Truth, Lies & Propaganda: How Disinformation Is Infecting the 2020 Elections Wednesday Oct 21, 2020 5PM PDT
This election cycle, voters face an onslaught of campaign information, much of it disinformation. Campaigns, governments, and others are using both familiar and emerging technologies—from social media and bots to artificial intelligence and algorithms—to polarize voters, spread false narratives, sow confusion, and drown out the truth. Loyola Law School professor Jessica Levinson speaks with The Atlantic's McKay Coppins, AI For the People founding CEO Mutale Nkonde, and University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism assistant professor Samuel Woolley about how the 2020 election will be impacted by information warfare. RSVP here. If you miss the live event you will find the recording here.
2,100 incorrectly printed ballots were mailed to voters in Westlake Village, LA County. These ballots do not list the candidates for President nor Vice President. They do list at least some the propositions twice. If you receive such a ballot, do not worry and do not fill it out. All of these ballots will be discarded -- mailing one of these erroneous ballots just results in more work. You will receive replacement ballots in the mail. If you have already mailed the incorrect ballot don't worry; they will discard the bad one and replace it with your new ballot. So far there is no acknowledgment of the problem on the official website (www.lavote.net/, but there are articles in newspapers across the country LA Times, US News, even the Washington Post. If you are affected, you should receive communications from LA County.
A number of fake ballot drop boxes have been found in both LA and Ventura Counties. If you are going to use a drop box, look for a drop box in one of the official locations, which you can find later in this web page or (at least in Ventura County) on the paper enclosed with the ballot. In Ventura County the ballot drop boxes are white and there is a Ventrua County seal on the front. Ventura County elections chief Mark Lunn said anyone who sees an unofficial ballot box to report it to county elections by calling 805-654-2664 or, after business hours, by emailing email@example.com.
Track your ballot.:
Register at voterstatus.sos.ca.gov. When you register with this website you can select notification by email or by text or by phone call.
Voting information for LA County is at www.LAvote.net
Voting Information for Ventura County is at https:/recorder.countyofventura.org/elections/elections/voter-information
Do add the date after your signature.
The signature and the date are by far the most important things to fill out on the envelope. Without a valid signature that matches either the current signature on your driver's license / ID card, or on your original voter registration, California is not allowed to accept your ballot.
They then ask for your "Voter registration home address". According to the Ventura County Recorder's office, they want your residence address, which determines your voting precinct. They do not want your mailing address if it is different.
Look for Truth
There is a LOT of false information out there. The internet has become a superb source of disinformation. Fortunately, there are some sites that actually allow you to check claims and determine the real truth:
» "Oldest and largest fact-checking site on the Internet".
» Annenberg Political Factcheck - a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center. 'Monitors the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players.'
FactChecker from the Washington Post
» Weekly blog from the Washington Post.
» From the St. Petersburg Times and Congressional Quarterly. Has a 'Truth-O-Meter' scorecard checking the attacks on the candidates (includes explanations).
» "Dedicated to checking the accuracy of claims by pundits, columnists, bloggers, political analysts, the hosts and guests of talk shows, and other members of the media."
Indications of fake news and fake web sites:
Big red flags for fake news: ALL CAPS, or obviously photoshopped pics.
A glut of pop-ups and banner ads? Good sign the story is pure clickbait.
Check the domain! Fake sites often add ”.co” to trusted brands to steal their luster. (Think: ”abcnews.com.co”)
If you land on an unknown site, search for it ("Google it") with the word ”fake” and see what comes up.
Verify an unlikely story by finding a reputable outlet reporting the same thing.
Check the date. Social media often resurrects outdated stories.
Read past the headlines. Often they bear no semblance to what lies beneath.
Photos may be misidentified, old, or modified. Use a reverse image search engine like TinEye to see where an image really comes from.
Gut check. If a story makes you angry, it's probably designed that way.
Web sites may literally be designed to make you so angry you don't think straight.
Finally, if you're not sure it's true, don't share it! Don't. Share. It.
There is a lot of information available:
Conejo Valley Village's presentation on voting this November is available here.
