Super Tuesday Was Super Slow for Voters In West Hollywood

As the clock moved toward 9 p.m., an hour after the official 8 p.m. poll closing, some were still in line outside the voting center at Plummer Park’s Fiesta Hall. (Photo courtesy of Stephanie Harker)

Super Tuesday moved super slow for many West Hollywood residents, who stood in long lines to vote in the Democratic primary at Fiesta Hall in Plummer Park and at 838 N. West Knoll Drive, only to find out that malfunctioning machines at Fiesta Hall would mean a long delay in the actual tallying of their vote.

Stephanie Harker, a resident of the city’s Eastside, said voters were standing in line for hundreds of yards from the entrance to Fiesta Hall all the way south to Santa Monica Boulevard this afternoon. There were still a number in line as 9 p.m. approached, with some saying they had been there for two hours.

Voters waiting in a long line on Tuesday night on North Vista Street to vote at Fiesta Hall (Photo courtesy of Cathy Blaivas)

Harker said that when voters entered the polling place, they learned that electronic terminals used to validate the voter’s address were down. That meant that after casting a vote at the voting machine, the voters couldn’t insert the paper ballot into the machine to process it. Instead each voter had to fill out a pink envelope with his or her name and address and insert the ballot there. That identified the ballot as “provisional,” which meant it couldn’t be counted until the staffers at Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office opened the pink envelopes and were able to validate that the voter was registered in Los Angeles County.

Harker said she was told those provisional ballots could take several weeks to process. Harker said she spent five hours helping out by distributing the envelopes to those waiting on line. The poll officially closed at 8 p.m., but all of those who were in line by then were allowed to vote.

“About a thousand of us had to vote provisionally,” Harker said.

Voters waiting in line to vote at 838 West Knoll Drive at 3 p.m.

There also was a very long line of voters standing in the hot sun on the sidewalk of West Knoll Drive, waiting to enter the Community Room at West Knoll Apartments at 838 N. West Knoll to cast their votes. Some were waiting well over an hour.

Many of those waiting just shrugged their shoulders and chatted with those beside them. But a few were obviously angry. Harker said she saw City Councilmember Lindsey Horvath trying to deal politely with one angry person in line. Horvath told him that she had called the Registrar/Recorder’s Office to let it know about the issue. The man still kept yelling.

California, whose primaries in 2012 and 2016 were in June, moved its primary this year up to Super Tuesday so that its voters would have a greater impact in deciding who will be the Democratic nominee for president.

Voters also got to choose between incumber Los Angeles Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey and her challengers, former San Francisco Dist. Atty. George Gascon and public defender Rachel Rossi.

The West Knoll Drive voting center

And they were asked to decide whether to pass Measure R, which give the Los Angeles County Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission greater power to subpoena witnesses and documents during their of the Sheriff’s Department. Another item was Measure FD, a parcel tax to help fund the L.A. County Fire Department. Only voters who live in areas served by the county Fire Department, which include unincorporated county areas and West Hollywood and 57 other cities that contract with the county for fire protection and emergency services can vote on that.

Also on the ballot was Proposition 13, which would authorize the state to issue $15 billion in bonds for school and college facilities in California, including $9 billion for preschool and K-12 schools, $4 billion for universities, and $2 billion for community colleges.

A number of voters who have talked with WEHOville in the past few days have expressed regrets about L.A. County’s decision to implement the state’s Vote’s Choice Act, which allowed people to cast their votes at voting centers or by depositing ballots at places like West Hollywood City Hall or the West Hollywood Public Library as early as Feb. 22.

While that was meant to encourage more people to vote, some voters who cast their votes early for Democratic Party presidential candidates like Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, who have dropped out of the race in recent days, said they have wasted their votes. The early voting program has also drawn criticism from media commentators such as Los Angeles Times columnist Jonah Goldberg, who wrote a column titled “Early voting is a terrible idea, and California’s primary proves it.”

The Voters Choice Act 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. West Hollywood residents could, for example, cast their ballots at voting centers at Fairfax High School or Laurel Elementary School.

