Politics

LA voters hit the polls early; some report delays

Voters cast their ballots at Echo Park Deep Pool in Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 8, 2016.
Voters cast their ballots at Echo Park Deep Pool in Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 8, 2016.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Voters cast their ballots at Echo Park Deep Pool in Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 8, 2016.
Miguel Sanguino of Los Angeles waits for his family members to cast their ballots at Echo Park Deep Pool on Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 8, 2016.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Voters cast their ballots at Echo Park Deep Pool in Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 8, 2016.
Poll Workers Apolonia Corrales, left, and Laura Pallares help voters cast their ballots at Echo Park Deep Pool in Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 8, 2016. Pallares is a student at Edward R. Roybal Learning Center and this is her first time volunteering.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Voters cast their ballots at Echo Park Deep Pool in Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 8, 2016.
Voters cast their ballots at Echo Park Deep Pool in Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 8, 2016.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC


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Voters across Los Angeles County lined up early to cast their ballots early on Tuesday. Some reported long lines even before voting started at 7 a.m. But other than the usual early-morning lines, only a handful of problems have so far been reported. At a polling place in Van Nuys, voting was delayed when ballot marking devices didn’t arrive on time. In Alhambra, voters at one polling place reported delays because of a mix-up of ballots and voter rolls. KPCC will continue updating this story as we look into these and other reports of problems at the polls.

Highlights

Update 5:46 p.m.: Los Feliz voters focus on family 

Eddie Ramirez was elated to his cast first vote since becoming an American citizen this year at a nearly deserted polling station in Los Feliz late Tuesday afternoon.

“It feels awesome,” said Ramirez. “I was really looking to voting and it feels great.” 

Ramirez, who immigrated from Mexico, said it was important to cast his vote in this election since he believes electing Donald’s Trump would hurt members of his family that still live in Mexico.

“Some of the policies Trump has proposed would tear apart my family, so it was important for me to come out here and vote to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Meanwhile, down the road at another polling station in Los Feliz, Alicia Driscoll snapped a selfie in front an American flag with her two kids after she finished casting a vote for Hillary Clinton.

“It was important to bring my kids along to share in this historic moment,” she said. “It was emotional. Today I’m feeling really hopeful and joyful.”

Updated 11:12 a.m.: Ballot mix-up reported at Alhambra polling place

The first voters to arrive at their polling place at an Alhambra church at 7 a.m. were surprised when poll workers couldn’t find their names on the voter roll.

Alhambra voter Steve Whittaker was there and witnessed the frustration as voters were invited to vote by provisional ballot. Then the polling place supervisor informed them there had been a mix-up of voting materials, including ballots and the registration books containing voter names.

“Alhambra’s went to Rosemead, Rosemead’s went to Alhambra. So the Sheriff Department brought over the sealed containers with our stuff, our roster. But it’s an unusual situation, I’m a little concerned,” Whittaker told KPCC.

Polling place supervisor Carmen Chavez declined to be interviewed, but she verified the mix-up occurred as Whittaker described.

“This is such an important election. It’s a concern when things don’t flow as one would hope,” he said.

Whittaker didn’t want to cast a provisional ballot because those typically get counted in the days and weeks after Election Day. He finally got in to vote by about 10:30 a.m.

Another voter, Leo Angeles, said he came to the Alhambra polling place at 7 a.m. and left after seeing that he couldn’t vote right away. He came back twice more before finally being able to vote with a standard ballot, also at about 10:30 a.m.

KPCC has reached out to the Los Angeles County Registrar’s office to ask about the cause of the mix-up and to see if it was repeated in other polling places.

So far, however, none of the problems reported have been unusual for a presidential election. As the Associated Press reports, long lines, machines not working properly and issues with ballots or voter rolls are all pretty routine matters that crop up every four years.

If you have a name mix-up or other problem with your ballot, you can always vote provisionally at any polling place in your county. Your ballot will still be counted.

For many voters, Election Day went as planned.

It was the first-ever presidential election for El Monte voter Allen Bernard Cabanillas. He’s 21 and was a polling place worker when he was still in high school. He carefully studied the propositions and was confident of his votes.

El Monte voter Allen Bernard Cabanillas, 21, turned out Tuesday for his first-ever presidential election.
El Monte voter Allen Bernard Cabanillas, 21, turned out Tuesday for his first-ever presidential election.
Sharon McNary/KPCC

The only thing that turned out to be difficult was selecting one of the names for president. He was unhappy with the major and third party candidates on the ballot.

