This morning we went to another early voting location, at the Monterey Park City Hall. This is an early voting location that I have visited in the past, and it was quite interesting to visit it again this morning.
Melissa Slemin went along this morning, her first election observation visit, and hopefully she’ll have a chance before the holiday weekend to write about her observations. One of the key things we did this morning was to try to proceed as if we were typical voters, trying to find an early voting location from scratch. Melissa has some observations on exactly how difficult that may be.
We were at the location for an hour, from 9:45am until about 10:45am. Turnout was very, very light — when we arrived, there were two voters finishing up, and during the next hour there were only two other voters who came and cast ballots.
The only real difference in this early voting location, relative to my past visits here, regarded the demonstration video I noted in my essay yesterday. The Monterey Park site also had a tv/dvd player, and it had the demonstration video running constantly, over and over. The tv/dvd were set up next to the workstations used by the pollworkers, and facing the tv/dvd were three rows of pretty uncomfortable chairs. The idea was that voters would sit and watch the video while waiting to be authenticated and to receive their activation card, though given the light flow of voters during our visit we didn’t really have much of an opportunity to observe many voters interaction with the demonstration video.
We did note, though, that whenever there was the slighted amount of sustained background noise (for example, a pollworker talking to a voter), it was virtually impossible to hear the soundtrack of the video. And it was not clear that the two voters really paid much attention to the video, and they were really not well instructed by the pollworkers to watch the video. So the utility of the video in such a setting might be limited.
In the past, in this early voting location I thought the pollworkers were highly effective in their efforts to demonstrate to voters how to use the electronic voting devices. In the past, they had a demonstration voting machine inside the entrance to the early voting location, and a pollworker would literally stand there and walk voters through the use of the device while they waited in line to be authenticated.
More tomorrow, including photos.