Have you registered to vote in the November election? Today’s the deadline

A woman drops a ballot into a box.
During the 2020 election, Cecelia Decrona of Newport Beach drops off her ballot.
(Raul Roa / Los Angeles Times )

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Monday, Oct. 24. I’m Katie Licari, a reporter on the data and graphics team. We cover a variety of stories, including wildfires and droughts, as well as who is funding the governor’s race.

Today is the last day to register to vote in California before the November election. I moved recently and had to change my address. The process was simple and took less than five minutes!!! They have information in nine languages. If you’re not sure you’re registered, you can check your status at the California secretary of state’s office.

If you aren’t able to register today, you can still register to vote conditionally in person on election day. Conditional voting means that elections officials count your vote after verifying your voter registration.

Even though I cover local campaign finance, I still find a lot of aspects of the voting process difficult to navigate, including figuring out what my assembly district is, what a county supervisor does, and where I vote.

Luckily, my colleagues have created a bunch of resources that helped me a lot, and I’m excited to share a few of them with you.

Voting in California:

  • Since the 2020 election, where and how we vote has changed. Instead of assigned polling places, Californians can now either vote in person at any vote center in their county, or drop off their mail-in ballot at any dropbox. I used this map of SoCal counties to find a ballot drop box within walking distance of my new home.
  • The initiative system in California was created as a progressive era reform in 1911. It is a form of direct democracy, which means that the citizens vote directly on legislation. This system means that every two years there is a new dizzying list of propositions to learn about. Our guides on the propositions can help you figure it all out.
  • Another confusing part of politics is keeping track of the money in various races. The Times’ data and graphics team crunched the numbers to create some handy money trackers, including one on the governor’s race, one on the sports betting propositions, 26 and 27, one on the attorney general’s race and more.

For the record:

1:56 p.m. Oct. 26, 2022An earlier version of this article said the proposition system began in 1911; it was the initiative system.

Voting in Southern California: I live in Orange County, and here are a couple of my favorite sources of info.

  • The Voice of O.C. is a nonprofit local newsroom. I used their candidate survey to learn about the stances my council candidates have on hyper-local issues including the fate of our soup kitchen.
  • I also really love the Desert Sun for information about Palm Springs, the Coachella Valley, and the surrounding communities. The Desert Sun staff produced an election guide that explains what seats are open and the candidates running.

Voting in Los Angeles County:

  • If you are an Angeleno looking to become more civically engaged, I cannot recommend the Shape Your L.A. tool more. All you need to do is type in your L.A. County address and it tells you the names and contact information of your representatives. It also explains the role of each office.
  • This election, the L.A. County sheriff’s race between Sheriff Alex Villanueva and former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna has been particularly contentious. A lot of L.A. voters do not know much about Luna. I really got a sense of who the candidate is in a profile by my colleague Connor Sheets. In addition, if you want to see which sheriff’s candidate Tom Hanks donated to, please check out my reporting on the money flowing into the race for sheriff.

And now, here’s what’s happening across California:


Note: Some of the sites we link to may limit the number of stories you can access without subscribing.


A woman's picture is held aloft among people carrying banners and marching down a city street.
Thousands march in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday in solidarity with those in Iran seeking a change in government.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Thousands rally in downtown L.A. for regime change in Iran. Protesters gathered in downtown L.A. on Saturday in a show of solidarity with demonstrators in Iran protesting the death of a young woman while in the custody of the morality police. Protests have erupted across the globe around human rights abuses within Iran. Southern California, home to the largest enclave of Iranians outside Iran, has been particularly active. Los Angeles Times

More antisemitic hate seen in L.A. after Kanye West’s remarks. The rapper’s weeks-long spate of antisemitic comments drew a well-known hate group to Los Angeles this weekend for a demonstration of support on a 405 Freeway overpass, raising alarms from local officials and residents that the rapper’s rhetoric was inspiring more public bigotry. Los Angeles Times

Now is the time to share your thoughts on an aerial gondola to Dodger Stadium. Metro finished its draft environmental impact report on the controversial plan for a gondola from Union Station to the stadium, and has a series of meetings coming up to present the project and take public comment. One will be held Tuesday from 5 to 7 p.m. at Union Station. LAist

