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Proposition 13: What We Know So Far

(L.A. County official sample ballot)


This post is no longer being updated. For the latest on Prop 13, go here >>

Get the analysis of this vote >>

Proposition 13 is the only statewide proposition on the California primary ballot.

Voters are being asked to approve $15 billion in bonds to fund a long list of projects for California public schools and higher education systems, including earthquake retrofitting, fire safety, removing lead from water, and building affordable student housing.

For decades, the state and school districts have built educational facilities with bond funds. It’s an expensive way to do it. The Legislative Analyst Office estimates that Proposition 13 will end up costing California taxpayers $26 billion -- $15 billion for the principal and $11 billion for the interest on the bonds sold.

Here’s how Proposition 13 funds it would be divided up if approved:

  • $9 billion for pre-K to grade 12 schools, $500 million of that would go to charter schools
  • $6 billion for the University of California, California State University, and community college systems.

“Despite research showing students learn better in classrooms which are modern and safe, too many school buildings are dilapidated, unsafe, and unhealthy,” says the official statement in support of Proposition 13, signed by Brian Rice, president of the California Professional Firefighters, E. Toby Boyd, president of the California Teachers Association, and Pamela Kahn, president of the California School Nurses Association.

Opponents of the measure say it puts too heavy a burden on taxpayers.

“Instead of spending the state’s $21 billion surplus on upgrading school facilities and providing high quality education for our children, the Governor and the Legislature are wasting our money on their own pet projects,” says the official ballot statement against the bond measure, signed by Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers’ Association, along with State Sen. Brian Jones (Republican representing 38th District, El Cajon area), and retired teacher Larry Sand.


This Prop. 13 is unrelated to the 1978 ballot measure with the same name. The most famous Prop. 13 capped property tax increases. This propostion would permit $15 billion in state bonds that would go toward construction and modernization projects to improve California’s K-12 schools and college campuses.


Financial impact: The independent Legislative Analyst’s office estimates Prop. 13 will cost taxpayers an additional $11 billion in interest payments.

Supporters say Prop 13 provides much needed renovations and focuses on modernization rather than new construction.

Those opposed argue the cost of paying off the bonds would be an extra drain on the state’s general fund. They're also concerned that the measure would make it easier for local governments to sell bond which could drive up property taxes.



LA District Attorney: What We Know So Far

(L-R) San Francisco DA George Gascon, incumbent DA Jackie Lacey, and former federal public defender Rachel Rossi. (L-R: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images; Damian Dovarganes/AP; Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Patrisse Cullors)

(Last updated 5:59 a.m. Wednesday)

Candidate Votes %
George Gascón 259,307 26.83%
Jackie Lacey* 489,835 50.69%
Rachel Rossi 217,165 22.47%

* Incumbent

Keep in mind that even after all precincts have been counted, there will still be ballots to count. In some cases, it could be weeks before the official outcome is clear.


Voters in Los Angeles County are deciding whether to give District Attorney Jackie Lacey a third term or to replace her with one of her reformist challengers, George Gascon or Rachel Rossi.

Gascon and Rossi have portrayed Lacey as a traditional tough-on-crime prosecutor who is too resistant to modern reforms. Lacey has insisted she’s a “reasonable reformer” committed to diverting people with mental health problems away from jail while championing crime victims.

The race has attracted national attention; a progressive tide has swept reformists into office in DA races across the country, and L.A. County -- home to the largest prosecutor’s office in the U.S. -- is the biggest prize so far.



Measure R: What We Know So Far

L.A. County official sample ballot

(Last updated 5:59 a.m. Wednesday)

Keep in mind that even after all precincts have been counted, there will still be ballots to count. In some cases, it could be weeks before the official outcome is clear.

Votes %
Yes 705,369 71.17%
No 285,685

Measure R is a civilian-driven ballot initiative that would two do things.

  1. Expand the power of the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission. If approved by L.A. County voters, the commission would have subpoena powers.
  2. Require the Civilian Oversight Commission to build a comprehensive plan to find alternatives to incareration, especially for inmates who are mentally ill.


The push for Measure R comes amid ongoing tension between Sheriff Alex Villanueva and county supervisors over Villanueva's attempts to rehire fired deputies and terminate internal misconduct investigations.

Sheriff Villanueva went on KPCC's show, AirTalk, recently to denounce Measure R. He called it "in essence a taxpayer-funded shaming effort."

Measure R is backed by a coalition called Reform L.A. Jails, which includes Black Lives Matter and the ACLU of Southern California.


If Measure R passes, it would give the Civilian Oversight Commission the power to issue subpoenas to the Sheriff's Department, rather than having to go through the inspector general.