California's Secretary of State has a web site with lots of official information, including guides, how and where to vote.
The Hammer Museum links to a web site on How to Vote in California.
Voter's Edge has a lot of information on California elections
The California Voter Foundation has a lot of information, with a multitude of links leading you to a multitude of information sites.
BallotPedia has detailed information on the many propositions on the ballot (and, of course, much more)
They provide a "Voter's Edge"which is customized to the address where you are registered to vote. The League states "We are nonpartisan, nonprofit, and will not sell your information."
Their Voter's Edge has details on every race from President to City Council. They also have information on all the propositions (which probably matches the voter's information sent in mail from the state).
They also list all of their Zoom meetings at lwvc.org/events/upcoming.
The Hammer Museum is hosting free forums on California's prepositions - hammer.ucla.edu/programs-events/2020/california-ballot-measures-2020.
Register here for the forums.
They held an interesting forum on "Prop 15: Market Value Property Taxes for School Funding". It is available at hammer.ucla.edu/watch-and-listen
The forum on "Prop 16: Ending the Ban on Affirmative Action" will be available at
available at hammer.ucla.edu/watch-and-listen.
Their forum on "Prop 22: Protecting Workers in the Gig Economy", will be on Oct 1 at 5pm
then "Prop 17 & 25: Criminal Justice and Voting Rights" , Oct 8 at 5pm Register Here.
Casting Your Ballot
Every registered voter will receive a ballot in the mail. If you want to vote in person (especially if you do not receive or lose the mailed ballot), that should be possible. Just be very sure NOT to try and vote twice. Voting in person and also submitting a mail-in ballot is a very serious crime - a felony, the same class of crime as bank robbery or murder.
LA County participates in the Voter's Choice Act, and LA County residents can vote at any polling station. In Ventura County you must vote at your assigned polling station. To find your polling location go to www.sos.ca.gov/elections/polling-place.
Ventura County voters can find their in-person voting locations here.
Casting Your Mail-in Ballot
Be sure to save and to sign the ballot you receive in the mail. If the ballot is not signed the same way you registered, the ballot will not be counted. This is just one of the ways that mail-in ballots are protected from fraud.
You can track your ballot to see when it is mailed, received and counted - and this works now. To register for the service, go to wheresmyballot.sos.ca.gov
If you don't see your ballot in the mail by Oct. 16 call elections office at 805-654-2664.
You can return the ballot by mail as long as it is postmarked by Nov. 3 and is received by Nov. 20. The postage is pre-paid, so no stamp will be necessary. In Ventura county the ballot can be dropped off at one of 33 drop box locations beginning Oct. 6; there are a number around our area. Drop off boxes should be very secure. Apparently there will be drop box locations in LA County, to be published 30-40 days before the election. A ballot can be returned to any county in California, and the ballot will be transferred to the correct county.
If you live in LA County you can find your drop off location shere.
The Hammer Museum forum strongly made the point that you should vote early - by Oct 24th at the latest. By voting early you avoid the lines and vote far more safely, and you make it easier for the State to count your vote.
PLEASE VOTE !
Having someone deposit your ballot for you
If you are uncomfortable dropping your ballot in the mail, Conejo Valley Village should be able to help; call us at (805)372-1826 and we will try and arrange to pick up your ballot safely and deposit it for you.
From California Election Code Section 3017
Summary - someone else can return or deposit your ballot for you, if they do it for free
"A vote by mail voter who is unable to return the ballot may designate another person to return the ballot to the elections official who issued the ballot, to the precinct board at a polling place or vote center within the state, or to a vote by mail ballot dropoff location within the state that is provided pursuant to Section 3025 or 4005 . The person designated shall return the ballot in person, or put the ballot in the mail, no later than three days after receiving it from the voter or before the close of the polls on election day, whichever time period is shorter. Notwithstanding subdivision (d), a ballot shall not be disqualified from being counted solely because it was returned or mailed more than three days after the designated person received it from the voter, provided that the ballot is returned by the designated person before the close of polls on election day."
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