The 2020 California Election and Beyond

ELECTION NEWS Los Angeles COUNTY. Many cities across the country will be mailing out more voting ballots (called vote by mail or absentee) than ever before in fears that people will not want to vote in person. Every election brings charges of fraud and this one will be no different. Rather than vote in person (understandable due to Covid concerns), vote by mail actually increases the chance of voter fraud. So now LA County says it will mail out absentee ballots to all registered voters; normally you would have to request the mail in ballot. I disagree with mailing to all registered voters and I explain. Since COVID hit in January, the LA County registrar will be using a list that has not been updated and I am certain many have moved since January 2020. In the March 2020 election, right in the middle of the RONA storm, there were in LA County California six million eligible voters, of that number five million were registered, and of that number 2 million voted to make the turnout 38% of registered voters. These numbers are pretty much the same across the country. Our elected officials are decided by a small percentage of voters, which shows you the lack of faith the majority of citizens have in the government. The elite elect the elite. So now LA County Board of Supervisors and LA County registrar, knowing that only 2 million voted, will send out vote by mail ballots (or drop off ballots) to 5 million registered voters. The postal system I support but they have been hit by inefficient machines and reduced staffing. They already have trouble delivering the normal absentee ballots, now we want the postal service to process the mailing out and return of 3 million more absentee ballots. Yes, we all should be concerned with how exactly will that work. A lot of government time and money will be wasted sending out ballots to 3 million people in LA County who do not normally vote. What is the cost here? Government at its finest. I can see voting electronically one day soon , but not before the integrity and hacking of the system is addressed. We are just not there yet. (G. Juan Johnson 10/1/2020.)

LOS ANGELES.

QUESTION: How can I get up to date information on the Los Angeles County election?

ANSWER: Start with the LA County Registrar that will have website pages on how to register, where to vote, a list of candidates on the ballot, and a list of other candidates not on the ballot (“write-in”) that you can still vote for.

The 2020 March election was screwed up by the county registrar and elected neighborhood councils that refused to allow qualified write in candidates to speak at candidate forums, thus depriving voters of a transparent election. Plus over 100,000 votes across California were not counted that were received by mail because errors on the form or they did not reach the registrar in time. IMO that does not inspire citizens to participate or be included.

The county registrar should have info on local election races also.

https://www.lavote.net/home/voting-elections

QUESTION: Should I vote by mail or in person?

Answer: The last favorite option will be to vote in person due to COVID considerations. Also due to COVID, unless you mail your absentee ballot by Overnight delivery, I would not trust the US Postal system. Absentee ballots, when received by you, will be able to be dropped off at Vote centers hopefully three weeks before the election, so there will be plenty of time to check online to see if your vote was received. So drop off centers will be the best options. For seniors and others who may not have transportation, hopefully the government will provide some type of pick up service where county officials can retrieve absentee ballots at voters’ residence. Ballots should be able to be dropped off at the Vote Centers without voters having to stand in line. The March 2020 election by the LA County Supervisors was poorly executed and the vote centers scheme was disastrous so let’s hope the county has ramped up the list of workers and procedures needed.

QUESTION: I live in an apartment building and I want to encourage others to vote. Can I post a small sign on my window or door?

Answer: Yes, but a few landlords and property management companies may not be aware of this right. So they may try to evict you. You can post or display 90 days before the election. Here is the California law:

Civil Code section:1940.4.

(a)Except as provided in subdivision(c),a landlord shall not prohibit a tenant from

posting or displaying political signs relating to any of the following: 

(1) An election or legislative vote, including an election of a candidate to public office. 

(2) The initiative, referendum, or recall process. 

(3) Issues that are before a public commission, public board, or elected local body for a vote. 

(b) Political signs may be posted or displayed in the window or on the door of the premises leased by the tenant in a multifamily dwelling, or from the yard, window, door, balcony, or outside wall of the premises leased by a tenant of a single-family dwelling. 

(c) A landlord may prohibit a tenant from posting or displaying political signs in the following circumstances: 

(1) The political sign is more than six square feet in size. 

(2) The posting or displaying would violate a local, state, or federal law. 

(3) The posting or displaying would violate a lawful provision in a common interest development governing a document that satisfies the criteria of Section 1353.6. 