It would also require the Commission to develop a jail reduction plan.

The Board of Supervisors is already crafting its own plan, with input from experts and advocates, for diverting more inmates with mental illness to non-jail alternatives. A report from the Board's Alternatives to Incarceration working group is due later this month.


LA County Supervisors District 2: What We Know So Far

Holly Mitchell had a narrow lead over Herb Wesson in early returns Tuesday night. Annie Lesser for LAist

(Last updated 11:58 p.m. Tuesday)

Candidate Votes %
Jake Jeong 7,841 8.10%
Holly J. Mitchell 27,510 28.43%
Jorge Nuño 4,943 5.11%
Jan C. Perry 13,482 13.93%
René Lorenzo Rigard 4,195 4.33%
Albert Robles 9,165 9.47%
Herb J. Wesson Jr. 29,642 30.63%

Keep in mind that even after all precincts have been counted, there will still be ballots to count. In some cases, it could be weeks before the official outcome is clear.

A long-term Los Angeles City Council president and a state senator with a number of recent legislative wins are among the top contenders for a powerful seat on the L.A. County Board of Supervisors.

Former L.A. City Council president Herb Wesson and State Senator Holly Mitchell are vying to represent the 2nd District. The incumbent, Mark Ridley-Thomas, is termed out.


The L.A. County Board of Supervisors collectively oversees a $30 billion annual budget that pays for everything from mental health treatment to homeless services, public health to law enforcement.

The 2nd District covers most of South L.A. It’s home to about 2 million people (larger than many U.S. states), and about half of L.A.’s black population.


Under Wesson’s leadership, L.A. City Council put the city on the path to a $15 minimum wage and created a social equity program in the city’s nascent cannabis industry.

Senator Mitchell, who's been in the state Legislature since 2010, spearheaded new legislation that bans Section 8 discrimination. She’s also behind a new law that bans discrimination against black people who wear natural hairstyles in schools and workplaces.

Other candidates in the race include Jake Jeong, who rallied community opposition to a homeless shelter in Koreatown, and Jan Perry, an L.A. city councilmember from 2001 to 2013.



LA City Council District 4: What We Know So Far


(Last updated 11:58 p.m. Tuesday)

Keep in mind that even after all precincts have been counted, there will still be ballots to count. In some cases, it could be weeks before the official outcome is clear.

Candidate Votes %
Sarah Kate Levy 4,218 15.62%
Nithya Raman 9,124 33.79%
David Ryu* 13,663 50.59%

* Incumbent

LA City Council District 4 is shown in purple. (Courtesy of the City of Los Angeles)

The competition for Council District 4 (CD4) pits incumbent Councilmember David Ryu against two well-organized and well-funded progressive competitors: Nithya Raman and Sarah Kate Levy.

The race is the most expensive of L.A.'s current contests.


All candidates have made homelessness and housing the center of their campaigns. Last year's annual homeless count found the number of people on the street in CD4 jumped 53% — the highest jump of any council district in the city.


  • David Ryu (incumbent): First elected in 2015, Ryu chairs the Health, Education, and Neighborhood Councils Committee
  • Nithya Raman: Cofounder of homelessness nonprofit SELAH, former director of Time's Up Entertainment
  • Sarah Kate Levy: Writer, head of the National Women's Political Caucus in L.A.

Ryu touts his work on finding sites for homeless shelters and housing. He has also proposed declaring a local "emergency" on homelessness, and giving the mayor special power to site shelter and housing.

Raman proposes a rent freeze and stronger protections for low-income renters at risk of falling into homelessness.

Levy says she would focus on increasing the production of new housing.


Sherman Oaks, Toluca Lake, Hollywood, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Miracle Mile, Hancock Park, Windsor Square, Larchmont and a portion of Koreatown.



LAUSD District 3: What We Know So Far


(Last updated 11:58 p.m. Tuesday)

Keep in mind that even after all precincts have been counted, there will still be ballots to count. In some cases, it could be weeks before the official outcome is clear.

Candidate Votes %
Elizabeth Bartels-Badger 12,347 25.42%
Marilyn Koziatek 15,295 31.49%
Scott Mark Schmerelson* 20,922 43.08%

* Incumbent

Map shows the borders of the LAUSD District 3 board seat. (Courtesy of LAUSD)


Since January, charter school advocates have spent more than $2.6 million on attack ads in this year’s Los Angeles Unified School Board races. Never before has an LAUSD primary seen more negative advertising.

And no candidate has been hit harder than incumbent LAUSD board member Scott Schmerelson.

The California Charter Schools Association’s political arm has endorsed a challenger, Marilyn Koziatek, and also poured more than $1 million into ads attacking Schmerelson.

One CCSA ad portrayed Schmerelson, who’s Jewish, in gold chains with a fanned-out wad of cash. Schmerelson’s campaign has called that mailer “anti-Semitic.”

The ad is part of a line of criticism against Schmerelson over his finances. Charter-allied advocacy groups have criticized him for controversial personal investments. (Schmerelson has since said he’s sold the offending stocks.)

Schmerelson was one of the few LAUSD board members to openly support LAUSD board members during their strike last winter. The teachers union has since spent almost $700,000 trying to buoy Schmerelson.

But CCSA has outspent them by a 4-to-1 margin. They’ve spent $1.6 million to help Koziatek, who’s on staff at Granada Hills Charter High School.

And a third candidate — Elizabeth Badger, the founder and CEO of a non-profit called the Minority Outreach Committee — entered the primary’s final weekend with more campaign cash on hand than either Koziatek or Schmerelson (about $25,000).



LAUSD District 7: What We Know So Far


(As of 11:58 p.m. Tuesday)

Keep in mind that even after all precincts have been counted, there will still be ballots to count. In some cases, it could be weeks before the official outcome is clear.

Candidate Votes %
Silke Bradford 2,819 9.68%
Patricia Castellanos 6,809 23.37%
Tanya Ortiz Franklin 6,465 22.19%
Lydia Gutiérrez 6,011 20.64%
Mike Lansing 7,026 24.12%

* incumbent

(Courtesy of LAUSD)

For more than a decade, District 7 has been home to the Los Angeles Unified School Board’s “swing vote”: Richard Vladovic.

Since first winning the seat in 2007, Vladovic has won endorsements from groups on both sides of LAUSD’s charter school debate. His voting record defies easy characterization as either friend or foe of the teachers' union.

But Vladovic is now termed out — and five candidates are running in Tuesday’s primary to take his seat, which covers an area from South L.A. into the Harbor communities:

  • Patricia Castellanos, a labor activist who founded the group Reclaim our Schools L.A., has the backing of United Teachers Los Angeles. The teachers' union has spent almost $800,000 to boost her candidacy.
  • Tanya Ortiz Franklin works at the Partnership for L.A. Schools. Her campaign has benefited from more than $1.3 million in independent expenditures by pro-charter school philanthropist Bill Bloomfield.
  • Mike Lansing — who’s running to reclaim an LAUSD board seat he held from 1999 to 2007 — leads all candidates in in-house fundraising. He’s also benefited from almost $300,000 in independent ads paid for by Bloomfield.
  • Silke Bradford has overseen charter schools in the Compton Unified and Oakland Unified school districts, and for the L.A. County Office of Education. She won the L.A. Times’ endorsement in the race, but trails all other candidates in fundraising.
  • Lydia Gutiérrez is a Long Beach Unified teacher who’s run previously for this seat, for state senate and for state schools superintendent.

The critical candidate to watch Tuesday night is Castellanos: if she can’t make the November ballot, United Teachers Los Angeles’ hopes of regaining a solid majority of allies on the LAUSD board would take a big hit.



LAUSD District 5: What We Know So Far


(Last updated 11:58 p.m. Tuesday)

Keep in mind that even after all precincts have been counted, there will still be ballots to count. In some cases, it could be weeks before the official outcome is clear.

Candidate Votes %
Christina Martinez Duran 14,909 42.27%
Jackie Goldberg* 20,361 57.73%

* Incumbent

LAUSD District 5 is shown in white. (Courtesy of LAUSD)

To date, Jackie Goldberg has not lost an election. She won races for Los Angeles Unified School Board in 1983 and 1987. Then, in City Council and State Assembly races — win, win, win, win, win.

And last spring, Goldberg returned to the LAUSD board after yet another campaign victory: she ran away with the special election called to fill the vacant Board District 5 seat. Goldberg’s running in today's election for a full, four-year term.

Goldberg is again the favorite. Her challenger — educational consultant Christina Martinez Duran — has run a skeletal campaign.

But the question is whether a flood of spending from Bill Bloomfield, a deep-pocketed charter school advocate, has evened the odds.

Bloomfield has spent $1.3 million trying to sway the BD5 race, including $744,000 on negative ads against Goldberg.

Goldberg has championed teachers' union causes since her re-election in 2019 — but in the campaign finance race, United Teachers Los Angeles hasn’t kept pace. UTLA has spent around $230,000 to support Goldberg.


US House District 25: What We Know So Far




These results will be updated periodically. Keep in mind that even after all precincts have been counted, there will still be ballots to count. In some cases, it could be weeks before the official outcome is clear.


