Human Voter Guide: March 7 election and how to troubleshoot voting problems

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Los Angeles County voters head to the polls on March 7 where they get to cast ballots on a countywide homeless measure and, depending on where they live, local offices and proposals.

In the city of Los Angeles, voters will decide whether to re-elect Mayor Eric Garcetti. Any candidate could win the race outright in the primary with more than 50 percent of the votes. Otherwise, the top two candidates will advance to the May 16 general election. Voters will also choose among candidates for City Council, the Los Angeles Unified School District board and the Los Angeles Community College District trustees.

Wherever you live in the county and whatever is on your ballot, we are back to help you count your way down to Election Day. 

Have a question about voting or something on the ballot? Call or text our Human Voter Guide hotline at 323-538-5722. You can also reach out via email: humanvoterguide@gmail.com. 

The Human Voter Guide airs on KPCC's Take Two with segments on your questions and our answers.

Now, let's turn to your questions:

Q: What voting deadlines are coming up? 

If you want to vote by mail, you can request a vote by mail ballot up until Feb. 28. That's just over two weeks away. The fastest way to do that is to go online

Another deadline to keep in mind is this election's voter registration deadline. That's coming up next week on Feb. 21. If you miss that deadline, your only option is to go to the county headquarters in Norwalk on election day. You can register or update your registration online if you've moved recently

Q: I never received my ballot last November. I was worried it got lost in the mail so I requested a new one, but that never arrived either. I checked my status online and it was up to date. What do I do next?

There are a few common questions you should ask yourself if you're not getting election materials when you should.

1. Have you moved recently? If so, you need to update your voter registration on the California Secretary of State's website.

2. Has it been awhile since you've voted? If you've missed a few elections, it's possible you've been dropped from the voter rolls and need to re-register by Feb. 21.

If neither of those circumstances apply to you, it's possible election officials or your mailman may have made an error. Unfortunately, mistakes do happen. When they do, it's usually on the voter to try and get them resolved.

You can call the Los Angeles County Registrar's office at 562-466-1323. Phone numbers for other county elections offices are listed here.

Don't be afraid to file a complaint – complaints will ultimately help the system improve.

And as a fail safe, remember that you can always vote provisionally on Election Day. If you live in L.A. County, you can go to any polling location within the county. All provisional votes are verified and, barring any issues, they are counted.

Q: What do I need to know about the L.A. county's Measure H?

The countywide Measure H would implement a quarter-cent sales tax to fund homeless services. To pass, 2/3 of the voters need to approve it and it would raise an estimated $355 million annually.

See your sample ballot for an analysis of Measure H or check out our Voter's Edge Voter Guide for more information.

Q: I'm confused about the city of L.A.'s Measure S. What will it do?

Measure S is a proposal on the ballot for the city of Los Angeles to create a two-year moratorium on many large-scale construction projects. It's got a lot of money behind it on both sides. If you live in Los Angeles, you've probably received mailers on this one already.

Measure S supporters say it would help with issues like traffic problems and neighborhood preservation. Opponents, on the other hand, say the measure would cause economic problems and make it harder to house the homeless. 

Q. Any tips for voters who are still undecided on Measure S?

One key on Measure S is to read the fine print. You can study your sample ballot, where you'll find the pro and con arguments. 

Mona Field, a professor emeritus of political science at Glendale Community College, also has this tip about those mailers:

"Ignore the junk mail, it is useless. It's all biased and can also be highly inaccurate," she said. "Staying incredibly well informed is essential if you want to have a vote that reflects your true feelings."

So be wary of campaign mailers. KPCC will have more reporting coming up on Measure S in the next few weeks to help you make your decision.

Read our voter's guide for more discussion on this measure.

Need more help deciding? On March 1, KPCC's Larry Mantle will hold a cram session on Measure S and Measure H at the Crawford Family Forum in Pasadena. You can RSVP online for the free event.  

Series: Human Voter Guide

Municipal elections will be held across Los Angeles County on March 7. To help you navigate the way, we revive KPCC's Human Voter Guide, a series of questions-and-answers about California elections.

Have a question? Email our senior political reporter Mary Plummer, tweet her @maryplummer or leave a voice mail or text at 323-538-5722.

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