Ron Hassan

We are just days away from a special election to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom. Voters around the state, including those of us here in Hollywood and Beverly Hills, are already returning our mail-in ballots.

The last chance to ensure our voices are heard will be on election day, Sept. 14.

As President of the Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP, I am asking all members of our community to get out and vote either by mailing back your ballot or at the polls in-person. No matter who you choose, no matter your background, age or affiliation, we at the NAACP are urging you to vote in this election.

If you are not registered, it’s not too late to register to vote in person.

This recall election asks you two questions. The first asks if you support recalling (removing) Governor Newsom. If more than 50% support the recall, the current governor will be replaced.  The ballot’s second question lists all of the nearly 50 eligible candidates who want to be governor. Whoever gets the most votes will hold the office through January 2023, the remainder of Newsom’s term.

Whoever is declared governor after the election will also be in charge of the budget of the world’s fifth largest economy. They will oversee the state’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. And they will have to collaborate with the Legislature on finding solutions to housing affordability and homelessness and lead the response to the historic drought and wildfires we’ve seen this past year.

Voting is one important way that we can participate in our democracy and the Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP wants our community to have an appreciation for the fact that your vote is your voice. The NAACP has been just one part of a nationwide movement fighting for the right of Black Americans to vote for over 100 years. Over that period, brave NAACP activists have risked their lives for this fight, including activists like George W. Lee, who was brutally murdered in 1955 in retaliation to his efforts to register African Americans to vote. His sacrifice, alongside countless other racial equity fighters, is a reminder that the right to vote as a US citizen should never be taken for granted.

Read Related: Five Ways to Make Sure Our Votes Count in the Upcoming Recall Election

Thankfully, our state makes voting so convenient that there is no excuse for anyone not to vote. In 2016, California lawmakers passed the Voter’s Choice Act (VCA). The VCA expanded early voting in Los Angeles County. Traditional polling places have been replaced with vote centers which serve as a one-stop shops for all your voting needs.

At a vote center, you can vote in person, get help in multiple languages, cast your vote by using an accessible voting machine, and utilize same day registration. Voters can vote at any center in the county up to 10 days before Sept.14.

All registered Los Angeles-area voters have been sent a ballot in the mail. Returned ballots have already been counted.

Read Related: Black Leaders Voice Strong Support for Gov. Newsom as Voters Return Recall Ballots

The Secretary of State’s website offers a tool to help you find early voting and ballot drop-off locations in your neighborhood. You can use the BallotTrax tool to confirm that your vote has been counted.

So, do your part.  Get out and vote.
About the Author

Ron Hasson is the President of the Hollywood / Beverly Hills NAACP.