Supes discuss voting issues from Super Tuesday

Voters line up around the corner of the Stevenson Ranch library building with less than an hour left to vote on election night. March 03, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors ordered an investigation into the challenges voters experienced during the 11-day election period, in a unanimous vote Tuesday. 

“We always say it’s the most important election in our lifetime, and a lot went wrong,” said county Supervisor Janice Hahn, who co-authored the motion with Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who represents the 5th District, which includes the Santa Clarita Valley.  

“I know it was a new system,” Hahn said, “but it seemed to me like we spent a lot of time testing the actual machine, but we weren’t actually prepared for the onslaught of voters on Election Day.” 

On Super Tuesday, voters experienced hourslong wait times, like Stevenson Ranch resident Shana Thomas, who waited in line for two hours.

“I’m hearing from people that worked (at the polls), that they felt like they were thrown into the middle of a pool and not taught how to swim,” Barger said. 

In addition to excessive wait times and understaffed centers, the board discussed why some voters did not receive their vote-by-mail ballots on time or how ballots in three cities and other smaller precincts were not included for Measure FD, the agenda report said. 

The board voted to have County Clerk Dean Logan, in consultation with the California Secretary of State, look into all the challenges that voters experienced during the voting period. 

“I apologize to the voters who were impacted by (challenges while voting),” said Logan. “I don’t think the answer is to give up on this; I think the answer is to get it right.” 

Though there were many voters who experienced challenges while voting, Logan said there were voters who approved the model and said it made their experience easier. 

“I think there is evidence and data to support that the model, equipment, and what went with it is solid and can deliver on the accessibility, inclusiveness and volume,” said Logan. “I don’t say any of that to diminish the experience of people who did not experience that.” 

In 45 days, Logan is expected to report back to the board with corrective measures that would ensure that voters during the November election will not experience the same challenges.

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