Hollywood Local News West Hollywood

New county voting system resulted in long lines

LOS ANGELES — Reacting to the hours-long waits that occurred at some voting centers during the primary election, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla called on Los Angeles County to automatically send vote-by-mail ballots to every voter in the county ahead of the November general election.

“Fifteen counties, including Los Angeles County, conducted their elections under the Voters Choice Act,” Padilla said in a statement. “In the 14 other Voters Choice Act counties, every voter received their ballot by mail 29 days in advance of the election and had multiple options for returning their ballot. Los Angeles must do the same.

“I am calling on Los Angeles County to mail every registered voter a ballot for the November 3 general election in addition to improving the performance of vote centers,” he said. “This would be a first, but important, step in better meeting the needs of the largest, most diverse voting jurisdiction in the nation.”

Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan said the idea will have to undergo a cost analysis.

“A proposal to mail ballots to an estimated 2 million voters who have not previously voted by or requested a vote-by-mail ballot must include an evaluation of the costs, contractual authority, capacity and reliability of the providers and systems needed to meet legally required timelines for vote by mail, sample ballots and other required election notices,” he said.

Logan said expansion of the vote-by-mail option should be explored, “but more is required.” He also said the county needs to increase voter awareness of the availability of early voting under the new system and the benefits of interactive sample ballots.

He noted that expanding vote-by-mail distribution would not address the issues of voters who wanted to take advantage of the newly offered same-day registration.

Thousands of voters during the March 3 election were greeted with extensive lines at various vote centers across Los Angeles County. Some voters were still waiting in line past 11 p.m., more than three hours after the polls had technically closed.

State law requires that people be allowed to vote if they were in line prior to the polls closing.

The county’s election was the first under the new system, in which about 1,000 vote centers were placed around the county and were open for up to 11 days, allowing voters to cast their ballots at any time at any location. The old system had roughly 4,500 precinct locations open only on election day.

As a result of the long lines, vote-counting is taking longer than expected and the county still had more than 678,000 ballots to count as of March 6.

Here are some of the unofficial local results of the March 3 election:

In the 28th Congressional District, which includes Hollywood and West Hollywood, Democratic incumbent Adam Schiff received 57.66% of the vote. He will face Republican Eric Early, a father, attorney and businessman from Los Angeles who received 12.93% of the vote, in November.

In the 33rd Congressional District, Democratic incumbent Ted Lieu received 57.8% of the vote. He will face Republican James Bradley, a Venice business owner who received 19.05% of the vote, in November. The district incudes West L.A., part of the South Bay and the Fairfax District.

In the 34th Congressional District, Democratic incumbent Jimmy Gomez received 51.13% of the vote. He will face another Democrat, David Kim, a neighborhood council member from Los Angeles in November. Kim was the second highest vote-getter in the primary, receiving 22.21% of the vote. The district includes Northeast Los Angeles, East Los Angeles, Boyle Heights and downtown.

In the 50th Assembly District, Democratic incumbent Richard Bloom received 77.57% of the vote. He will face another Democrat, Will Hess, a writer, director and producer from West Hollywood, who received 15.13% of the vote. The district includes West Hollywood, West Los Angeles and part of Hollywood.

From City News Service