Although many are excited about the new process, there is a larger concern in the Black community that not enough awareness has been done to educate the community. Congresswoman Maxine Waters stated, “while these changes may be straightforward, I am extremely concerned about the lack of information that has been shared with L.A. County residents, which could lead to confusion for members of our community on election day.
“It is imperative that the L.A. County Registrar’s Office disseminate information about these changes through radio, television, and newspaper advertising and by working with local clergy members, elected officials, civil rights leaders, and advocacy groups to spread the word about the new voting system.
“To that end, I have already held four town hall meetings in my District that included presentations by Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, Dean C. Logan, who demonstrated the new voting machines, explained how and where they will be used, and answered questions from leaders across the 43rd District.
“Nevertheless, I remain incredibly worried about the lack of awareness and outreach in our community,” Waters stated.
Monday, Feb. 3 was the first day to vote-by-mail. Those ballots can also be returned in person at secure county ballot boxes, polling locations and vote centers on March 3, according to the California Secretary of State’s Office. The last day to apply for a vote-by-mail ballot is Feb. 25. Mailed ballots must be postmarked by March 3 and will be accepted via mail through March 6. Early voting has also begun at county registrars’ office.
Waters continued, “I want each and every resident of Los Angeles County to be aware that our county has adopted a completely new voting system that will be implemented for the first time in our March 3 primary and November 11 general election.
“While our early voting period has been extended to 11 days, the new voting system has overhauled more than 5,000 traditional polling places and replaced them with approximately 970 new voting centers. The new system also utilizes new touchscreen voting machines that will print out paper ballots, and each voting center will have staff on hand to answer questions about the new machines.”
The new election model gives voters the flexibility to choose when, where and how they vote by expanding in-person early voting and giving voters the opportunity to cast a ballot at any vote centers within their county.
Waters concluded, “L.A. County must not suffer the same fate as Iowa. Our new voting system must be easily understood, accessible, and verifiable. I will continue to do all that I can to inform L.A. County residents of the changes that have been made to our voting system.
“I urge all L.A. County residents to not only ensure that their family members and friends are aware of the changes to our system, but to also take the time to locate the new voting centers in their community and take advantage of the extended early voting days.
“I also encourage residents to familiarize themselves with the new touchscreen equipment, to ask for help if they experience issues with the machines on election day, and to verify their paper ballot printouts before submitting them.
“If you see something, say something. We cannot allow our democracy to be weakened or the integrity of our elections to be undermined because we fail to fully understand and inform our community about our new voting system. We must do everything in our power to ensure that every L.A. County resident can fully participate in our election.”
To find your polling place / vote center visit https://locator.lavote.net/locations/vc