Does your Neighborhood Council have an online election happening soon? Here’s a press release about online voting that you can share with your stakeholders and local press contacts, in order to educate your voters, and promote your upcoming election. The release explains how online voting works in this season’s Neighborhood Council Elections. The press release appears below, and here’s a link to the document so you can share it to your Council’s Twitter, Facebook or website: http://tiny.cc/OnlineVotingPressRelease
ONLINE VOTING COMES TO LOS ANGELES
WITH THE 2016 NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL ELECTIONS
Vote from your home, car, or wherever you are
(Los Angeles, CA — June 8, 2016) Thanks to the convenience of online voting, voters in 35 Los Angeles communities may cast their votes from their home, car, or wherever they are during the 2016 Neighborhood Council elections, happening now through mid-June. This historic event marks the first time that Los Angeles has offered online voting in the city’s history.
Los Angeles’ Neighborhood Council system is a unique form of highly localized government found in no other American city. There are 96 Neighborhood Councils, each serving an average of 40,000 people. The councils advise the city government of Los Angeles, and help ensure that public services and policies are responsive to the variety of geographies; cultures; and economies in this vast region.
Who can vote in Neighborhood Council elections
The Neighborhood Council system was designed to represent the fabric of daily life within a community. As a result, Neighborhood Council elections are inclusive, and allow a far broader range of voters to participate than national elections do. Anyone may vote in a Neighborhood Council’s election who is a stakeholder of that council, so long as they register. “Stakeholder” refers to someone who lives, works or owns real property in the neighborhood and also to those who declare a stake in the neighborhood as a community interest stakeholder, defined as a person who affirms a substantial and ongoing participation within the Neighborhood Council’s boundaries and who may be in a community organization such as, but not limited to, educational, non-profit and/or religious organizations.
Everyone must register to vote in a Neighborhood Council election each election season, even if they’re voted in Neighborhood Council elections in the past or are already registered to vote in the national elections. Unlike national elections, voters do not need to be American citizens to vote in a Neighborhood Council election. However, they must be the minimum voting age for their Council or older, on the Election Day, in order to qualify. As individual councils determine their own voting models, minimum voting age varies between councils, but in some areas, elections are open to voters as young as 14.
To register, visit the Neighborhood Council Voter Registration Portal at http://empowerla.org/vrp/.
How online voting works
Digital voting has increased opportunities to vote and made voting more convenient than ever. Rather than having to cast their ballots at a specific location during certain hours, voters in the 2016 Neighborhood Council elections will be able to use a desktop computer; smartphone; or tablet to cast their ballots anyplace – at any time – during the three weeks leading up to their local council’s official Election Day.
Online voter registration closes one week prior to Election Day, but those who missed the deadline – or those who pre-registered but prefer voting in person – may still go to a council’s polling location on Election Day to cast their ballots. Everyone voting online must provide a photo ID upon registration, whether they sign up on the website or in person. Some Neighborhood Councils may require additional documentation of stakeholder status for voter verification – see a partial list of accepted ID types and qualifying documents here: http://tiny.cc/NCElectionDocs2016.
Pop-Up Polls: Mobile Voting Stations
The agility of online voting has brought a new level of customer service to the polling process. Poll workers have been able, for example, to pull up the correct ballot for voters who have come to the wrong location on Election Day.
But one of the most successful outcomes of online voting have been “Pop-Up Polls,” where the polls come to the people. Mobile voting stations have been set up around the city at public events and locations with heavy pedestrian traffic. Manned by just one or two poll workers with tablets, passersby can be registered to vote and then cast their ballots immediately afterwards – all in the space of a few minutes. These small but powerful extemporaneous polls can dramatically supplement the total number of ballots cast in a given council’s election. A list of upcoming Pop-Up Polls may be found at http://empowerla.org/popuppolls, or by searching #PopUpPolls.
How to find election details for a Neighborhood Council
Election details for each Neighborhood Council may be found on that Council’s EmpowerLA election homepage. To access the election homepage for a particular Council, go to the map at http://empowerla.org/find-your-council and click the name of that Council.
A Council’s election page will include information on what ID or other documentation may be necessary for voter verification. In order to see what Neighborhood Council an address falls into, enter an address or set of cross streets in the search bar at http://neighborhoodinfo.lacity.org/.
Help with voting and registration
If you have questions about how to register or vote in a Neighborhood Council election, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (818) 293-VOTE (8683.)
About the Los Angeles Neighborhood Council system
LA’s Neighborhood Councils are grassroots-level advisory bodies that exist to connect Angelenos to City Hall. The system was established in 1999 by the City Charter, in order to improve government responsiveness to local concerns. Currently, there are approximately 1800 elected Board Members serving on 96 Neighborhood Councils that each represent an average of 40,000 people. For a list of the City’s 96 Neighborhood Councils, visit http://empowerla.org/councils/.
EmpowerLA is a service of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment. Since its establishment in 1999, the Los Angeles Department of Neighborhood Empowerment has grown into the nation’s largest and most innovative initiative in civic engagement and citizen-based government. Through a network of 96 Neighborhood Councils, the City promotes public participation in government and works to improve government responsiveness to local concerns. Visit EmpowerLA.org to learn more about how the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment supports Neighborhood Councils and residents Citywide.