A dozen people are battling it out in a Special Election for the 25th Congressional District seat, which was left vacant last November after the resignation of freshman Representative Katie Hill.

The special election serves to fill the remainder of Hill's term. In addition, voters are also casting ballots in the regular primary, which will determine the top two candidates who will compete in the November election for the two-year term starting in 2021.

The seat is among traditionally GOP seats that turned blue during the 2018 midterms. It stretches across parts of Northern Los Angeles County into Ventura County.

Hill was a rising star among Democrats in Congress when conservative websites published intimate photos of her without her consent. She faced a House ethics investigation into allegations of an affair with a congressional staffer, which Hill denied.


As our politics reporter Libby Denkmann puts it:

The demographics here grow younger and more diverse, Democratic activists see the district as safely in the blue column. But Republicans are out to prove them wrong.



If no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote in the special election, the top two vote-getters — regardless of party affiliation — will advance to a May 12th runoff to fill the remainder of Hill’s term through 2020.

Voters will also choose the two candidates in the regular primary who will face each other in the general election in November.

US House District 45: What We Know So Far



(Last updated 12:20 a.m. Wednesday)

Candidate Votes %
Katie Porter* 57,162 46.6%
Rhonda Furin 1,353 1.1%
Christopher J. Gonzales 3,121 2.5%
Peggy Huang 14,268 11.6%
Greg Raths 24,001 19.6%
Don Sedgwick 17,491 14.3%
Lisa Sparks 5,188 4.2%

* Incumbent

These results reflect 100% of precincts reporting, according to the Secretary of State. Keep in mind that even after all precincts have been counted, there will still be ballots to count. In some cases, it could be weeks before the official outcome is clear.


Incumbent Democrat Katie Porter faces a line of six Republicans to return to Washington and represent communities like the City of Orange, Mission Viejo and Irvine.

Porter was the first Democrat elected to the 45th Congressional District in inland Orange County since the seat was created in 1983. She is a former protege of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Democrat from Massachusetts who is now running for president.

The 45th is among key districts that went to Democrats two years ago as part of Orange County's blue wave. From our previous coverage:

It's getting increasingly challenging for the GOP in Orange County. Last August, the county's number of registered Democrats for the first time surpassed Republicans. All seven of its Congressional districts voted against candidate Trump in 2016.


LA County Not Keeping Polls Open After Sanders Lawsuit

Voters wait in line to cast ballots at USC. Natalie Chudnovsky

Bernie Sanders' 2020 campaign asked a federal court for an emergency order to keep Los Angeles County polls open an extra two hours because of unusually long wait times.

Despite the request, L.A. County Registrar Dean Logan said that they had decided not to extend poll hours in a Tuesday evening press conference. Logan apologized to voters who were still waiting in line.

"I think that to have extended the hours would have just extended the lines, perhaps, and really wouldn't have addressed the core issues," Logan said.

In a complaint filed just before polls were scheduled to close at 8 p.m., the Sanders campaign said voters at multiple locations had waited up to four hours to cast their votes. They said if a court doesn't intervene to force polls to stay open until 10 p.m., "County voters’ right to participate in our democracy will be immediately and irreparably harmed," the complaint reads.

Sites mentioned in the complaint with long lines and other problems include:

  • Logan Elementary School in Echo Park
  • Evergreen Recreation Center on East 2nd Street
  • Echo Park Recreation Center
  • Mayberry Elementary
  • Santa Monica Community College
  • True Friendship Missionary Baptist Church
  • Santa Monica Virginia Park
  • Ackerman Union on 308 Westwood Plaza
  • St Charles Borromeo Church
  • Plummer Park Community Center
  • Sherman Oaks East Valley Adult Center
  • Crenshaw Mall
  • Buena Vista Library in Burbank
  • Elysian Masonic Lodge
  • Yucca Community Center
  • Cal State University North Ridge
  • Westchester Senior Center

By law, polling places in California must allow people to vote who are in line by 8 p.m. The Sanders campaign wanted polling places to offer provisional ballots to any voters who arrived after 8 p.m.


If You're In Line Before 8 PM, You Still Get To Vote, California

The lines were long at the Little Sisters Of The Poor in San Pedro. (Kyle Stokes / LAist)

There have been reports today of long lines, but if you're in line and it's getting close to 8 p.m., don't give up. As long as you're in line before then in California, you still get to vote.

That includes if you're going to the polls to drop off a mail-in ballot.

If there's a line when the polls close, a poll worker will stand at the back of the line to let people arriving after 8 p.m. know that the polls have closed. But that won't apply if you're already in line.

If you were in line before the 8 p.m. hour strikes and someone tells you that the polls are closed and you cannot vote, that is illegal.

