Tuesday, November 3, 2020
It’s time to vote. The General Election takes place on Tuesday, Nov. 3, and as you have likely heard, this may be the most important election in your lifetime.
Below is some information that will help you to prepare for the election: how and when to register to vote, locations for mail-in and in-person voting, and our APLA Health voting guide on the issues and races that will have the most impact on the HIV, LGBTQ, and other underserved communities.
For more information, you can call the Los Angeles County Registrar at 1-800-815-2666. Staffers will answer your questions, but wait times to talk to a live person will likely get longer as we get closer to the election. So if you want to speak to a live person about voting, call soon.
- Sample voter ballots were sent out around Sept. 24.
- Mail-in ballots were sent to all California voters Oct. 5.
Contact the Registrar if you don’t get yours.
- The deadline for registering to vote is Oct. 19. (see below)
- Some Vote Centers will be open beginning Saturday, Oct. 24.
- All Vote Centers will be open beginning Friday, Oct. 30.
- Vote Centers will be open every day from 10am – 7pm during the early voting period.
- On Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, Vote Centers will be open from 7am – 8pm.
If you’re in line when polls close, you will get to vote.
If you arrive after closing, you won’t get to vote.
If you are concerned about mailing in your ballot, the best advice is to mail it in as soon as possible. Once mailed, you can sign up to track your ballot at:
If you prefer, you can drop off your mail-in ballot at any polling station up to and including Election Day. Otherwise, mail-in ballots must be postmarked no later than Election Day in order to be counted.
REGISTER TO VOTE
The deadline for registering to vote is October 19, 2020. You can register to vote using any of the links below, by calling the Los Angeles County Registrar’s office, or by mail. However, if you miss the October 19 deadline, then you will have to go in person to the county registrar’s office or a polling place to register.
If you have missed all the deadlines, you can still register to vote at any polling center up to and including on Election Day, but your vote will be conditional until your information is verified.
The Los Angeles County Registrar’s office has an excellent website that readily translates into Spanish and many other languages:
If you are not a Los Angeles County resident and would like information on how and where to vote, the California Secretary of State’s website can help:
The League of Women Voters of California is an established and reliable site for anyone:
The upcoming 2020 election is shaping up to be the most important in memory. LGBTQ rights are under attack, the Trump administration continues to undermine the Affordable Care Act, over 200,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, and Black and brown communities continue to face racism and state-sanctioned violence. Your vote is your power and together we can fight to make the economic, social, and political changes necessary to ensure health justice for all.
As a Section 501(c)(3) organization, APLA Health neither endorses or opposes candidates for elected office and is providing this guide for informational purposes only.
President of the United States
Presidential leadership plays an enormous role in shaping U.S. domestic and foreign policy, legislation, and funding. This November, former Vice President Joe Biden and California Senator Kamala Harris, both Democrats, are running against Republicans President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. Other presidential contenders include Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen; the American Independent Party candidate Roque De La Fuente; the Peace and Freedom candidate Gloria La Riva, an activist for the Party for Socialism and Liberation; and the Green Party candidate, Howie Hawkins, an environmental activist, former Teamster, and the first U.S. candidate for President to campaign for the Green New Deal.
Republican Party Candidate
The Trump Administration has initiated a federal Ending the HIV Epidemic plan that is bringing more federal resources to some 57 state and local health jurisdictions most heavily impacted by HIV. That includes eight counties in California, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Francisco, Sacramento, Orange, and Alameda.
At the same time, the President’s proposed Fiscal Year 2021 budget included steep cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, the Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS program (HOPWA), and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Rolling back these vital safety net programs would have a disproportionate impact on communities prioritized in the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative, including Black and brown communities, and would only deepen existing HIV disparities. The administration’s continued anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies are also anathema to the goals of public health.
President Trump continues to undermine and push for repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which increased access to health coverage for millions of Americans, including people living with HIV. Another challenge to the ACA is now approaching the Supreme Court. The President has no plan to replace the ACA, despite many promises to the contrary.
On LGBTQ rights, the Trump administration has repeatedly signed off on actions that have attempted to limit access to health care for LGBTQ individuals, bar transgender individuals from military service, and allow federally funded homeless shelters to turn away transgender people.
Proposals and Resources:
Democratic Party Candidate
Vice President Joe Biden served during the eight years of the Obama Administration and is credited with playing a major role in moving the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through Congress. Biden remains committed to access to affordable quality health care for all Americans, and has made clear his position during the campaign that he would work to improve upon and expand the ACA, including support for a public option like Medicare and increasing premium tax credits for middle class Americans.
In 2010, the Obama-Biden Administration launched the nation’s first comprehensive HIV/AIDS strategy. Biden has committed to updating the strategy and ending the HIV epidemic by 2025. He also supports efforts to modernize HIV criminal laws that remain in over two dozen states.
Biden’s campaign website includes a section on advancing LGBTQ equality in the U.S. and around the world. Biden supports the Equality Act, which would extend anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans, and he has said he will make enactment of the legislation a top priority during his first 100 days as President. Biden has also committed to reversing the transgender military ban, guaranteeing the ACA’s nondiscrimination protections for the LGBTQ community, and reinstating protections for LGBTQ people experiencing homelessness.
Biden has also promised to reverse the Trump administration’s public charge rule, which many have argued discourages immigrants from accessing public services such as Medicaid, food stamps, and Section 8 housing. He is endorsed by the LA Times, among others.
Proposals and Resources:
United States Congress
The U.S. Congress plays a pivotal role in securing funding and passing legislation to end the HIV epidemic, ensuring the rights of LGBTQ people, and increasing access to affordable, quality health care. Congress members in the U. S. House of Representatives are up for re-election every two years. Southern California and Los Angeles County field a stellar range of incumbents and candidates to choose from. Your U. S. Representative will be on your ballot, based on your address. If you don’t know who represents you or you would like to find out who is running against your representative, go to one of the voter websites listed below or consult the websites of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party or Republican Party. There are no third-party candidates in the Congressional races this year, and neither of California’s two Senators are up for re-election this time around.
Pivotal Race in the Antelope Valley Area
In Los Angeles County, the 25th Congressional District (Antelope Valley) is once again up for grabs. Rep. Katie Hill, a Democrat, won the seat in 2018, as part of California’s “blue wave”, wiping out all but a few Republican officeholders from the state’s Congressional delegation. Hill vacated her seat in 2019, and Rep. Mike Garcia, a Republican, won the seat in a special election over Democrat State Assemblymember Christy Smith in May of this year. The two are running again and the race is considered a toss-up. The outcome will impact the Democrats’ control in the U.S. House of Representatives. Smith is endorsed by the LA Times.
Congressional Campaign Voter Guides
For more details on all the congressional races in the upcoming election, visit one of the following non-partisan voting guides:
The California State Legislature, consisting of the Senate and Assembly, holds the principal lawmaking powers of the state. On average, the Legislature will propose, analyze, and debate over 6,000 bills in a single two-year session. The Legislature also makes critical decisions about what will be included in the state’s annual budget.
Every California resident is represented by one Assemblymember and one Senator. The Assembly has 80 members who serve two-year terms, so all seats are up for election in 2020. The Senate has 40 members who serve four-year terms, which means only half of the Senate is up for election this year.
In 2018, Democrats won two-thirds “supermajorities” in both houses of the state Legislature. Supermajorities are important because they give California’s majority party the ability to achieve some policy goals without help from the opposing party, including raising taxes and crafting statewide bond measures. Republicans hope to reverse that trend this year, while Democrats are set on further cementing their dominance in Sacramento.
The journalists at CalMatters have been tracking the most hotly contested races in the state Legislature, including the race between California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus Chair Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Democratic Socialist Jackie Fielder. Senator Wiener is among the staunchest allies of the HIV and LGBTQ communities in Sacramento, having authored landmark legislation to reform the state’s outdated HIV criminal laws, allow pharmacists to dispense PrEP without a doctor’s prescription, and ban the use of condoms as evidence of sex work. Jackie Fielder is a Native American, Latina, and queer educator and organizer.
