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The Courage California Voter Guide compiles the information that allows you to make informed decisions about the races on your ballot, based on your values. Vote in every race on your ballot! It's our right and our responsibility. Please share this guide with your friends and family.

Voting has changed in Los Angeles County this year. The Voter’s Choice Act was enacted in the county to make voting more convenient. Changes include an expanded period of in-person early voting, every registered voter in the county will receive a vote-by-mail ballot, and every registered voter in the county is able to vote in-person at any Vote Center in their county. Also, in-person voters in Los Angeles County will have the opportunity to use the new Ballot Marking Device, a touchscreen with audio features, to mark their ballots. Have questions about the changes to voting in Los Angeles County? Visit your county elections website.

Congress, 25th Congressional District

Depending on where you live, you may have the below races on your ballot.

Member of the House of Representatives

Christy Smith photo

According to our analysis, Christy Smith is the strongest choice to represent Congressional District 25. She is a strong advocate who can bring people together in order to advance progressive initiatives, which is exactly what Congressional District 25 needs.

About the Race

This is a special election on May 12th to fill the seat left vacant in October 2019 after a scandal-driven resignation by Katie Hill (D). Assembly Representative Christy Smith is running against Mike Garcia (R), an Iraq War veteran and a top executive at a leading defense contractor. The winner will serve the remainder of Hill’s term through 2020. Republicans are highly invested in the outcome of this race, have poured a lot of resources into it, and are relying on low voter turnout to pull off a win.

About the District

Congressional District 25 covers most of northern Los Angeles County and part of eastern Ventura County. It includes the cities of Palmdale and Santa Clarita, most of Lancaster and Simi Valley, and part of the northern San Fernando Valley. The district was held by Republicans for over 25 years before it was flipped in 2018 by progressive Democrat Hill. Hill’s win helped Democrats win back a majority in Congress; as a result District 25 is not only one of the most competitive Congressional districts in California but in the nation. 

About the Opponent

Mike Garcia (R) is an Iraq War veteran and an executive at Raytheon, a leading defense contractor. Garcia isn’t the leader our community needs right now. We deserve someone who will fight to expand healthcare, not oppose it (as Garcia had done with the Affordable Care Act). Despite the continual blunders and fatal missteps made by the federal government in navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, Garcia fully supports the president and has stated that he believes the administration has done a decent job addressing the public health crisis. 

We recommend that you cast your vote for Christy Smith, who currently serves in the State Assembly and has earned a reputation for championing progressive childcare and education initiatives. 

Candidate Background

Rep. Christy Smith is a longtime resident of Santa Clarita, CA. According to campaign materials, she is running to represent Congressional District 25 to improve public education, make healthcare more affordable and available, and end corruption in Washington. Rep. Smith currently serves in the State Assembly representing Assembly District 38, which includes portions of LA and Ventura Counties. Prior to her election, she worked as an analyst at the US Department of Education, founded the Valencia Valley Technological Education Foundation, and served as president of the Newman School District.

Candidate Record

In the State Assembly, Rep. Smith has taken progressive stances on childcare and education and has authored legislation to protect children and human trafficking victims. These include AB 543, which makes school sexual harassment resources accessible, AB 629, which authorizes the Victim Compensation Board to provide compensation equal to loss of income or support to human trafficking victims, and AB 1336, which funds more childhood unintentional injury prevention programs.

In 2019, Rep. Smith scored a 48 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislator's progressive voting records. This is largely due to unfavorable votes on issues including affordable housing, economic justice, workers rights, racial justice, and political accountability. Of particular concern were her no votes on AB362, which allows the state to contract safe-injection site operators in the Bay Area, and AB1215 which bans biometric surveillance and facial recognition from use in police body cameras for three years. A low Courage Score is not atypical for a legislator representing a historically Republican-led district such as Assembly District 38, and based on our analysis, Rep. Smith’s votes move her district in a progressive direction.

Candidate Viability and Support

Progressive allies on the ground in the district, especially those working with marginalized communities, are strongly aligned behind Rep. Smith. Though we disagree with some of Smith’s stances and votes outlined above, her electoral support and substantial list of endorsements in a recently flipped district indicates progressive consensus. Rep. Smith’s record in the State Assembly also shows she can win in competitive districts where Republicans have traditionally dominated. Her 2018 election was a signal victory for Democrats and flipped Assembly District 38, which had been held by Republicans since 1978.

How to Vote in this Election

The May 12 election encompasses only the 25th Congressional District and is being administered by the Registrar of Voters in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. To be counted, completed ballots must be received at your County Registrar of Voters office no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day, or be postmarked on or before Election Day and received no later than three days after Election Day.

Register to Vote 

You must register to vote by April 27, 2020 to receive a Vote By Mail ballot in the mail. After the April 27th deadline, you can still register and vote under Conditional Voter Registration (CVR), also known as Same Day Voter Registration. Contact your county elections office to learn more about CVR.

Vote in LA County

In LA County, voting by mail or voting in person at a participating Vote Center are the two ways to vote in this election. 

  • Vote By Mail: All registered voters in the May 12 Congressional District 25 Special General Election have been mailed a Vote by Mail ballot starting April 13th.
  • Vote In Person: Voters have 10 consecutive days and Election Day to vote in-person at ANY participating Vote Center in the County. Safe and secure Vote Centers throughout the District will follow all COVID-19 related public health and safety guidelines. During the voting period, Vote Centers will be open from 8 AM to 5 PM during the 10 days prior to Election Day. On Election Day, all Vote Centers will be open from 7 AM to 8 PM. Please note that voting early at the LA County Registrar Headquarters will not be available during the COVID-19 Stay at Home order. 
  • Accessible Voting: The international symbol of access is used on every sample ballot pamphlet to indicate if a polling place is accessible to voters using wheelchairs. Presently, 95% of L.A. County polls are accessible. To find the nearest accessible polling place with the same ballot as your precinct, call (800) 815-2666, option 4 or use the Polling Place Lookup on the County Elections website.
  • Los Angeles County Elections Website: https://locator.lavote.net/locations/vc/?id=4178
Vote in Ventura County

In Ventura County, voting by mail is the only way to vote in this election and every eligible registered voter will receive a vote by mail ballot. There will be no in-person polling locations. 

  • Vote By Mail: Voted ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received by the Elections Division no later than three days after Election Day. No postage is necessary. Ballots dropped off in person must be received no later than 8:00 p.m. on Election Day. Voted ballots may be dropped off at a 24/7, outside, secured drop box at the office of the Simi Valley City Clerk or in ballot drop boxes available in front of the Hall of Administration and Hall of Justice Buildings of the Ventura County Government Center. 
  • Accessible Voting: Voters with differing abilities can receive access to Remote Accessible Vote By Mail (RAVBM). The RAVBM system allows voters with differing abilities to download and mark their ballot privately and independently using their own assistive technology. To sign up for RAVBM, call (805) 654-2664 or email VenturaVoterRegistration@ventura.org.

Ventura County Elections Website: https://recorder.countyofventura.org/elections/

Last updated: 2020-07-15

Endorsed By: California Democratic Party, California Federation of Teachers, California League of Conservation Voters, California Teachers Association, Equality California, LA County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, NARAL Pro-Choice California, National Union of Healthcare Workers, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, SEIU CA, Sierra Club California, Stonewall Democratic Club , Los Angeles Times, International Association of Fire Fighters, Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters (SWRCC), Communications Workers of America (CWA), Central Coast Labor Council (CCLC), Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1277, American Federation of Music (AFM) Local 47, Teamsters Joint Council 42, International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Southern California District Council, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) AFL-CIO, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 36, LA/OC Building and Construction Trades Council, California IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) Council, UNITE HERE Local 11, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 40, United Steelworkers (USW) Local 675, Teamsters Local 399, International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 12, Laborers (LiUNA) Local 300, Plumbers & Fitters United Association (UA) Local 761, National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), California School Employees Association (CSEA), EMILY's List, Human Rights Campaign (HRC), National Organization of Women (NOW), National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC), California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV), League of Conservation Voters (LCV), Climate Hawks VOTE, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare PAC, End Citizens United (ECU), Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Giffords PAC, Armenian National Committee of America - Western Region, Indivisible, Indivisible Conejo, Indivisible CA-25 Simi Valley/Porter Ranch, California Young Democrats (CYD), Los Angeles County Democratic Party (LACDP), Ventura County Democratic Party, Ventura County Young Democrats, Heart of LA Democratic Club, Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley (DP/SFV), Democrats for Israel-Los Angeles, Democratic Alliance for Action of Santa Clarita, North Valley Democratic Club, Simi Valley Democratic Club, San Fernando Valley Young Democrats, Simi Valley Democratic Club, Southern California Armenian Democrats (SCAD)