LOS ANGELES — As we countdown to the 2020 elections, Los Angeles County is unveiling some nifty new gadgets and initiatives to give voters a personalized experience.
The presidential election primaries are less than five months away, and Los Angeles County is hoping some new technology can spark voter engagement.
While vote by mail ballots will not see any changes, in-person casting will be different.
Officials will decrease the number of precincts from 4,000 to about 1,000.
However, county residents will be allowed to vote at any polling place for eleven days, regardless of their address.
Officials will also bring the new electronic polling places to people, with pop-ups and trailers, where registered voters will be in a database allowing their specific ballots to be cast anywhere.
“They can go to any vote center in the county, meaning that you can go some place close to work, some place close to where you drop your kids off at school, some place close to the gym where you go after work to work out and maybe even more important than that places that are visible in the community, maybe you’re thinking about voting but you’re going to the farmers market this weekend and you see that there’s a vote center there,” said Dean Logan, LA County Registrar-Recorder County Clerk.
And when voters do go to the polls, they’ll be greeted by these new electronic ballot-marking machines.
The machines are accessible for all people, especially those with disabilities, and could make voting a personalized experience.
“It’s designed to a certain way, voters can kind of customize their voting experience if a voter wants to prepare in advance and bring in their interactive sample ballot, they can do that and have an expedited voting experience, if a voters have language needs they can customize those language needs so its not simply a translated ballot.”
After voters receive instructions and material in the mail, They get to input them into touchscreens.
Lines to receive ballots are expected to be faster, as the registry is electronic.
Inside the booth, the actual Selection process is about the same time as the paper ballots.
Officials say this method is secure, and has been tested.
“This ballot marking device is not connected to any network, is not connected to any internet, it is just connected to a power source and that is it. There’s no way anyone offline or from any other location can go and manipulate the selections that were made,” said Mike Sanchez. “And I was saying earlier, the voter themselves has two opportunities to view not only on screen but paper ballots as well. And third line this device does not count any of the ballots.”
At the end of the month, LA County will get to test the machines with a series of fun-filled voter events where, eager voters can try it out, and it can also help officials figure out if there are any bugs left to fix before February.