27% of voters in L.A. County cast ballots by noon; lower than '08
Nearly 27% of registered Los Angeles County voters had cast a ballot by noon on Tuesday, a significant drop from the same time in 2008, county officials said.
Four years ago, almost 38% of registered voters had voted by noon.
The lower turnout didn't seem to dampen the enthusiasm of Jessica Trent, who cast her ballot at a senior housing complex in Hollywood.
Trent, who described herself as over 35, wore a '70s-era scooter dress -- mini, but with shorts built in -- that was red, white and blue and printed with the word VOTE in large, star-filled letters. Trent said she got the dress when a friend of hers was cleaning out her closets a few months ago.
Trent said she would have liked to see Ralph Nader as president but added that she felt President Obama was the next best choice.
"I definitely am concerned with the rights of women and access to healthcare for people who are
less fortunate and remembering that America was founded by immigrants. I mean, we're all from somewhere else," said Trent, who said she does public relations in the arts and fashion and cultural philanthropy.
Another voter stopped to compliment Trent on the way out of the polling place.
"That is a great outfit and the shoes just make it sparkle," he said.
Trent wore her "I voted" sticker, but it was hard to see on the patriotic field of her dress.
At the Country Villa Wilshire nursing home on North Fairfax Avenue in Hollywood, the line stretched down a hallway past patients' rooms. At midmorning, the wait was about half an hour.
Joe Grant, 72, a retired artist, said he voted for Obama for the second time because "the country is on a reasonably good path."
He said voters are ill-equipped to decide complex issues that should have been settled by elected representatives.
"The initiative process has gone too far. The politicians aren't doing their jobs," Grant said. "We have no idea of the implications or what special interests put these measures on the ballot. Sacramento has been remiss."
Janet Lorenz, an Obama supporter, is relieved the campaign is over. She said she has been "incredibly nervous" since Republican challenger Mitt Romney gained ground in the debates.
She diligently researched the propositions, but like Grant she believes the process gives voters too much responsibility.
She said she voted yes on Proposition 30 because she believes it will help public education.
"I hate the proposition thing. I think it's a disaster," said Lorenz, 59, a film researcher.
Mark Avery, 38, a film costumer, voted for Obama because of the president's stances on social issues like gay marriage and gender equality. The slow pace of the economic recovery under Obama is to be expected, he said.
"I feel OK with the progress. Slow and steady is OK," Avery said. "There's still a ways to go."
-- Nita Lelyveld and Cindy Chang in Hollywood and Jason Song in Los Angeles
Photo: Voter Jessica Trent did her patriotic duty on Tuesday. Credit: Nita Lelyveld / Los Angeles Times