Get Out the Vote — Primaries
By Dianne Anderson
It’s the last few days before the primaries and activists are trying to get voters energized to cast their ballot, which doesn’t even require a single stamp.
In other words, people have to almost go out of their way these days to avoid voting.
Just pen in the circles, walk it in or have a trusted friend or family member drop it off no later than June 7 at 8 p.m. at any of the countless locations in cities throughout the state. Registered voters can also go to any county elections office in person to request and receive a vote-by-mail ballot.
Even those who missed the May 23 cutoff for online voter registration can get one last chance by checking out the Same Day Voter Registration page at https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voter-registration/same-day-reg.
Or, they can get registered at https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voter-registration/same-day-reg which is also offered at all county election offices. In each county, early voting locations and ballot drop-offs are available at https://caearlyvoting.sos.ca.gov. All ballots must be dropped in the box or in the mail, postmarked on or before Election day, and no one should be turned away from access to a conditional or provisional ballot.
But if the sheer simplicity of the process isn’t enough to motivate voters, Dr. Lance Robert said the community should never forget that not so long ago, Blacks were prohibited from voting in this type of election.
Dr. Robert, a political science professor, said this time is as important as during the Jim Crow era.
“There was a time when we couldn’t vote in the Primaries, it was called the White Primaries. Part of the whole period of the grandfather clause and literacy tests was the white primary where African Americans didn’t vote in the southern states,” said Robert, who is also the president of the 100 Black Men of Long Beach.
Civic duty is a concept that he keeps in front of his youth at the 100 BMLB. While the nonprofit is nonpartisan, he said the boys are excited about two of the organization’s long-time members, Vice-Mayor Rex Richardson, who is running for Mayor and Councilman Al Austin, who is running for the 69th Assembly District.
Others in their group are also dedicated to public service, and their youth are inspired to see Black leadership in action.
“I think they get charged up that I know the Vice Mayor. It’s kind of cool, there is energy because our kids see them,” he said. “You have to do the work now, we have to get out and do it. We tend to vote in November more than in June.”
June 7 is the last day to vote by mail or at their polling places that open from 7:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m. The top two vote-getters for all elected offices will then go on to compete in the November election.
Black Democrats in Orange County are also continuing to reach out to recruit and groom hopeful candidates, but the process has been slow.
Eugene Fields, vice chair of the Black Democrats of Orange County, said the county is making scant headway in terms of Black representation on boards and elected office, including the Board of Supervisors.
“There’s never been a directly elected Black mayor in Orange County. A lot of cities more recently like Tustin appoints a new mayor within their city council every year, but there’s never been someone running for mayor in Orange County directly elected who is Black,” said Fields, who is also on the California Democratic Party Black Caucus executive board.
In San Bernardino County, there is one last push to heighten awareness on campaign issues about the importance of this election.
Kristin Washington, chair of the San Bernardino County Democratic Central Committee, said that many are distracted and overwhelmed by the horrendous events that seem to come daily, not to mention the pandemic, which is all the more reason to vote.
Voters must understand who is on their ballot, she said, because decision makers that create the laws are elected by the people.
“What I’m hoping is that people will connect the dots that some of the reasons we have these tragedies are related to who we elect to represent us,” she said. “We always have to pay attention to who is running and we don’t have the luxury of ever skipping an election.“
She also hopes the community will come out to show support for Clifton Harris, who is running for the San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner seat.
She said he is the right man for the job, but also would be the first African American in a countywide seat.
“Other cities are having their second or third Black [office holder], we’re still trying to get our first,” she said. “We have an opportunity with this primary to accomplish that. That’s another reason to show up for this election.”
For more voter registration information, see the county elections office at
In Long Beach, see https://www.longbeach.gov/globalassets/city-clerk/media-library/documents/elections/2022/vote-center-ballot-boxes-2022
In Orange County, https://ocvote.gov/voting/voting-and-dropoff-locations-by-election
For San Bernardino Polling Places, https://sbcountyelections.com/Voting/PPL/2022/0607
For Riverside Polling Places,
For more on Clifton Harris, see https://harrisforsheriff.info