"The vote that I did make, it took me some while. I actually was just standing there at the ballot, for a while. But I’m happy that I came to vote," Cabanillas said.

It’s a secret ballot, and Cabanillas chose not to disclose.

"I didn’t feel as proud as I thought I would my first time. I’m here, I guess. My civic duty," he said.

Cabanillas brought his parents to the polling place, where they took pictures of him and his “I voted" sticker.

West Covina voter Sheraleen Corpuz arrived at her polling place before 7 a.m. She said she was relieved to have the election over but still enjoyed the tradition of voting.

"Of course, as women, with the ratification of the 19th Amendment, this is one day that I really want to express what I feel," Corpuz said.

She was among about 20 people in line when the polling place at Good Stewards Church opened. That line was gone within about a half hour of the polls opening.

Another voter, Perla Serrano, speaking outside a polling place at Columbia Elementary School in El Monte as her daughter boarded a bus for a field trip, said she would accept either a President Trump or a President Clinton.

"I'm okay with either way, as long as I'm working, my family's okay — that's what matters," Serrano said.

Voter Pat Bluth said he was glad to close out this election season by voting.

"Really disgusted. I've never been through one like this ever," Bluth said. "Just the hate. It brought everyone out from under the rocks that were prejudiced, and they showed their true colors."

— Sharon McNary with KPCC staff

Updated 10:35 a.m.: Problem at Van Nuys polling place

Frustrations ran high at a Los Angeles polling place as voters were left waiting when ballot marking devices didn’t arrive on time.

Voter Bob Corbett said he was in line well before the 7 a.m. Tuesday opening at Delano Recreation Center in Van Nuys, but was told voting would be delayed.

The line snaked around the building until the devices arrived around 9 a.m., when voting finally began.

Corbett said he was frustrated but would wait however long it took to cast his ballot.

Elections officials didn’t immediately say what caused the delay.

Long lines were reported at polling places across Los Angeles County. The county’s 4,523 polls will close at 8 p.m.

— Associated Press

9:08 a.m.: Voters line up early at the polls

As the polls opened Tuesday morning, many voters were already waiting, trying to get ahead of traditionally long lines.

About four dozen people stood in line at the South Pasadena Library with 10 minutes to go before polls opened on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016.
About four dozen people stood in line at the South Pasadena Library with 10 minutes to go before polls opened on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016.
Kristen Muller/KPCC

At Good Stewards Church in West Covina, about 20 people were lined up waiting to vote at 7 a.m.

Maggie Chan said she was in the parking lot 45 minutes early “just in case.”

Chan had seen the long lines for early voting over the weekend and didn’t want to be late for work. She said this presidential election is unlike any she’s voted in before.

“I feel like there is so much controversy around it. Maybe it’s the social media generation, but at the same time I feel like it’s so important,” Chan told KPCC.

Within a half-hour of the polls opening, everybody waiting in line at the door had been able to vote and get on with their day.

Voters trying to cast their ballots before work faced similar lines at other polling places.

At Blair High School in Pasadena, the line snaked through the gymnasium and out to the sidewalk.

About four dozen people were in line 10 minutes before polls opened at South Pasadena Library.

And the Associated Press reported at least 150 people were waiting before voting began at the North Hollywood Amelia Earhart Regional Library in Los Angeles.

Secretary of State Alex Padilla acknowledged the long wait times leading up to Election Day and said he expected a strong turnout this year.

Voters waited hours to cast ballots on the first and second weekends of early in-person voting in L.A. County. KPCC's Libby Denkman waited more than two hours to cast an early ballot at the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder's office in Norwalk on Monday.

Speaking with KPCC shortly before polls opened, Padilla said one reason for the strong potential turnout is the record registration — 19.4 million Californians are registered to vote this year, more than in any previous election year.

Padilla said his brother texted him a picture of the line at his polling place, and it was much longer than usual.

He said the lines for in-person voters Tuesday should be manageable, but he advised voters to come prepared.

“You know, the ballot’s a long one. It takes a minute to get through it, even if you already know how you’re going to vote. So do a little homework,” Padilla said.

Getting through that ballot more quickly shows courtesy to the people standing in line, he said.

— KPCC staff

Vote yet? Share a picture from your polling place or snap a selfie with your "I Voted" sticker (no pictures of your marked ballot, please) and tag us @kpcc on Twitter.

Problems at the polls? Padilla offered a hotline for any unusual activity, including intimidation — call 1-800-345-VOTE.

Correction: An earlier version of this story gave the wrong name for Good Stewards Church in West Covina. KPCC regrets the error.