LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Rather than a mad dash to the polls on the first day of voting, it was more like a trickle.
Los Angeles County revamped its voting system this year in hopes of getting more people to the polls. Instead of opening polling locations for just one day, the count began opening voting centers Saturday that will operate every day leading up to the March 3 primary election day.
“The last time we were lined up out the door this is much better,” said George Gonzalez, who was one of the first to cast his ballot at a West Hollywood location. “It all went very smoothly! I was a little nervous about it because I’m not that good with computers.”
In addition to adding 10 more days for residents to vote, the county also opted to upgrade all polling locations with touch screen ballot marking devices.
“This is so much better than [the old system],” said voter Eric Carbone.
With plenty of poll workers to help out, those who chose to vote on day one weren’t left to figure out the new devices on their own.
“The guy kinda helped me through it,” Carbone said.
Voters weren’t the only ones working out the kinks. Several locations opened a little late as poll workers struggled to get things fired up.
One location in West Hollywood didn’t have any voting machines set up at all— as a note on the gate directed voters to a poll site nearby. With 11 days to vote and the ability to now vote at any polling location in the county, nobody seemed too bothered by the upsets.
There were previously 4200 voting sites in L.A. County. That number has been cut to 976, with 232 open Saturday for the 11-day run. The rest will be open by next Saturday for a four-day voting period.
“It gives more opportunity to all of us, not just myself,” Gonzalez said of the early voting system. “So if somebody is sick or they have to work they don’t have to miss voting.”
A list of voting centers and their hours can be found on the county registrar’s website.