Editor’s note: Go to signalscv.com tonight for up-to-the-minute election returns.
Santa Clarita Valley residents woke to find an election day already unfolding with voting booths set up at schools and with last minute street corner flag waving.
A man stood at the intersection of Bouquet Canyon Road and Newhall Ranch Road proudly waving a “Trump” flag while a woman stood behind him, waving an American flag just as proudly. It was Election Day.
Parents of some young children called to complain to local sheriff’s deputies – not about the voting, but about strangers being allowed easy access to elementary schools.
“We had some parents call in to complain that some of the voting booths are at elementary schools,” Lt. Rob Hahnlein of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station told The Signal Tuesday morning.
“I tell them that we have extra patrols at all the voting areas,” he said.
Voting at polling stations got underway at 7 a.m. Tuesday – not all of them without a hitch.
VOTING AT SCHOOLS
Saugus voter Bhogal Kam, who stood in line with more than 40 voters up at Mountainview Elementary School, found the ballot-taking machines designated for Democrats and those designated for Independents were not working.
“I felt I had to say something,” he told The Signal. “I needed to know if my vote counted.”
Kam said he was assured by the polling worker that his vote would be taken manually. Kam said he was assured by the explanation given.
He was told the ballot-taking machines were not working due to a “loose connection.”
Even old school technology had its problems.
“Some pens have NO ink in them,” Kam said, noting they only had to work one day. “You would think they would check everything prior to the start of the General Election.”
Problems with ink – or the lack of it – in voting pens were also reported at Fair Oaks Ranch Community School in Canyon Country. Voters also reported a broken machine and were told polling workers were waiting for a replacement, according to one polling station volunteer.
At least one ballot-taking machine was also reported broken at the polling station inside the Valencia Glen Park building, according to one couple who phoned The Signal about the problem.
“It just didn’t feel right,” said the man, who voted at the park polling station with his wife at 11:30 a.m.
“The machine was broken and the (polling worker) told us he would put our ballots in a box to be collected.
“He told us the machine was would be replaced by the end of the day,” he said.
Voting at the park polling station was sparse shortly before noon, however, the couple was told it was crowded when it first opened.
Polling stations set up at places of higher learning had their own problems.
COC POLING STATIONS
Voters arriving to vote at the College of the Canyons Valencia campus found the two closest parking lots to the polling place sporting “Reserved for SCV Educational Leaders” signs, with no sign informing them where voters could park.
Some parked in the student drop-off-pick-up roundabout off Rockwell Canyon Road, blocking it at times.
A couple of small signs directed them to the Student Center building, where the polling place was located.
Shortly before 9 a.m. seven voters were lined up waiting to check in and receive ballots from volunteers, while seven more were in the voting booths that lined both walls of the hallway.
The volunteers quickly moved those waiting in line through the process of signing in and receiving their ballots, one volunteer stopping each ballot recipient and explaining that the ink-dispensing wands needed to be given a wrist twist with each vote to ensure the circle was fully blackened. Otherwise, she said, the vote might not count.
“We’ve been having trouble with this today,” she said.
One man occupied a voting booth with his sample ballot tipped to the light from a window, reading through each page before picking up the wand to vote. Two others stood waiting for an open booth.
At the polling station set up at Wolf Creek Restaurant in Valencia a resident snapped a photo of two election boxes containing ballots – left abandoned.
The person responsible for the ballot boxes reportedly retrieved keys from her car while leaving the boxes seemingly unattended.
The Associated Press reported that a polarized America went to the polls this morning to pick its 45th president, choosing to elect either Hillary Clinton as the first woman to be president or billionaire businessman Donald Trump, the final act of a long and rancorous campaign that upended U.S. politics.
The winner will inherit an anxious nation, angry and distrustful of leaders in Washington. She or he will preside over an economy that is improving but still leaves many behind, and a military less extended abroad than eight years ago yet grappling with new terror threats.
Clinton entered Election Day with multiple paths to victory, while Trump must prevail in most of the battleground states to reach 270 Electoral College votes. Control of the Senate also is at stake; Democrats need to net four seats if Clinton wins the White House. Republicans expect to maintain their House majority.
Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, arrived to vote at their local polling station in Chappaqua, New York, shortly after 8 a.m. as a crowd of cheering supporters snapped photos. Trump voted in Manhattan about three hours later.
“I know how much responsibility goes with this,” Clinton said. “So many people are counting on the outcome of this election, what it means for our country, and I will do the very best I can if I’m fortunate enough to win today.”
Trump said he wanted to tap America’s unrealized potential.
“I see so many hopes and so many dreams out there that didn’t happen, that could have happened, with leadership, with proper leadership,” he said by telephone on Fox News. “And people are hurt so badly.”
Almost 45 million people cast ballots in advance before Election Day. Many voters expressed relief the end was in sight after two years of relentless campaigning, racially loaded rhetoric and sharp accusations against each candidate.
with files from the Associated Press
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt