Our work at the Kapor Center is grounded in our first value of “closing gaps, opening doors and SMASHing barriers”. In a time when there are so many variables that threaten our current elections — we want to do our part to help make civic participation as accessible as we can. This election cycle, we are excited to open our doors in West Oakland and offer an accessible and safe place for the community to cast their vote.
As we approach Election Day 2020, COVID-19 challenges and ongoing voter suppression efforts that have occurred for generations continue to prevent the communities we represent and serve from accessing the basic right to be heard and represented. The need for social distancing has led to an 87% decrease in polling location availability in Alameda county (800 in 2018 to 100 in 2020). With over 950,000 registered voters in our local community, voting will be time and space sensitive.
1901 Poplar will offer constituents the option to vote in-person or hand in completed mail-in ballots, if they choose to bypass the US Postal Service. Our annex is one of three polling places in West Oakland that will provide a secure, well-ventilated and open space where any Alameda county registered voter can participate since there are no assigned polling places this year.
As means to ensure constituents can access a polling place on their schedule, our doors will stay open during all approved days and hours of polling in Alameda County:
- October 31st: 9AM — 5PM
- November 1st and 2nd: 9 AM — 5PM
- November 3rd (Election Day): 7 AM — 8PM
Hosting a polling location at one of our sites is just one of a series of commitments we are making during our 100 Days of Action. As of August, the Kapor family of organizations (SMASH, Kapor Capital, Kapor Center) has committed to collective action against anti-blackness and for racial justice in our political, education and economic systems.
Specific to this this upcoming election, we not only commit but urge our partners to:
- Observe Election Day as a Paid Day of Action to enable civic engagement and support the community in getting out the vote. Options can range from driving voters to the poll, working at a polling location to providing refreshments to constituents as they wait on lines.
- #SMASHtheVote and campaign within our immediate and neighboring community members. Our campaign provides a centralized outreach method to ensure those we are connected with are registered, informed and engaged to and through Election day.
- Race to the Ballot and encourage your networks to learn about what is at stake for the communities we serve across all levels: city, state, and federal.
- Support organizations who are mobilizing Black and Brown communities to vote.
We firmly believe that our positive intent and effort will lead to further positive action. If you are looking to take part in the movement, there are multiple ways to do so. Here are a few:
- Make sure you and those in your immediate network are registered to vote. If you are not yet registered in California, you can still register in person on Nov. 3rd. Other state deadlines can be found here.
- Apply to become a Poll Worker! Though counties across the Bay Area have been able to fill the demand, many states fear they will be understaffed given the limited number of polling locations and anticipated large voter turnout.
- Join campaigns like #SMASHtheVote to learn more about how you can activate your network around the election
- Cast your vote — EARLY! Join us at 1901 Poplar or any other approved Polling Place in your county.