Polling places

I toured nine polling locations today with two students, in the San Gabriel valley just south of Pasadena (mainly in Alhambra and Monterey Park). We visited the typical array of polling locations you see in Southern California — garages, residences, churches, schools and parks. As election observers all know, each polling location has it’s own character and personality, and in each and every place you will observe different issues and voting problems that poll workers strive to resolve.

For example, we saw:
– An “angry voter” in one location, who visited the polling location twice with absentee balloting materials but who seemed to be confused about the process (one poll worker tried to deal with his concerns and questions but he got frustrated and stormed out of the polling place twice);
– A cramped, claustrophobic and crowded polling location where even the poll workers had little room to move, but where the process seemed to work despite the lack of space and room;
– Confusion in locations with more than one voting precinct, where voters had trouble finding the table for their voting precinct, and where they sometimes drifted to available privacy booths and vote recorders for other voting precincts.

And we saw what appeared to be a relatively large number of provisional ballots being used today in Los Angeles County. We will follow up to see if there were in fact a larger number of provisional ballots used in this election than in the previous presidential elections, and if so, why.