LOS ANGELES (CNS) - 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 today 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, 2020, 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.”
Thousands of voters during Tuesday's 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 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.
County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan attributed Tuesday's problem on a variety of factors, most notably an over-estimation of how many voters would take advantage of the early voting opportunities. Only about 250,000 voters did so, meaning the vast majority of them flocked to the more limited number of vote centers on election day.
Logan also said there were technical issues with the electronic check- in system at the vote centers -- used to ensure voters only cast one ballot -- creating a bottleneck of people as they arrived. He said once people cleared the check-in system, the touch-screen voting process went smoothly.
Padilla said the county needs to re-evaluate the locations of the voting centers. He also said some of the centers were “understaffed and under- equipped,” and some workers were “insufficiently trained.”
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