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Voter at Park La Brea: 'A chance to say what I believe in'

November 6, 2012 | 11:15 am

A steady stream of voters passed through the polling station Tuesday morning at Park La Brea, the largest housing complex west of the Mississippi River and home to an increasingly diverse residential community likened to the demographics of Los Angeles.

Restaurant owner Arun Chhatpar, 37, voted for the first time in the United States since he moved here from India. His young daughter danced around him at the polling place, waving her sweatshirt and smiling to those in line. When Chhatpar received an "I Voted" sticker, she reached her hand out for one as well.

Chhatpar said he did his research before going to the polls. He was surprised by some of the proposed laws he was allowed to have a say in: "That genetic labeling one was very interesting," he said, "and the death penalty -- it's important to consider giving someone another chance."

PHOTOS: California voters head to polls

"Voting here is so unique," said Chhatpar. "It truly gives me a chance to say what I believe in."

Antonio Cowser, 40, a self-employed media buyer originally from Michigan, voted and rushed off to work at a phone bank later Tuesday afternoon.

"I found myself more active this year," said Cowser, who's never volunteered to work at a phone bank before. He shakes his head at reports that say many supporters of President Obama are less active than four years ago.

"What happened last election was a phenomenon," Cowser said. "That thriller moment that just cuts through the clutter won't happen again. Now it's about moving forward not backward."

Zachary Knun, 23, an Ohio native and recent college grad and California resident, said he was excited to vote in person for the first time, surrounded by people, rather than sending in a mail-in ballot.

"It's the first time I voted in California," Knun said, "I started really paying attention to what was important to California and what we need to vote on."

He said he had been closely following the propositions that would affect public schools, a state issue that he believes deserves extra attention, as well as the other propositions by reading mailers and discussing TV ads with his friends.

"The death penalty, too, there are just so many good ones in California," he said.

Did you vote today? Tweet your election day photos to @lanow. Use the hashtag #LAVote. Tell us why/how you voted!

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-- Rosanna Xia

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