So How Many Votes Have Been Cast In OC and LA So Far?
Voters in Los Angeles and Orange counties are trying out something new: Vote Centers.
Instead of traditional neighborhood polling places, these centers let voters cast a ballot in-person at any location in the county -- as many as 11 days prior. Early returns show that more than 200,000 people in L.A. County have already used the new centers to cast a ballot, Mike Sanchez of the LA County Registrar-Recorder’s told me.
Combined with more than half a million votes that the registrar has received through the mail, that would already represent a 13% turnout for L.A. County, if all the votes cast so far are counted.
The new system has its advantages, says Kim Alexander of the California Voter Foundation, a voter outreach and research nonprofit. She said there have been bumps as the new system has been rolled out, but called the vote centers “a good fail safe for a place like Los Angeles where we have millions of voters.”
There are nearly a thousand voting centers to choose from, but many longtime polling places won’t be open this year.
I caught up with Alexander while she was driving between vote centers in Watts and Culver City to see how the new system was working.
She said she saw lines growing this morning, which could signal long waits tomorrow.
“People want to vote on election day,” she said. Which means “voters may end up going to more than one location trying to find a place for shorter lines to vote.”
A spokesman for the LA County Registrar’s office said they’ll be dispatching mobile voting units to busy centers to handle overflow.
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