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Newsom trades barbs with Dahle in California’s only 2022 gubernatorial debate. Gov. Gavin Newsom and state Sen. Brian Dahle clashed over gas prices, homelessness and abortion rights during the only debate between the two in an otherwise sleepy governor’s race. After the debate, Newsom called on L.A. City Councilmembers Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo to resign two weeks after a leaked racist audio recording became public. Los Angeles Times

Racist audio leak could push L.A. City Hall further left in Nov. 8 election. Close watchers of L.A. politics generally agree that anti-establishment candidates are more likely to benefit in the wake of the recording. If they prevail, they could easily remake the city in a number of ways, cutting spending for police, enacting more aggressive renter protections and rethinking the city’s approach to homelessness. Los Angeles Times

A sexual misconduct settlement could threaten #MeToo progress at California Capitol. A case involving former lawmaker Matt Dababneh and the state Assembly concluded with Dababneh getting a list of witnesses. “This is the reason why many survivors don’t come forward,” said Carrie McFadden, who thought she had spoken with investigators confidentially in February 2018 about her allegation. Los Angeles Times


illustration of a prison guard, his teen daughter, and an inmate with San Quentin state prison in background
(Illustration by Jon Stich / For The Times)

A prison guard’s murder, an inmate’s death sentence and a 40-year battle for freedom. Jarvis Jay Masters has long said he’s innocent of having a role in the murder of a San Quentin prison guard. He says his greatest hope is that he will one day rejoin the larger world, and that those in it will still be able to recognize him as “a human being” — something he hasn’t felt since being condemned to death. Now he has Oprah Winfrey on his side. The children of correctional Sgt. Hal Burchfield, meanwhile, talk about a childhood upended. Los Angeles Times

At Modesto protest of “comply or die” policing, loved ones of those killed seek justice. As part of the National Day of Protest against police brutality, about two dozen people gathered at a busy intersection on Saturday to repeat their call for justice in the fatal shooting of Paul Chavez. Chavez, who was drunk and holding a trailer hitch, was killed by a police officer on July 14. Modesto Bee

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California “prime target” for home price declines in 2023. With mortgages rising at the fastest pace in decades, buyers are on the sidelines or priced out. The result is dropping prices in California and other expensive markets, and more homes are for sale because they’re sitting longer without an offer. Some economists say the slowdown will likely last through much of next year. Orange County Register

$60,000 “casitas” and giant awnings: Rick Caruso, Karen Bass pitch cheaper homeless units. The mayoral candidates have keyed in on something that’s been painfully evident for years, writes columnist Steve Lopez. It costs way too much and takes far too long to build housing in a city with a sprawling catastrophe on its hands — 40,000 homeless people. Los Angeles Times


“Wow that’s right off our coast”: What divers saw on rare trip to photograph wildlife at a California marine sanctuary. Cordell Bank, a “breathaking seamount,” is only 22 miles from Point Reyes National Seashore. It’s a place of deepwater spires plastered in pink and orange coral with “every square inch ... covered in sometimes multiple layers of invertebrates.” The diving team aimed to raise awareness about the beauty of the location as well as the effects of climate change on the ocean. San Francisco Chronicle


Review: A 6½-hour theatrical experience that may unlock something healing within you. Times theater critic Charles McNulty reviews “The Inheritance” at the Geffen Playhouse, a play that he says is better in its Los Angeles staging than it was on Broadway. The plot’s as roiling as a soap opera, he writes, while touching on diversity, marginalization and privilege. “The characters connect the dots between the gay past and the gay present.” Los Angeles Times

Column: Karen Bass’ Latino-Black family is everything the ugly audiotape is not. The Times’ Gustavo Arellano talked with Rep. Bass, a candidate for L.A. mayor, whose stepchildren are Mexican American. “As a family, they have lived what so many people say L.A. has always lacked and needs now more than ever: good relations between the Black and Latino communities.” Los Angeles Times

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Los Angeles: 78, sunny. San Diego: 74, sunny. San Francisco: 69, sunny. San Jose: 72, sunny. Fresno: 72, sunny. Sacramento: 73, sunny.


Today’s California memory is from Russell Hoxie:

I grew up in the wonderful city of Glendale, where my late father and I enjoyed hiking in the Verdugo Hills. One crisp, clear winter evening at sundown, we were descending one of its trails when the color of the sky became a brilliant orange. As we continued our descent, we had the good fortune to enjoy a panoramic view of the sparkling lights of Southern California. Although I have been to many beautiful places in the world, I have never seen such a gorgeous sight as what I saw that night.

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)

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