LOS ANGELES — The early-voting period in the California primary had voters excited for Super Tuesday. Los Angeles County voters were looking forward to a new system with no assigned precincts and new electronic ballot marking devices built by Smartmatic.
The registrar also added ten extra days of in-person voting at vote centers.
But when Super Tuesday came along, many voters found themselves waiting for as long as five hours to cast their ballots, forcing some centers to open past midnight.
“I usually vote at this location, usually there’s a lot more booths to be able to vote in so hopefully by the time the next vote comes around, there’s a lot more booth so we can get through as many people possible a lot quicker,” said Stephanie Sajor.
“For this gym here, they usually have 24 plus machines, and because they have the new system, they have 5 in here, and so you can only imagine like all the folks, the K-town residents coming through here you think OK it’s gonna be quick, and it’s actually not quick and then coupled with the fact the glitches the technical difficulties, some machines going down, and coming back again,” said Eddy Gana.
Melissa Ramoso, Artesia City Councilwoman, said there were “lines of people — because some vote centers only had two working computers and that causes a problem and people were waiting for some time.”
“So it’s a new system hopefully we can for the next election we can change things but definitely I think it’s a good investment in terms of having us vote early and trying to capture a bigger audience.”
Since then the city, county, and secretary of state Alex Padilla have criticized the process, calling for investigations and demanding answers.
County registrar Dean Logan said they recognize and are evaluating the shortfalls. In a statement on Thursday, Logan listed out some of the issues they plan on addressing such as voting center locations, allocation, and resourcing.
He said they also need to increase the awareness of the ten-day early voting period, especially among college campuses.
While there have been calls to mail ballots to all voters, Logan said his office will also look into the costs and potential problems with the mail-in system including challenges for college students, the homeless, and limited English speakers.
As of last Thursday night, election officials have counted some 1.3 million ballots, with another 800 thousand left to be counted in the county.