You can learn more about the top races to watch in the Senate and Assembly by visiting: calmatters.org/election-2020-guide/.
You can find out who the Senate and Assembly candidates are in your area by visiting votersedge.org. Be sure to look for their positions on key issues impacting the LGBTQ and HIV communities, including health care, housing, criminal justice and police reform, and immigration.
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
Los Angeles County acts as the administrative arm for the vast majority of the millions of dollars in federal Ryan White Program funds that come to our local jurisdiction, and will oversee new funding for the federal plan to End the HIV Epidemic. This gives enormous power to the County Supervisors to guide the way funding is allocated to HIV service categories and contracted with providers. Current District 4 Supervisor Janice Hahn and District 5 Supervisor Kathryn Barger, both received a majority of the votes in the March 3 Primary Election, but District 2 Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas is terming out and running for Los Angeles City Council. Los Angeles City Councilmember Herb Wesson and California State Senator Holly Mitchell are in a run-off for the District 2 seat, which covers most of South Los Angeles, stretching from Culver City to USC, and down to Carson. APLA Health thanks Supervisor Ridley-Thomas for his many years of service supporting programs that assist people living with HIV and other underserved communities.
Herb Wesson is currently the councilmember for Los Angeles City Council District 10, representing 52 neighborhoods extending from Mid-City south towards Leimert Park, and from the eastern edge of Culver City to Downtown LA. Wesson is currently President of City Council, and prior to that position was a member of the California State Assembly.
Wesson’s key priorities include boosting employment and economic security, tackling the homelessness and affordable housing crises, addressing traffic and transportation issues as well as environmental issues, and supporting youth and social justice initiatives. As Council President he launched the EmbRACE LA initiative to lead a conversation on race, ethnicity, and diversity, and while in the Assembly he helped create the Asian & Pacific Islander (API) and LGBT Legislative Caucuses.
He is endorsed by Mayor Eric Garcetti, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Supervisor Janice Hahn, and many other state and local elected officials and organizations.
Holly Mitchell is currently the California State Senator for District 30, representing Culver City, Ladera Heights, Westmont, and the neighborhoods of Crenshaw, Downtown, and Florence, and a member of the California Legislative Black Caucus. Prior to serving in the State Senate, Mitchell served in the State Assembly and before that was CEO of the non-profit Crystal Stairs. Mitchell’s legislative accomplishments include a package of criminal justice reform bills, addressing transitional housing placement for foster youth, expanding mental health services for vulnerable communities, and fighting for better education, access to health care, and childcare services, particularly for communities of color. She plans to continue fighting for these key issues as Supervisor. She is endorsed by Governor Gavin Newsom, Former Governor Jerry Brown, Congresswoman Nanette Barragan, the LA Times and many other state and local elected officials and organizations.
Los Angeles City Council
The Los Angeles City Council represents approximately 4 million Angelenos — almost 40% of the population of Los Angeles County. The body enacts ordinances subject to the approval or veto of the Mayor and orders elections, levies taxes, authorizes public improvements, approves contracts, and adopts traffic regulations. It also adopts or modifies the budget proposed by the Mayor. Seven of the 15 seats were up for a vote this year. Five seats were confirmed during the March 3 primary, including for incumbents Paul Krekorian (District 2), Nury Martinez (District 6), Marqueece Harris-Dawson (District 8), John Lee (District 12), and Kevin De Leon (District 14), who is new to the City Council but a longtime legislator, serving in both the State Senate and Assembly. Districts 4 and 10 will have a run-off election on November 3.
Los Angeles City Council District 4
David Ryu is currently the Councilmember for Los Angeles City Council District 4, representing Silver Lake, Los Feliz, Miracle Mile, Hancock Park, Hollywood, Hollywood Hills, Sherman Oaks, and Toluca Lake. He is also a longtime supporter of APLA Health. Prior to serving on the council, Ryu worked in the office of former County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, focusing on issues including foster youth, HIV/AIDS, homelessness, and mental health.
