OK, Starbucks was needed for election observation today because the election here is SO BORING. At 2:00 today, there were polls in Los Angeles County and Orange County that had turnout of 30 voters. A consolidated polling place with two precincts we visited had 40 voters total. There were some interesting occurances at the polls, problems we will write about in a report for electionline.org. However, a couple of interesting issues that arose included a plethora of VVPAT jams in Orange County (every precinct we visited except one had at least one machine down because of a printer jam) and various issues of operations management at the polls.
One interesting conversation we had with poll workers was about the need for electronic poll books. At one poll, the poll workers said that the most inefficicent part of the election process is dealing with the poll books to look up voter registraitons. It was the opinion of these poll workers that an electronic system would faciliate this process and make things work better.
We are off to watch Alpine Recreation Center in Los Angeles close down at 8:00 pm. Mike has seen this poll close in almost every election since the 2001 mayoral primary and we have gone together every time I have been in LA for an election. The polling place is one of the most diverse in Los Angeles–a sizable number of voters speak 6 of the 7 covered languages–and the poll workers there are great to interact with.