You should report it immediately the Secretary of State hotline: (800) 345-VOTE (8683).

Hey, LA County Voters. Here Are Some Vote Centers Without Long Lines

By 3 p.m. the line at the ACE Hotel in downtown L.A. had a massive line. We offer you some alternatives. Natalie Chudnovsky /LAist

Reports of long lines at voting centers have been growing on L.A. Twitter, with some would-be voters reporting waits of up to three hours.

The L.A. County Registrar responded on social media, with a post naming five centers that have shorter wait times.

Later in the evening, the L.A. County Registrar released a larger list of vote center locations with short wait times.

These things change fast, but here are other locations we’re hearing have short wait times:


Japanese American Cultural & Community Center
244 S. Sand Pedro Street
LA, CA 90012

Anne Douglas Center for Women
303 East 5th Street
LA, CA 90013

Union Rescue Mission
545 S. San Pedro St.
LA, CA 90013

Miyako Hotel
328 E 1st St.
LA, CA 90012

Metro Headquarters
1 Gateway Plaza
LA, CA 90012

Felicitas & Gonzalo Mendez High School
1200 Plaza Del Sol E
LA, CA 90033


John Burroughs Middle School
600 S McCadden Pl
LA, CA 90005


Van Ness Recreation Center
5720 2nd Ave.
LA, CA 90043

Hiram of Tyre Grand Lodge Assembly Hall
5900 S Broadway
LA, CA 90003

Sunnyside Baptist Church
9317 Budlong Ave
LA, CA 90044

Jesse Owens Park
9651 S Western Ave
LA, CA 90047

Grace Temple Baptist Church
7017 S Gramercy Pl
LA, CA 90047

Watts Learning Center
310 W 95th St
LA, CA 90003

Mount Carmel Recreation Center
830 W 70th St
LA, CA 90044


Boys & Girls Club of Ramona Gardens
2830 Lancaster Ave
LA, CA 90033

Assumption Church
2832 Blanchard St.
LA, CA 90033

Lou Costello Recreation Center
3141 E Olympic Blvd
LA, CA 90023


Four Points by Sheraton LAX Hotel
9750 Airport Blvd.
LA, CA 90045

Beach Cities Health District
514 N Prospect Ave
Redondo Beach, CA 90277


Sorensen Library
6934 Broadway
Whittier, CA 90606

El Camino High School
14625 Keese Dr.
Whittier, CA 90604


The Hermon Church
5718 Monterey Rd.
LA, CA 90042

Loreto Elementary School
3408 Arroyo Seco Ave.
LA, CA 90065

La Crescenta Library
2809 Foothill Blvd.
Glendale, CA 91214

Sonia Sotomayor Arts & Sciences Magnet
2050 N San Fernando Rd.
LA, CA 90065

Loreto Street Elementary School
3408 Arroyo Seco Ave.
LA, CA 90065

The Great Caesar’s Banquet Hall
6723 Foothill Boulevard
Tujunga, CA 91042


Cortez Park Community and Senior Center
2501 E Cortez St.
West Covina, CA 91791

Pasadena War Memorial
435 Fair Oaks Ave.
South Pasadena, CA 91030

Tri-Community Adult School
160 Barranca Ave.
Covina CA 91723

Cathy Hensel Youth Center
236 George Hensel Dr.
Montebello, CA

Red Hen Press
1540 Lincoln Ave.
Pasadena, CA

Rosemont Pavillion
700 Seco St.
Pasadena, CA 91103

El Monte Christian Wesleyan Church
2400 Santa Anita Ave.
South El Monte, CA 91733

Wilkerson Middle School Auditorium
2700 Doreen Ave.
El Monte, CA 91733

Valley View Elementary School
237 Mel Canyon Road
Duarte, CA 91010


Bell Gardens Senior Center
6722 Clara Street
Bell Gardens, CA 90201


South Bay Gardens Apartments Community Room
230 E 130th St.
LA, CA 90061


LiUNA Local 1309
3971 Pixie Ave
Lakewood, CA 90712


Lindero Canyon Middle School
5844 Larboard Ln.
Agoura Hills, CA 91301


Melrose Elementary School
731 N Detroit St.
LA, CA 90046

The Oriental Mission Church
424 N Western Ave.
LA, CA 90004

Hollywood WorkSource Center
4311 Melrose Ave.
LA, CA 90029

Los Angeles City College
855 N Vermont Ave.
LA, CA 90029


Port of Long Beach Maintenance Building
725 Harbor Plaza
Long Beach, CA 90802

Democracy Is Happening In Downtown LA, But It Is Taking A While

Voters hoping to cast their ballot at the Ace Hotel voting center in downtown Los Angeles braved long lines, with some people reportedly waiting up to two hours to vote on Tuesday, March 3, 2020. Chava Sanchez/LAist

Democracy is in action — but moving at roughly a snail’s pace — at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, where hopeful voters are waiting hours to cast their ballot in Tuesday’s primary election.

