Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This


Don't Want To Use The New Voting Machines? Here Are Your Options

LAist relies on your reader support.
Your tax-deductible gift today powers our reporters and keeps us independent. We rely on you, our reader, not paywalls to stay funded because we believe important news and information should be freely accessible to all.

As part of our Voter Game Plan we're answering your questions about the big changes in the way we're voting this year. And one of these many changes is the use of new voting machines (also known as "ballot marking devices").

Some of you have been asking: "If I don't want to use the machines, how can I get a traditional hand-marked ballot?"

Not everyone is comfortable with the idea of using a machine to vote. But here are a few things to keep in mind: These machines are not connected to the internet. And technically, you are still voting on paper. You feed a paper ballot into the machine and mark your choices on a touch screen. Then it spits the ballot back out for you to review and submit.

That being said, you might still have concerns about security. And you wouldn't be alone. (Read more about security precautions and concerns with the machines here and here.)

Support for LAist comes from

So if you still prefer to vote with ink and paper, you have options.

The easiest thing to do is to get a vote-by-mail ballot. In L.A., you have until February 25 to request one. And in Orange County, all registered voters will automatically receive one.

If you are voting in person, Orange County will by default give you a ballot that you'll be marking by hand, but you'll also have the option to use a machine to mark it.

However, in L.A. County, you'll have to request a hand-marked paper ballot when you go a voting center — and it'll be a mostly blank ballot where you'll have to hand-write the offices and names of candidates you're voting for. (Tip: Bring your sample ballot if you're going to go with this option.)

Have more questions for our Voter Game Plan team? See what we've already answered, or ask us anything else below: