motp-05.jpg
Registrar of Voters Shannon Bushey welcomed the March on the Polls as it arrived at the early voting center. Assemblyman Ash Kalra (left) looks on.
§March on the Polls: Mail-in Ballot Drop Off
by Sharat G. Lin Monday Nov 5th, 2018 12:48 AM
sm_motp-06.jpg
Ruth Silver-Taube drops off her mail-in ballot at the Registrar of Voters in San José.
§Early Voting Center
by Sharat G. Lin Monday Nov 5th, 2018 12:48 AM
sm_motp-07.jpg
The Registrar of Voters office contains an early voting center. Computerized access to the electronic roster of registered voters enables voters from anywhere in the County to vote at any early voting center.
§Early Voting Center
by Sharat G. Lin Monday Nov 5th, 2018 12:48 AM
sm_motp-08.jpg
The early voting center in the Milpitas Library accepts voters from throughout Santa Clara County. Poll workers have access to the electronic roster of all registered voters in the County.
§Early Voting Center
by Sharat G. Lin Monday Nov 5th, 2018 12:48 AM
sm_motp-09.jpg
The key element in all early voting centers is the ability to print ballot types for all localities within the County. These ballot printing machines print ballots on the spot when a voter walks in.
§Early Voting Center
by Sharat G. Lin Monday Nov 5th, 2018 12:48 AM
sm_motp-10.jpg
Voters marking their ballots at the early voting center in the Registrar of Voters office.
§March on the Polls: Rally
by Sharat G. Lin Monday Nov 5th, 2018 12:48 AM
sm_motp-11.jpg
Milan Balinton speaks to the March on the Polls rally. He is flanked by Teresa Castellanos and Ash Kalra to the left and Cindy Chavez to the right.
§March on the Polls: Rally
by Sharat G. Lin Monday Nov 5th, 2018 12:48 AM
sm_motp-12.jpg
Ask Kalra addresses the rally for the March on the Polls. Teresa Castellanos and Valerie McGinty are at his side.