The fallout due to COVID-19 has resulted in vote-by-mail elections as witnessed in the November 3rd General Election which resulted in record turnout here in Los Angeles and around the country.
As the Venice Neighborhood Council (www.venicenc.org) grapples with how to maximize candidate recruitment and stakeholder turnout which decreased two years ago, the 600 lb gorilla in the room will be how does one determine the stakeholder status of the ever growing homeless population?
According to the BY-LAWS of the Venice Neighborhood Council, a Venice stakeholder must “live, work or own real property” to participate in this election and you must provide “proof of stakeholder status.”
Stakeholders must be 16 years of age or a junior or senior in high school.
To participate, voters will need to verify stakeholder status by providing documentation to the City of Los Angeles or more specifically the City Clerk’s Office who will conduct the election.
It is unclear at this juncture how Venetians will apply for ballots as vote-by-mail requests will begin on April 9th and end on June 1st.
Ballots must be post marked by 6/8 to be included in the final election results.
Candidates for the Venice Neighborhood Council can declare their intentions beginning on February 6th and the filing deadline closes on March 23rd.
But the real question for election officials is how will the City of Los Angeles canvass the homeless community?
What will be the specific outreach plan to maximize their participation both as voters and candidates?
With thousands of homeless in encampments at the beach and around the Venice, how does one verify their status as stakeholders to receive a ballot?
Public outreach will be difficult since the homeless community will rely on service providers for internet access as few, if any have that capacity. It will be interesting to see how VNC Election Administrator and Parliamentarian Ivan Spiegel will tackle this challenge in lieu of the ongoing pandemic that has seen this segment of the population explode in recent months. And just how will these ballots be delivered to those who have no physical address or will there be exceptions made to include the homeless community?
The Outreach Committee of the VNC will be meeting January 27th at 7PM to discuss these issues in a ZOOM call.
To access the meeting, visit www.venicenc.org
To learn more about running for the VNC, email firstname.lastname@example.org