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Josh Kurpies
Josh Kurpies
3 months ago

Anyone with complaints (or praises of things that worked well) about voting experience should email their comments to voterinfo@rrcc.lacounty.gov. Some things to consider including in the email are the voting center location and time of day you were attempting to vote.

michaelz
michaelz
3 months ago

West knoll was a nightmare…over a 2 hour wait…

Vigilant
Vigilant
3 months ago

What appears to be absent is, the Art of Anticipation and folks with keen antennae handling transitions paper to digital or anything else for that matter. These snafu’s are easy to avoid. Remember the “O Ring” on the Challenger Mission? A simple caution offered by the engineer Bob Ebeleing in his “Help Memo” to avoid or avert a potential disaster. He had antennae but the chiefs ignored the potential risk. He spent his life in deep remorse over this feeling a grave sense of responsibility. While hearing an NPR interview with him, I needed to pull to the side of… Read more »

Jonathan Simmons
Jonathan Simmons
3 months ago

THIS IS A REAL ANGER COMMENT LIVED IN WEHO 25 PLUS YEARS. NEVER EVER WAS THERE A LINE TO VOTE. THE SOUTH WESTKNOLL SITE, AT 10AM HAD AN ALMOST 2 HOUR LINE. COULDN’T WAIT AND PLANNED TO COME BACK LATER. ALL DAY LOCAL ABC NEWS WAS REPORTING ON LONG LINES ALL OVER BUT KEPT RETURNING TO OUR LOCAL WESTKNOLL SITE AS THE WORST EXAMPLE. I WASN’T ABLE TO VOTE IN THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION OF MY LIFE. 1. DUH GET TRUMP OUT 2. AND FIRST TIME EVER MY VOTE WOULD ACTUALLY BE COUNTED. IN EVEN CLOSE ELECTIONS, OUR OLD VERY… Read more »

Cy Husain
3 months ago

The Bay Area Right Wing? 🤣 Like the rest of the AM Talk Radio conspiracy you listed, do you have ANY credible sources?

Jonathan Simmons
Jonathan Simmons
3 months ago
Reply to  Cy Husain

Is that to me?

No conspiracy. Just a really bad idea to switch the very well performing paper ballot system CA has always used.

Personal anger.

Very left, just not Bernie left.

Dennis
Dennis
3 months ago

So totally ridiculous! My polling place in West Hollywood had at least 30 machines, of which only about 3 at a time were being used. Why? Because they only had 2 iPads to check people in with and the people doing the checking in were freely having extended personal conversations with each voter. Seriously WTF! Why is there nobody in charge of implementing efficiency?!?!

Cy Husain
3 months ago

Well it looks like my early get out the vote for Bernie effort paid off! 😁

Mike
Mike
3 months ago

So Glad I voted by mail.

JF1
JF1
3 months ago

Worst voting experience of my life. Went to BH City Hall…2.25 hour wait. Only 4 machines were being used while another 15 sat empty at all times. They only had about 3 people checking everyone in. Horrible. Signs that said VOTE HERE on the exterior (on Crescent side) directed you to a locked door. Terribly managed.

Observer
Observer
3 months ago

Return to paper ballots !!

Diana
Diana
3 months ago

I had a horrible experience at W Knoll including a volunteer picking up my ballot and reading it. Yep.

John
John
3 months ago

Horrible! If only they could have voted early . . . oh wait

JF1
JF1
3 months ago
Reply to  John

Doesn’t take away from the fact that those that want to vote ON election day should be able to and they should expect and get reasonable wait times.

P H
P H
3 months ago

It says West Knoll had a 1 hour wait…. it was actually 4.5 hours. No joke, from 5:45 PM to 10:09 PM and there were at least 2 hours of people behind me when I left.

JF1
JF1
3 months ago
Reply to  P H

So it seems it was not only a problem in Beverly Hills where I voted. They need to get their act together the next go around.

Cy Husain
3 months ago
Reply to  JF1

Of course it’s NOT a problem in Beverly Hells (a Freudian typo on my part), that’s because those in power have no interest in implementing their voter suppression tactics there do to the overwhelming privileged white demographic!

Jonathan Simmons
Jonathan Simmons
3 months ago
Reply to  JF1

I think the crux of the problem was allowing anyone to vote anywhere.

Weho being so central, I think it attracted so many people compared to our local electorate.

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