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Los Angeles County Officials — Learn from your Neighbors to the South and Make Voting Convenient!

November 1st, 2008 · 8 Comments

Los Angeles County is home to what many consider a relatively thriving Latino political leadership contingent. The City of Los Angeles has the most prominent Latino mayor in the country, Antonio Villaraigosa. We have a strong Latina on the county board of supervisors, Gloria Molina. There is also a delegation of Latino congress members, state senators, and state assembly representatives in Los Angeles County.

You would think that with all of the publicity about the Latino vote during this election cycle that there would be plenty of early voting locations in Los Angeles County, but guess what? There is only one place LA County residents can go to vote early, and that is at the county registrar’s office in Norwalk. How inconvenient! A county with a Latino population that stands at approximately 47.3% of the total as of 2006, a county where Latinos have a tradition of self-governance prior to becoming a state in the union, has only one early voting location, while the O.C. to the south has early voting in multiple locations. What gives? And why don’t we hear the Latino politicos in LA County demanding more voting locations throughout the county?

Some bloggers on the DailyKos were even lamenting about the early voting situation in Los Angeles in this post about Villaraigosa being in Nevada to campaign for Obama. Peacevoter wrote this:

“Good on Mayor Villaraigosa for helping out in Nevada! But he really should do something about early voting in Los Angeles.  There’s only one place in all of LA county to vote early and it’s in Hawthorne [actually Norwalk].  I met one Obama volunteer who took the bus & it took him four and a half hours to get to the early voting location.  (I gave him a ride home)  The process was very disorganized.  It took hours and hours and hours to finally get the ballot & vote.  We need a new registrar of voters.  Some one with their act together & a commitment to expediting the process & setting up early voting locations throughout the county.”

Hopefully, someone with some pull in LA County is reading this and will consider extending voting or opening a few more locations before Tuesday! Voting shouldn’t be this hard, especially in what is supposed to be a progressive state. If the people behind the Orange Curtain can get it, there’s no reason for LA County to not offer as many early voting opportunities.

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Tags: Antonio Villaraigosa · Government Accountability · Presidential Elections · Voting Rights

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 soledadenmasa // Nov 1, 2008 at 11:54 pm

    Villaraigosa (can we call him Villar from now on?) can’t do anything about this, other than talk about it. It’s a County-wide office, as I am sure you know. Real pressure would have to come from the Board of Supes.

  • 2 webmaster // Nov 1, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    Soledadenmasa,

    I agree, but Villar should be able to pull some strings. He could make a case to the Board of Supervisors (The Five Kings) and make a case for more early voting, at least in LA proper. Sometimes a suggestion and a political string pulling gets them moving. ;)

    Villar should have anticipated this, especially since he’s working GOTV efforts for Obama. And why aren’t the rest of the Latino politicians in LA talking about this? The county registrar could extend voting hours on Tuesday. It isn’t too late to do that either.

  • 3 reenee // Nov 2, 2008 at 9:42 am

    What a good idea it would be to allow people the opportunity to vote early, or at the very least, extend the voting hours. It does no good to register people to vote if their employment hours or schedules do not allow them to get to the polls.
    As for Gloria Molina, it would be nice to know that she was as passionate about the voting rights of citizens in her district, as she was about regulating roach coaches.

  • 4 Mexitli // Nov 2, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    “There is only one place LA County residents can go to vote early, and that is at the county registrar’s office in Norwalk. ”

    Ehh, I voted early – in the most convenient place in CA., my own home.

    I’ve been to the the County Recorder’s Office in Norwalk, CA. I wouldn’t exactly call it convenient.

    A request to vote by mail may be submitted as late as Oct. 28th. My wife and I voted last Sunday. That’s convenient.

    Also, here in Glendora, CA I have never had to wait more than just the few minutes it takes to look up my name and get my ballot.

    But I do agree the entire system can use some reform. In Venezuela, for example, you have all weekend to vote. That alone leads to a much higher turnout. Which is what some people do not want. Also, the electoral college anti-democratic. And it was designed, purposely, to be that way. I do not know of any other country that uses a system similar to the U.S. electoral college.

    I think we should scrap the electoral college and vote online. I think in the future that’s the way it will be.

  • 5 webmaster // Nov 2, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    Mexitli,

    I think that voting absentee is great. I have many friends who do this, but I still know many educated Angelenos who forget deadlines or who didn’t make requesting the absentee ballot a priority, which is why I think LA County should have more early voting locations.

    I am not entirely comfortable with voting online or voting with electronic machines either. Too much room for fraud. I voted with a paper ballot, and I’m all about technology.

    Glendora, CA is a relatively upper income bedroom community. I doubt that you would see many voting problems there, but go further east to Ontario, San Bernardino, etc., and voting can be chaotic.

  • 6 Michaelr // Nov 2, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    Maybe the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (Gloria Molina, Yvonne Brathwaite-Burke, Zev Yaroslavsky, Don Knabe, and that Dick Cheney wannabe Mike Antonovich), and let’s not forget the Mayor simply overlooked this. After all, how close do their lives resemble the people they supposedly represent? Or you can see this as an intentional process to discourage the Los Angeles County voter from spending his entire Tuesday away from his job, traveling to his designated voter location against the clock, sitting in his car on the various freeways, standing in long lines, and then dealing with senior citizens who aren’t very organized, or people friendly to cast their historical vote. It almost feels as if Jim Crow has never vacated his presence throughout this voting process. And this is Los Angeles County, home to the music, and the film industry. You’d think we’d be as progressive as San Francisco County, given the large population of academics and artists, and the fact that the Claremont Colleges are in Los Angeles County. Then again, Los Angeles County butts right up to redneck San Bernardino County and that can’t be a positive influence. However, Orange County managed to think progressive and it can see San Bernardino County from Yorba Linda. So I am going to think that this was intentional, and the Los Angeles County Supervisors conspired to plant obstacles throughout the path of the registered voter and test their resolve. I will bring this up with all the registered voters standing in line when I finally reach my designated voter location, and they will carry that message home, and come next election all of you incumbents will be unemployed.

  • 7 Mexitli // Nov 2, 2008 at 6:08 pm

    Whooaaa!

    Shep Smith on Fox News just did a segment on the OC and some of their new voting options.

    It seems the OC has a shortage of volunteers and they took the initiative to develop new options for voters. Including using private business employees i.e. Wells Fargo employees.

    Kudos to the O.C. and to Wells Fargo for potentially averting a potential and embarrassing headache.

    As for voting online, right now we haven’t the software or the secure means. But I’m certain that in the near future we will have.

    Think about it…

    Log on with your secure access code, click the radio buttons that match your choices, print and send.

    We would then be reidrected, if we wish to be, to a page with the real time tally of the results.

    Damn, I’m lazy lol

  • 8 Mexitli // Nov 2, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    UGH. Must proof. Sorry.

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