By Ivan Cazares
The “Voting Solutions for All People” system, which was used for the first time during the California primary, is a more convenient and efficient way of voting than the system it replaced.
Before the primary election, Los Angeles County voters and voters in the 14 other counties in which the Voter’s Choice Act went into effect had to vote at designated polling stations if they didn’t mail in their official ballot.
On top of allowing voters to cast ballots at any polling station, the stations were open from Feb. 29 to March 2, not just on Super Tuesday.
Not only is the new system more efficient, it’s not even mandatory for voters to use it to cast their votes.
Voters in California had the option of voting early by mailing in their ballots like they’ve been able to for years.
Voting early might result in many voters casting votes for candidates who’ve dropped out before the end of the contest, but it provides another option for those who can’t make it to a polling station.
Voters submitting ballots at East Los Angeles College waited up to two hours to cast their votes.
This wasn’t because of any faults in the new system but rather due to procrastination on the part of voters, volunteers adjusting to the new system and ELAC’s position as a cultural hub in the community.
To put it simply, everyone and their mom wanted to cast their votes on campus despite some stations with much shorter times being less than a mile away.
“I was just helping a friend through the voting process. There wasn’t a line when I voted. I got to school around 10 a.m,” Jeffrey Serrano, a marine biology sophomore at ELAC, said on Super Tuesday.
There are a few things voters could do to expedite the process.
The first thing voters could do is not wait for the last minute to cast their ballots.
Voters could also fill out a sample ballot if they received one in the mail so that filling out the official ballot is easier.
Most voters know who they want to vote for in the primary, but many don’t look into other elected officials on the ballot such as judges or measures like Measure R, which was a ballot measure voted on regarding the Sheriff’s Civilian Oversight Commission.
Such oversights slow the process down because many people look these things up on the spot.
Voters could even fill out a sample ballot online using the new system that can be scanned at the polling station to eliminate one of the most time consuming parts of the voting process.
The line at ELAC shouldn’t have been as long as it was.
There were plenty of machines which remained empty because not enough voters knew how the new system works.
The one major drawback to the new system is the reliance on the machines which could fail during an election and did fail during the primary election.
Media outlets reported wait times as long as four hours largely due to technical difficulties.
Some voting stations including ELAC were forced to extend voting hours to accommodate voters who’d been waiting in line for hours.
The volunteers were overwhelmed by the huge turnout of voters on campus.
The next election that uses the system will benefit from volunteers who gained experience during the primary election and voters remembering that hot spots like ELAC will have longer than average wait times.