We are just starting a round of elections in Southern California, with the LA City elections today (there are other local elections throughout this month, and then a special statewide election later this spring).
To kick-off the spring election season here in Southern California, I took two Caltech undergrads out to see polling place operations at two polling sites in the Eagle Rock area of eastern Los Angeles. While I want to reserve detailed comments for our class discussion tomorrow morning, we went to polling sites in a church and elementary school. Both were great experiences for the students, as they got to see two very different types of polling place locations, as well as many of the things that we typically see in polling places. At both places, the poll workers were pleasant and helpful, especially as they took the time to talk with the students and to answer their questions. At one location, there were only two poll workers when we arrived (and a short line of voters); the most interesting issue that arose there was observing one voter who spoiled two ballots due to overvoting, for that voter the third ballot was the charm!
In any case, it is always interesting to observe polling place operations in person, and to bring students along. The students get a chance to see that the election administration issues we talk about in class are real, and they always have interesting and clever observations and ideas after even brief visits to polling places. Thanks to the LA City Clerk’s office for helping facilitate our visits today, and to the polling place workers at the two locations we visited for taking the time to answer our questions!