(d) A tenant shall post and remove political signs in compliance with the time limits set by the ordinance for the jurisdiction where the premises are located. A tenant shall be solely responsible for any violation of a local ordinance. If no local ordinance exists or if the local ordinance does not include a time limit for posting and removing political signs on private property, the landlord may establish a reasonable time period for the posting and removal of political signs. A reasonable time period for this purpose shall begin at least 90 days prior to the date of the election or vote to which the sign relates and end at least 15 days following the date of the election or vote. 

(e) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any changes in the terms of a tenancy that are made to implement the provisions of this section and are noticed pursuant to Section 827 shall not be deemed to cause a diminution in housing services, and may be enforced in accordance with Section 1161 of the Code of Civil Procedure. 

QUESTION: What is your opinion of candidates Mark Ridley-Thomas and Grace Yoo, in the runoff for council District 10 Los Angeles?

Answer: I favor Grace Yoo but only by a slight margin. Ridley-Thomas has been in too long and will not bring any new leadership to the table. He has done some good things in the County, but not enough. I would like to see leadership like that of Grace Yoo. My only objection to Yoo is that she is a lawyer and I don’t think we need more lawyers in government, I think there will be a conflict of interest. Both candidates IMO do not have a strong record on civil rights and both are named in complaints with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing concerning denial of equal opportunity at city sponsored candidate forums in January 2020. The Los Angeles mayor and city council don’t seem to have anything to say about “full and equal” treatment of qualified write-in candidates. Will either candidate confront the corruption at city hall? It sure won’t be Ridley-Thomas.

2022

This Commentary was by G. Juan Johnson candidate for Mayor of Los Angeles 2022. For 2022 “I support a revamp of the local election process by making the nominating petition online and reduce the number of signatures needed to run from 500 to 50 (or eliminate the nominating petition altogether). I think this would make the process more accessible to those who want to be nominated for office and help dispel the notion that politics is the playground for the elite.”

BONUS QUESTION: Like California, my state allows tenants to post and display about the election. What do I do if my landlord tells me to remove the election poster and threatens me with eviction?

ANSWER: (Not intended as legal advise nor is this intended to intimidate, harass, defame, or threaten any property owner). IMO most landlords and property owners are law abiding and follow the law and respect tenant rights. But in the opposite case: if you have a good relationship with your landlord, they probably won’t say anything about the election signs; but if you have a volatile relationship, then one more log in the fire may not matter. When you first post the sign, take a picture with a newspaper in the picture to establish the date. If the owner gives you a three day notice to remove the sign, save a copy of that. You will take the sign down before the three days expires because you want to avoid eviction, but you will also write/email/certified mail the owner and quote the applicable law and tell them you are suffering damages because he told you to remove the sign. After you remove the sign, take another picture with a newspaper in it and showing the sign removed. If you feel you have been damaged by the landlord, you can take say $100 and file suit online in small claims court; you will have to pay about $60 to have the complaint “served” on the owner. If you paid money to have the sign made, that becomes your damages. If you go to court and lose, and the owner does not cross sue you, you will not be out any additional monies. This law exists to protect the election process and encourage people to exercise their right to vote. Landlords should not be allowed to violate the law and interfere with the election process.

Legal Research

“DEFENDANTS’ May 23, 2016 letter—sent to PLAINTIFF because she engaged in protected activity by complaining of unauthorized entry into her unit and because she assisted others in the exercise/enforcement of their rights by sharing her experience online—constituted intimidation, threats, coercion, and interference. So, to coerce, threaten, intimidate a person because she exercised, enjoyed, or helped others to exercise or enjoy the right to non-discriminatory treatment in the “terms, conditions, or privileges” or “services or facilities” provided in connection with housing —or to interfere with her exercise or enjoyment of those rights—violates the Anti- Retaliation provision. This Anti-Retaliation provision makes clear that to coerce, threaten, or intimidate a person, or to interfere with a person in her exercise, enjoyment, or her helping others exercise their rights—constitutes a separate, and distinct violation of the Fair Housing Act (see Hidden Village, LLC v. City of Lakewood, Ohio (2013).”

https://blainfirm.com/fair-housing-act-fha-motion-for-summary-judgment- retaliation/

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