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Voters in Bell flock to polls as election winds down [Updated]

March 8, 2011 |  8:13 pm

As the polls were getting ready to close in scandal-blighted Bell, the line of voters at Epoca restaurant extended out the door and down the street, easily more than 100 deep.

Aggressive campaigning was still underway -- with volunteers making their way down the line, talking to voters and handing out fliers. A county worker walked the first 100 feet, asking voters to put away the fliers. It was about 7 p.m.

Cesar Delarosa, 33, was tirelessly promoting an underdog -- his partner Imelda Serrano, a student at East L.A. College who he said was inspired to help her city after the scandal over officials' pay erupted last summer.

[Corrected, 9:48 p.m.: A previous version of this posted incorrectly identified Imelda Serrano as Isabel.]

The two had been going from polling place to polling place all day, he said.

"It's been a battle," he said, pointing at the campaign signs for rival candidates that lined the street. "We don't have the funds and the manpower."

Voter Miguel Ramirez, 46, was at the tail end of a line he hadn't expected to see.

"It's not even like this for presidential elections," he said. "You can see that the people, that the city wants a change."

A 12-year resident of the city, Ramirez said he'd never voted in a citywide election before.

At Little Bear Park, where parents watched their children play, it was easy to find people who didn't vote Tuesday.

Antonio Sanchez, 47, said he wasn't eligible to vote, like many others in the largely immigrant city.

Sanchez, who is a legal resident, said he was aware of the city's troubles. He worries about high taxes and was troubled by the city's history of pushing officers to impound cars.

"I just hope that the people who can vote, vote for the right candidates -- the ones who will be responsible," he said.

Mario Hernandez, 46, made a similar point.

"I think there are a lot of people like me who would like to vote but can't," he said. "It would be good to see a change on the council. The city needs it."

-- Paloma Esquivel in Bell