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Local Dems Concerned Too Few Voters Know About LA County’s Election Changes

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Assemblyman Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) speaks at an L.A. County Democratic Party press conference on Fri., Feb. 28, 2020. Local Democrats worry many Angelenos are unaware of changes affecting where they will vote. (Kyle Stokes/LAist)
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You have just a few days left to cast a ballot in California’s March 3 primary, and L.A. County Democratic Party officials are asking this: Do you know where you’ll be voting?

This election, L.A. County has opened almost 1,000 “vote centers,” which are replacing traditional polling places. Voters can cast their ballot at any one of these centers, not just the location closest to their home. And many of these locations are already open; there’s no need to wait until Election Day.

But that also means many of the roughly 4,800 neighborhood precinct locations from past elections aren’t open this year.

On Friday, Democratic party officials said they’re concerned by public polls suggesting many L.A. County residents remain unaware of this overhaul in the voting system.

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Voters “don’t know that you can vote [for] a longer period of time,” said Mark Gonzalez, chair of the county Democratic party. “They don’t know that you can vote at any location, because we’re used to voting near our home.”

On Wednesday, Loyola Marymount University released poll numbers showing more than half of L.A. County residents were completely unaware of the switch to vote centers. Roughly one-third of respondents said they “had heard about it, but do not know the details.”

As part of its switch to the vote center model, L.A. County has rolled out new touchscreen ballot marking devices. (TAKE A LISTEN: We took one of the new voting machines out for a spin the other day.)

Gonzalez stressed that in races with more than four candidates, voters will have to press the “More” button in order to advance through the full list of choices.

WHERE CAN I VOTE? HOW HAS VOTING CHANGED? WE CAN HELP:

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