County officials scrambled to add more voting machines and staff Tuesday morning as images of people lined up along Broadway and complaints of the long waits began popping up on Twitter. The line grew even longer into Tuesday afternoon, practically stretching back to 9th Street.

Michael Atallah went there because it was the closest vote center to where he lives — plus his friend’s coffee shop is next store.

“Honestly, I could have mailed [my ballot] in,” he said, “but I kind of did want to participate in being in a line and going to the ballots. It was a sensation I wanted to pursue.”

Voters in line to cast their ballot at the Ace Hotel vote center in downtown Los Angeles are contending with wait times of more than two hours on Tuesday, March 3, 2020. (Natalie Chudnovsky/LAist)

Marisol Rubio, center lead for the county site, told KPCC/LAist the location was opened as a “microcenter” and had been fully staffed over the weekend, but wasn’t equipped to handle Tuesday’s crowd. The site opened with five voting stations, compared to 50 at other vote centers downtown, she said.

“They weren’t expecting this big of a turnout today,” Rubio said.

Since this morning, the center is now well-staffed, she said. The county added two more voter registration machines and two more voting machines were on the way

Grace Chee, a longtime volunteer at the vote center who’s celebrating her birthday is making sure people can exercise their right to vote.

She said she’s noticed some people — both poll workers and voters — find the new method much easier thanks to the technology, while others find that same technology frustrating.

“Every election is just fun and exciting,” she said.

The Ace Hotel vote center had five machines, but one went down Tuesday morning. (Chava Sanchez/LAist )

The line is long and the sun is beating down, but voter John Wright said the wait is “worth it in the end.”

He also came to the Ace Hotel because it was close and convenient. Wright was braving the wait mostly to weigh in on the presidential primary and climate issues, but said he doesn’t care too much about local politics.

Chau Nguyen had been waiting a little under an hour, which was not what she expected.

“Next year I’m just going to try to mail it in first,” she said.

One bright spot of the long lines: free pizza, provided by the Ace Hotel.

Pizza at the Ace Hotel vote center in downtown Los Angeles where people reported wait times of more than two hours on Tuesday, March 3, 2020. (Natalie Chudnovsky/LAist)

Natalie Chudnovsky and Ryan Fonseca contributed to this report.

Want To Buy Purell? Get Ready For A 1,000% Markup

A small amount of in-demand hand sanitizer (Megan Garvey / LAist)

99.99 percent of germs supposedly can’t survive a splash of Purell, but that doesn’t really matter because 99.99 percent of people can’t afford it now anyway.

There’ve been outrageous markups online as demand has outstripped supply, and many retail locations nationwide have run dry.

LAist saw a 6-pack of 8 oz bottles being sold for more than 10 times what is normally charged at retail, by third-party sellers on Amazon.

A fact that enraged California’s Governor Gavin Newsom earlier today.

Listings have been popping up and disappearing throughout the day.

"There is no place for price gouging on Amazon," said an Amazon spokesperson, when asked if they were removing the postings. "We are disappointed that bad actors are attempting to artificially raise prices on basic need products during a global health crisis and, in line with our long-standing policy, have recently blocked or removed tens of thousands of offers. We continue to actively monitor our store and remove offers that violate our policies."

The company that makes Purell is ramping up its production, but in the meantime if you can’t afford a $20 bottle of hand sanitizer, you could just wash your hands with soap and water – scrubbing for at least 20 seconds – which the CDC says is even more effective.


Why LA County Hasn't Declared a Local Emergency Over Coronavirus 

Protective face masks are being used to ward off the coronavirus. Mladen Antonov/AFP via Getty Images

Several counties in California — including Orange County — have made local emergency declarations in response to the coronavirus threat.

So why hasn’t L.A. County done the same?

For one, some counties have made their declarations just to keep people on their toes and increase awareness and preparedness.

L.A. County’s top health official say they've been ramping up coronavirus precautions for weeks now. (Translation: So far, they’ve gotten out ahead of it.)

And just because officials haven’t sounded the alarm doesn’t mean they won’t. Especially since proclaiming a local emergency or local health emergency makes it easier to access state and federal disaster relief programs.

“It’s an important administrative step,” said Helen Chavez, Associate Director of the L.A. County Office of Emergency Management. “However, we don’t want the public to unnecessarily feel panic or alarm.”

