LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — One week after Super Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to hire an independent consultant to help troubleshoot what went wrong during the primary election.
Supervisor Janice Hahn initiated the motion calling for a review of the county’s revamped voting system.
“We have to figure out how to fix this and to restore confidence … before November,” she said.
Addressing Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan, Hahn ran through a list of complaints, including electronic poll books that didn’t sync properly, broken voting machines, centers without paper ballot supplies and poorly trained voting center workers putting in 12-18 hours of work on Election Day.
“A lot went wrong,” Hahn said.
Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who has supported Logan in the past, co-authored the motion and expressed her disappointment.
“It’s disheartening … because people feel like they’re disenfranchised,” she said.
At the meeting, Logan repeated an apology he made election night.
“I hear you, and I hear the voices of our voters and our poll workers, and it was not the implementation we hoped it would be,” Logan said. “I regret that and I apologize to the voters who were impacted by that, and I apologize to the election workers who worked diligently under difficult circumstances and I apologize to your board.”
However, he also expressed confidence in the voting model and the new machines.
“I don’t think the answer is to give up on this. I think the answer is to get it right,” he said. “I believe that the voting model is a sound model and I believe that the system that we built … is also solid.”
Last Tuesday, thousands of L.A. County voters were greeted with long lines at various vote centers. Some voters were still waiting in line past 11 p.m. — more than three hours after the polls had technically closed.
Logan said the long lines were caused by a bottleneck at check-in and syncing issues with the electronic poll records. According to Logan, that piece of equipment was a commercial off-the-shelf solution certified by the Secretary of State for use in California and similar problems were reported with the same equipment in St. Louis during their primary.
Though Logan defended the new way of voting, he did agree hat workers lacked the necessary training, including to provide on-site fixes as problems arose. Many voting centers were too small or lacked cell connectivity needed for equipment. Same-day voter registration also taxed the system, he said.
“We now have data that we didn’t have before,” he said.
Logan said he ultimately wants to give the board a full and complete report on the technology, but he said a preliminary review showed that issues with the voting machines did not impact residents’ ability to vote.
The board also gave Logan some recommendations of its own, including an increase in vote centers across the county and a reduction in early voting days — which voters did not use at the rates expected.
Ultimately, the board directed L.A. County CEO Sachi A. Hamai to hire an independent consultant and told Logan to report back in 45 days.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)