Ryu’s key initiatives include reprioritizing the budget, improving public safety, tackling the homelessness crisis, building a sustainable City and expanding the number of Councilmembers. He especially advocates for single mothers, seniors, immigrant communities, and people experiencing homelessness. He is endorsed by the LA Times, Planned Parenthood, Sierra Club, and many other organizations and unions.
Nithya Raman is an urban planner and formerly worked for the City Administrative Officer where she wrote a report highlighting that of $100 million spent by the City to address homelessness, over 90% of funds went towards jailing individuals. She was most recently the executive director of Time’s Up Entertainment and co-chair of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council where she established SELAH Neighborhood Homeless Coalition, a volunteer run homeless services non-profit.
Raman’s key initiatives include improving public safety, increasing affordable housing stock and establishing rent forgiveness, creating public broadband service, and improving healthcare for aging Angelenos. She stresses that she has not accepted campaign funds from corporate, fossil fuel, or developer groups, and is endorsed by a number of groups fighting for transformative change.
Los Angeles City Council District 10
Grace Yoo is running to represent Council District 10, which covers 52 neighborhoods including Leimert Park, Arlington Heights, Koreatown, Mid-City, Little Bangladesh and Little Ethiopia, and Wilshire Center. Yoo is an Estate Planning Attorney and lifelong Los Angeles resident with a long record of service volunteering with local community organizations. Her platform emphasizes the need for increased community engagement and building upon and improving current City Council policies and infrastructure, as well as addressing corruption in City Hall.
Yoo promises to combat climate change by implementing sustainable environmental policies at the local level, create a safe and inclusive educational environment for children, build healthy communities by addressing environmental health issues, and tackle the affordable housing and homelessness crisis in Los Angeles. Yoo’s platform also describes a commitment to improving public safety by reevaluating the City’s policing system, addressing traffic and transportation problems, and investing in jobs and the economy in a COVID-19 environment.
Yoo is endorsed by Congressman Mark Takano, Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, former Los Angeles City Councilmember Jan Perry, several former City officials, and many community advocates and local faith leaders.
Mark Ridley-Thomas is currently the County Supervisor for District 2 with a long career in public service. Prior to his supervisorial role, Ridley-Thomas served as Los Angeles City Councilmember for District 8, State Assemblymember for District 48, and State Senator for District 26, also serving on the California Legislative Black Caucus.
Ridley-Thomas is a longtime supporter of APLA Health, most recently helping to establish our newest federally qualified health center (FQHC) on the campus of Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science across from Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital. He has tackled many important issues during his legislative tenure including improving health care services in South Los Angeles, addressing the housing and homelessness crises, including serving as co-chair of Governor Newsom’s homelessness task force and spearheading Measure H implementation, pushing for reform of the criminal justice system, and building economic opportunities, especially for communities of color. As County Supervisor, he has also overseen the construction of the new Martin Luther King Jr hospital complex.
Ridley-Thomas is endorsed by Governor Gavin Newsom, Senator Diane Feinstein, Senator and Vice Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris, Mayor Eric Garcetti, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, and the LA Times, among others.
While there are a number of important ballot initiatives up for vote, there are eight that could have a significant impact on the HIV, LGBTQ, and other underserved communities. If there isn’t a recommendation indicated for a particular measure, APLA Health has decided not to take position.
PROPOSITION 15: Tax on Commercial and Industrial Properties for Education and Local Government Funding Initiative
APLA Health RECOMMENDS: YES
A YES vote supports this constitutional amendment to require commercial and industrial properties, except those zoned as commercial agriculture, to be taxed based on their market value rather than purchase price.
A NO vote opposes this constitutional amendment, thus continuing to tax commercial and industrial properties based on a property’s purchase price, with annual increases equal to the rate of inflation or 2 percent, whichever is lower.
APLA Health believes this measure would bring much needed revenue to local governments so they can maintain and expand critical services, including public health efforts to address HIV and other STDs; therefore, we recommend a YES vote.
PROPOSITION 16: Repeal Proposition 209 Affirmative Action Amendment
APLA Health RECOMMENDS: YES
A YES vote supports this constitutional amendment to repeal Proposition 209 (1996), which stated that the government and public institutions cannot discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to persons on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, public education, and public contracting.