As of today, there’s only one confirmed case of COVID-19 in L.A. County. Chavez says officials are looking at what might be needed for future response and recovery support from outside the county.

If the county’s health officer or other qualified official makes an emergency proclamation for L.A., the County Board of Supervisors would need to ratify it within seven days and then review it every 30 days.

What’s LA Doing To Protect Its 50K+ Homeless Population From Coronavirus?

Homeless encampments on Skid Row, photographed on June 30, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (James Bernal for KPCC) James Bernal

Counties across California are bracing for the possible spread of COVID-19 in their communities.

But what’s being done to protect L.A.’s homeless population of more than 50,000?

When it comes to the new coronavirus, L.A. County Department of Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said she’s worried about people experiencing homelessness. She told us:

"I'm not worried about homeless people spreading the disease to non-homeless people. I’m worried about homeless people being infected and spreading the disease amongst themselves as they live in these very close, sort of challenging conditions.”


The public health message has been to:

  • Stay home if you’re sick
  • Wash your hands
  • Call a doctor if you experience COVID 19 symptoms.

Ferrer says all that’s difficult advice to follow if you’re homeless. And people living on the streets tend to be sicker from a range of pre-existing conditions.

The Department of Public Health is briefing shelter providers on some possible strategies. That includes keeping winter shelters open longer, Ferrer said. “It’s certainly easier for people to take better care of themselves in terms of public health practices — was your hands, etc. — if you’re indoors,” she said.

Ferrer is also recommending that shelters provide as much space between people as possible in sleeping quarters and try to isolate sick people when possible.


Sorry, You Can't Change Your Vote After It's Cast

A ballot marking device that you should definitely only vote on once. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

Say you cast your vote early. Yay, democracy! Then your candidate drops out of the race. What now?

Sorry, there are no do-overs.

We've had quite a few people ask our Voter Game Plan team whether they could change their vote since their candidate is no longer in the running. Tom Steyer, Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg announced in recent days they were suspending their presidential campaigns.

The short answer is: no. Once your vote is cast, it's cast. The California Secretary of State confirmed this on Twitter on Monday.

But let's say, hypothetically, that you dropped your vote-by-mail ballot in a mailbox yesterday. Then you tried to vote in person today. In all likelihood, your vote-by-mail ballot wouldn't have been received yet. What happens then? Can you "beat" your vote-by-mail ballot to the punch?

The first vote received and processed is the one that will count. So if your in-person vote is processed first, that's the vote you'll have. But whenever your vote-by-mail ballot comes in, it'll flag you as having attempted to double-vote, in violation of the oath you signed on your ballot that you've only cast one vote.

The tangible consequences of this aren't entirely clear, but election officials have said definitively: Don't try to double vote.

Have more questions our Voter Game Plan team can answer? Here's where you can ask us, or check out everything else we've already answered.

Here's How Things Are Going At LA County Voting Centers So Far

Happy Election Day. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

It’s the big day for L.A.’s new voting system. Voters are going to regional voting centers instead of neighborhood polling places, using ballot-marking machines instead of the InkAVote system, and casting ballots in March instead of June. So here are a few glimpses of how things are going as of 9:15 a.m.:

Early birds were able to vote before polls opened. The L.A. County Registrar opened six voting centers for round-the-clock voting Monday, so some voters were able to cast their ballots before sunrise. Long Beach resident Jane Vargas was able to vote before 7 a.m. at the registrar headquarters in Norwalk, which is between her home and her work in Santa Fe Springs. “I’m really happy to be able to vote before work, before the crowds, and get it done,” she said.

Signs outside Micheltorena Elementary School in Silver Lake let voters know that the school is no longer a polling place. (Chava Sanchez/LAist )

Some missed the memo about the voting centers. Signs were posted outside the Micheltorena Street Elementary School letting voters know it was not going to be a polling place this year. But some people still showed up. Silver Lake resident Paul Thompson had been planning on dropping off his vote-by-mail ballot before work when he encountered the sign.

“I feel a little embarrassed because I feel like I should have checked,” he said. “But I’ve lived here for almost five years. And I walked down the hill like I always do, for every general, every midterm, every city election, and it’s moved.” Thompson said he was lucky enough to have a job with enough flexibility to cast his vote later, but knows others don’t have that same opportunity.

Silver Lake resident Paul Thompson has been coming to the Micheltorena Street Elementary School to vote for the previous five years and had no idea the voting place had changed. (Chava Sanchez/LAist )

A long wait in DTLA. At the Ace Hotel, the wait time was over an hour, according to Twitter user @OmarHNoureldin. L.A. County Registrar-Recorder Dean Logan responded, saying he was dispatching additional equipment to the site.

