At Tuesday’s Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Janice Hahn will introduce a recommendation calling for a county and state investigation into technical and logistics problems in the March 3 primary election.
Some Vote Centers experienced issues with the county’s new electronic voting system including malfunctioning voting machines, as well as Vote Center understaffing, excessive waits in long lines, missing mail-in ballots, and missing ballot measures in some cities and precincts.
Voter unfamiliarity with the new system also contributed to delays on primary election night.
County officials conducted a mock election in late September to test the new system, and said it went smoothly.
The Hahn and Barger recommendation, if passed by the five-member board, would instruct the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, in consultation with Secretary of State Alex Padilla, to investigate all of the challenges voters experienced on both Election Day, as well as all days county residents were able to vote, including the following:
* Excessive wait times that may have been a result of technical issues from the check-in process;
* Ensuring appropriate staffing is maintained at each Vote Center location and enough staff to respond and fix technical challenges that arise at Vote Center locations;
* Determine what led to 17,000 voters not receiving their Vote By Mail ballots as scheduled;
* Determine how three cities and other smaller precincts were not included for Measure FD; and
* Report back to the Board in 45 days with corrective measures for all the above that will be put in place prior to when voting commences in November 2020.
The recommendation further reads as follows:
“Voting in Los Angeles County took on a much-needed transformation recently. We stopped utilizing the outdated InkaVote system and adopted a completely overhauled, modernized voting system, called ‘Voting Solutions for All People,’ or VSAP.
“VSAP allowed more people to vote independently than in previous elections by allowing for a multitude of languages, both written and verbal, to be played on touch screens as well as the ability for voters to change the screen font size with ease. Instead of a single day of voting, any voter in the county could vote up to 11 days early at Vote Centers.
“However, despite all those improvements, we heard reports of large numbers of voters who were frustrated with their experience on Election Day. There were excessive wait times around Vote Centers. By some accounts, people waited for up to 4 hours to enter and vote and many simply left out of frustration without voting.
“Technical challenges with the new system arose all over the county, which were not addressed quickly, and it became clear that there were insufficient numbers of poll workers at the most heavily trafficked Vote Centers.
“The next Election Day in November is expected to have even more voter turnout. We need to quickly determine how to address the serious problems that were identified with VSAP yesterday and make the necessary changes to ensure that voters can exercise their right to vote conveniently.”
Read the complete motion here.