A NO vote opposes this constitutional amendment, thereby keeping Proposition 209 (1996), which stated that the government and public institutions cannot discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to persons on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, public education, and public contracting.
APLA Health believes this measure is an important part of efforts to address structural racism and eliminate discrimination in state contracts, hiring, and education; therefore, we recommend a YES vote.
PROPOSITION 17: Voting Rights Restoration for Persons on Parole Amendment
APLA Health RECOMMENDS: YES
A YES vote supports this constitutional amendment to allow people on parole for felony convictions to vote.
A NO vote opposes this constitutional amendment, thereby continuing to prohibit people who are on parole for felony convictions from voting.
APLA Health believes this measure will expand voting rights and empower underserved communities to actively engage in the civic process; therefore, we recommend a YES vote.
PROPOSITION 18: Primary Voting for 17-Year-Olds Amendment
APLA Health RECOMMENDS: YES
A YES vote supports this constitutional amendment to allow 17-year-olds who will be 18 at the time of the next general election to vote in primary elections and special elections.
A NO vote opposes this constitutional amendment, thereby maintaining the voting age at 18.
APLA Health believes this measure will expand voting rights and empower young people to actively engage in the civic process; therefore, we recommend a YES vote.
PROPOSITION 20: Criminal Sentencing, Parole, and DNA Collection Initiative
APLA Health RECOMMENDS: NO
A YES vote supports this initiative to add crimes to the list of violent felonies for which early parole is restricted; recategorize certain types of theft and fraud crimes as wobblers (chargeable as misdemeanors or felonies); and require DNA collection for certain misdemeanors.
A NO vote opposes this initiative to add crimes to the list of violent felonies for which early parole is restricted; recategorize certain types of theft and fraud crimes as wobblers (chargeable as misdemeanors or felonies); and require DNA collection for certain misdemeanors.
APLA Health believes this measure will move the state backward to a tough-on-crime era that disproportionately impacts Black and brown communities and contributes to higher rates of HIV and other STDs; therefore, we recommend a NO vote.
PROPOSITION 21: Local Rent Control Initiative
APLA Health RECOMMENDS: YES
A YES vote supports this ballot initiative to allow local governments to enact rent control on housing that was first occupied over 15 years ago, with an exception for landlords who own no more than two homes with distinct titles or subdivided interests.
A NO vote opposes this ballot initiative, thereby continuing to prohibit rent control on housing that was first occupied after February 1, 1995, and housing units with distinct titles, such as single-family homes.
APLA Health believes this measure will help to address the state’s housing affordability crisis, which disproportionately impacts Black and brown communities and contributes to higher rates of HIV and other STDs; therefore, we recommend a YES vote.
PROPOSITION 25: Replace Cash Bail with Risk Assessments Referendum
APLA Health RECOMMENDS: YES
A YES vote on this measure means that no one would pay bail to be released from jail before trial. Instead, people would either be released automatically or based on their assessed risk of committing another crime or not appearing in court if released. No one would be charged fees as a condition of release.
A NO vote on this measure means that some people would continue to pay bail to be released from jail before trial. Other people could continue to be released without paying bail. Fees may continue to be charged as a condition of release.
APLA Health believes this measure will create a more fair justice system, based on assessment of risk rather than ability to pay money bail; therefore, we recommend a YES vote.
LOS ANGELES COUNTY MEASURE J: Re-Imagine LA County! Community Investment and Alternatives to Incarceration Minimum County Budget
APLA Health RECOMMENDS: YES
A YES vote supports an allocation in Los Angeles County’s budget no less than ten percent (10%) of the County’s locally generated unrestricted revenues in the general fund to address the disproportionate impact of racial injustice through community investment and alternatives to incarceration. The funds cannot be used for carceral systems and law enforcement agencies as detailed in the ordinance adopting the proposed charter amendment.
A NO vote opposes this proposed allocation in the Los Angeles County budget.
APLA Health believes this measure will support the County’s efforts to invest in alternatives to incarceration, including health and mental health services, housing, and employment; therefore, we recommend a YES vote.