Omar Noureldin later added that the voting center he'd been waiting in line at did not have accomodations for people with disabilities.

Voters hoping to cast their ballot at the Ace Hotel voting center in downtown Los Angeles braved long lines, with some people reportedly waiting up to two hours to vote on Tuesday, March 3, 2020. (Chava Sanchez/LAist )

If you’re still planning to vote and need guides on where to go and how to research, we’ve got that all here. We’ll have more dispatches as the day goes on.

Caroline Champlin, Sharon McNary and Brianna Lee contributed to this report.

It's Election Day! Here's What You Need To Know

Happy Primary Day. (Chava Sanchez/ LAist)

Super Tuesday is finally here. If you're planning on casting your vote today, here's what you need to know:

Polls open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. This year, you can go to any voting center in the county — and remember that the place you go to vote may be different from past elections. Here's how to check the locations of the voting centers near you.

You can still register to vote or change your party affiliation. California has same-day registration; just walk into a voting center and you can get it done there.

Vote-by-mail ballots are due today. They must be postmarked by March 3 in order to be counted. You can drop them in a mailbox, at a voting center or a vote-by-mail drop box. Here's how to find locations near you.

Here's your sample ballot. If you're in L.A. County, you can fill out an interactive sample ballot ahead of time. It'll give you a QR code that you can then scan on a ballot-marking machine to prepopulate your choices. Then you just have to review and submit.

If you're in Orange County, your sample ballot is here.

We've got guides to local races. We're voting on L.A. County district attorney, Board of Supervisors seats, L.A. Superior Court judges, a statewide proposition for school construction funding and more. Here are guides to:

We're answering all your questions. Have a question about voting? Here are all the ones we've answered so far, but you can ask us anything below and our Voter Game Plan team will do our best to find answers.

Why It Takes So Much Time To Count Votes In California

Chava Sanchez/ LAist

It's going to be a minute (or days or weeks) before we know all the winners of today's Primary Election.

In the meantime, you might hear the Golden State derided by national media outlets for being “slow” to count votes. Stay strong. We've got your response:

"But that's a feature, not a bug!"

So go ahead and brush them off. (They don't even go here.) The state officially has one month to certify election results.


It’s Super Tuesday, Mar. 3 And Here Are The Stories We’re Following Today

Chava Sanchez / LAist

For real though, it’s time to vote. In case you missed it, polling places are out, voting centers are in. As long as you’re registered, you can vote at any center in L.A. County.

Also, if you’re still not entirely sure what Prop. 13 is, who’s running for Superior Court Judge or what Measure R will mean for the county, this is a judgement-free zone: Check out our voting guide for everything you need to know about L.A.’s local races.

Here’s what else we’re following:

Covering Today:

  • The ports of L.A. and Long Beach may be laying off people due to decreased trade caused by coronavirus, reports David Wagner.
  • Mariana Dale reports on a preschool in the San Fernando Valley that’s working with teachers to help students cope with trauma.
  • Libby Denkmann has your reality check on why California may take a bit of time to count votes and determine winners.
  • Stay right here on The LATEST for full coverage of local elections, with reporters at voting centers, election parties and local hotspots to talk to candidates and stakeholders alike.

In Case You Missed It:

Help Us Cover Your Community:

  • Got something you’ve always wanted to know about Southern California and the people who call it home? Is there an issue you want us to cover? Ask us anything >>
  • Have a tip about news on which we should dig deeper? Let us know >>

The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft.

Coronavirus In China Leads To Less Work At LA Ports

Port of Los Angeles photographed on Nov. 1, 2013. Maya Sugarman/KPCC

The number of reported coronavirus cases may still be low in Southern California, but the effect is already pretty large at Los Angeles ports.

More than half of the goods flowing into L.A.’s twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach come from China. So when something like the coronavirus affects the Chinese economy, it affects L.A. workers, too.

February volume at the Port of Los Angeles was down by an estimated 25%. Port officials are estimating this quarter will be down about 15% from the first quarter of 2019.

Port of Long Beach executive director Mario Cordero said he’s seeing fewer workers on the docks these days.

“Labor tells me that the dock workers are down 50% in job assignments,” Cordero said. “That's a drastic number.”

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union has not responded to confirm that figure. Neither has the Pacific Maritime Association (the organization that represents the employers of port workers).

Cordero said recent tariffs had already decreased shipments, and now he’s seeing “a supply chain that’s gone from uncertainty to chaotic.”

Port traffic is generally down this time of year, due to China’s lunar new year celebrations. But Cordero said this year’s slowdown is about twice as bad as usual.