Confusion over change at polling place
When Ian Zander went to his polling place of nine years at Cheremoya Avenue Elementary School in Hollywood today, there was a sign directing him to another site a few blocks away. This, despite the fact that Zander's sample ballot listed the school as his polling location.
At the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood he stood in line for awhile before being told the polling place didn't have him on the roster. The 37-year-old digital content producer had to fill in a provisional ballot, an option he described as "democracy in the long run" not "instant democracy."
"I know technically that I’m voting, but they’re counted last," he said. "And you don’t make a statement if someone wins outright.”
When Zander posted his experience on his Facebook page, several friends from across Los Angeles County said they had similar experiences with polling places of several years.
"Every election there are polling places that change and that is because in California we don't have permanent polling place locations," said Efrain Escobedo, executive liaison for the Los Angeles County Registrar. "They're all based on a volunteer system."
The registrar's goal is to keep locations as consistent as possible, but it is not uncommon for a location to be available one year, or for several years, and not available the next.
Escobedo said it was important for voters to check their sample ballots and not rely on habit, though that can be an imperfect system as well. Last-minute cancelations may occur, leaving the poll workers to scramble to find a new location and set up signs redirecting voters.
"Those are always our worst-case scenarios," he said.
But he said rosters should still be available wherever the polling place moves, as those are supposed to remain with the inspectors.
-- Raja Abdulrahim
Photo: Residents vote in the midterm election at James Madison Middle School November 2, 2010 in the Van Nuys neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Credit: Eric Thayer / Getty Images
Photos: California heads to the polls
Photos: The nation heads to the polls