Veterans: How Does Voting Impact the Veteran Population in Ventura County?

Veterans Benefits 2020, 2020 Super Tuesday
Andy Ostroth, 30 year Navy veteran and GCVF volunteer.

On Tuesday, Californians will vote in the primary election for presidential candidates and other federal, state and local races.

California and 13 other states will also vote on Super Tuesday. California has the most delegates by far, so our registered voters could make a big difference for the Democratic candidates.

In addition to making our primary choices for president, seats are also up for grabs in the U.S. Congress, California Senate and Assembly, Ventura County Board of Supervisors and Ventura County Superior Court Judges. Local voters will also find bond measures on their ballots.

How does this impact our veteran population in Ventura County? As veterans, we’ve defended our democracy, so we have a vested interest in the way our government is managed, at all levels.

Voting is not only our right as veterans and citizens, but also our responsibility. Voting keeps our democracy healthy, and the more citizens who vote, the more accurately and fairly the people are represented and supported by government.

It’s tempting to believe the issues are unsolvable or that our one vote won’t make any difference in the long run.

Unfortunately, low voter turnout is advantageous to some, even if it erodes the quality of our democracy. Because, the lower the voter turnout, the more powerful the votes are of the people who do vote.

Politicians study demographics. They spend their time and resources catering to those who do vote and contribute to their campaign and election efforts. They know how they got into the office they campaigned for and what they need to do to stay in power.

Some talk about the disenfranchised, and many elected officials actually make good on their promises and make a difference in the places they serve. These are the ones to vote in or keep in office.

So what are the best ways for veterans to help themselves in this process?

Do the footwork. Research the candidates and incumbents, and see if they align with what is important to you and your community. Check out the measures and propositions carefully. Read the unbiased pros and cons and fiscal impact.

It’s not always easy or fun. It’s almost as though someone hopes you will give up and not vote so special interests can get exactly what they want. Make sure it’s what you want as a voter. Then at least you know you have exercised your rights and responsibility as a good citizen.

Click here to visit the Ventura County Clerk and Recorder’s website for Election Day information, including candidate and measure information.

This leads to another important civic duty beginning in March. It’s time for the 2020 Census.

Beginning March 12-20, households will receive mail from the U.S. Census Bureau giving information on how to respond, either by mail, internet or phone.

The census was mandated by our Constitution every 10 years since 1790. It strives for an accurate count of every person living in the United States, in order to allocate federal funding for health care, firefighting and hundreds of millions of dollars in community planning and education, just to name a few.

The information you provide cannot by law be given to any other agency such as the IRS or law enforcement, for example. This is embedded in census culture and census employees are required to take an oath not to divulge personal information of any person.

Census takers will reach out to our homeless population to ensure they are counted as well. For each person who goes uncounted, the government will lose approximately 2,000 in funding per year for 10 years, so an accurate count is critical to accurate funding of important programs and services.

Click here for a related interview by Rafael Stoneman, our Mobile Veteran Outreach coordinator, on the importance of participating in the 2020 Census.

Happenings

March 5: The 78th birthday of the U.S. Navy Seabees. Click here to learn more about the Seabees, the U.S. Naval Construction Force.

March 7, 5 p.m.: The Seabee Ball will be at the Camarillo Ranch House, 201 Camarillo Ranch Road. Tickets available until March 4. Open to veterans. For tickets and more information, call 805-844-9003 or visit seabeeball.org/events/seabee-ball.

March 10, 10-11:30 a.m.: A veteran’s services orientation is planned at the Employment Development Department office, 2901 N. Ventura Road, Oxnard. The workshop will provide information on services and resources available to the veteran community. Participants must be registered with CalJOBS. For more information, call 805-288-8400 or visit https://edd.ca.gov/Jobs_and_Training/Caljobs.htm.

March 12, 9-11 a.m.: The Veterans Collaborative will meet at Employment Development Department office, 2901 N. Ventura Road, Suite 300, Oxnard. The event brings together veteran service organizations in Ventura County to share information and more. Networking is 9-9:30 a.m. and meeting is 9:30-11 a.m. For more info, call 805-288-8400.

March 28, 6-9 p.m.: A steak night will be offered at the VFW Post 10049, 4242 E. Los Angeles Ave, Simi Valley. Dinner includes steak, potatoes, side vegetable, salad and dessert. Cocktail hour starts at 5 p.m. Cost is a $15 donation. For more information or to RSVP, call 805-583-9722.

Mondays, 7-8:30 p.m.: A veteran’s Bible study will be hosted by Calvary Chapel Nexus at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, 824 Arneill Road, Camarillo. Child care is provided. For more information, contact Calvary Chapel Nexus, 805-384-1182.

Fridays, 7 p.m.: Karaoke night at the VFW post 1679, 3801 Market St., Ventura. The event is free to all veterans. For more information, call 805-642-2674.

Source: VC Star article from March 1, 2020