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SoCal Voters Report a ‘Streamlined and Easy’ Election Day Experience

The following article was originally published Nov. 3, 2020, and republished through a collaboration with LAist and KPCC.

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By Redmond Carolipio. Based on reporting by Carla Javier, Frank Stoltze, Aaron Schrank, Mike Roe and Sharon McNary.

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Slow and steady. Efficient. Enjoyable.

That’s been the voter feeling thus far from Norwalk to Santa Clarita to Glendale to the Westside as people across Southern California are hitting the polls to cast their vote in the 2020 election.

That’s been the voter feeling thus far from Norwalk to Santa Clarita to Glendale to the Westside as people across Southern California are hitting the polls to cast their vote in the 2020 election.

Voters at the Los Angeles County Registrar’s office in Norwalk expressed some surprise and relief that the process went smoother, quicker and safer than expected.

That feeling was also expressed in Santa Clarita at College of the Canyons, where one of the few instances of tension came from a firefighter from Saugus who had concerns about handing his ballot from his car window.

“I hope that the person who took it, regardless of their opinions or beliefs recognize that my vote counts too — even though I may differ from them,” said Jason Bunn.

Otherwise, many voters are expressing a lot of confidence in the process.

Ayah Alayanini and Jenny Zelaya take a post-voting selfie at the Santa Monica College vote center on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. | Al Kamalizad/LAist
Ayah Alayanini and Jenny Zelaya take a post-voting selfie at the Santa Monica College vote center on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. | Al Kamalizad/LAist

“I thought it was really efficient,” Iqra Yousef told LAist. “Not too many lines, at least when I went. I thought the actual process itself was really streamlined and easy this year. I really enjoyed it.”

Impressions Banquet Hall in downtown Glendale used to be a place for weddings and parties. It was closed due to the pandemic, but now it houses a different kind of gathering for the election.

“When this opportunity came up and L.A. County contacted me, I decided to volunteer and make this place a voting center,” said owner Khachik Timourian. “A lot people walk in, pleasantly cast their vote … leave me rave reviews, and I’m really, really honored to work with L.A. County and do this kind of stuff.”

This election was also the first time Diana Potikyan took part in the voting process.

“It was extremely important for me to vote this year, moreso than I’ve ever felt inclined to,” she said. “I want to make a difference. And it was the easiest, quickest process.”

Norma Franco was here with her sons Martin and Daniel. She’s a dialysis patient who uses a wheelchair.

“It was very easy, very simple. I did have a drop-box/mail-in ballot, but we just got it yesterday, which was a little bit frustrating,” she said. “Filled it out, brought it in, signed right here in front of them, sealed it, dropped it in, and I did my duty as an American.”

Police were gearing up for possible unrest in Beverly Hills, as Santa Paula police geared up to support the Beverly Hills police. In Santa Monica, there was little to no chaos in voters' experiences there, unless one wants to count the attention that the selfie station atttracted.

Voters cast their ballots at the Impressions Banquet Hall in Glendale, which has been closed due to the pandemic. Its owner volunteered the location for the first time, and says he will do so again in the future. | Mike Roe/LAist
Voters cast their ballots at the Impressions Banquet Hall in Glendale, which has been closed due to the pandemic. Its owner volunteered the location for the first time, and says he will do so again in the future. | Mike Roe/LAist

Julie Fallon, one of the Santa Monica voters, said “this is one of the most important elections we’ve had in a long, long time with the direction of the country and the direction it will go. I’m most concerned about public safely and homelessness in Santa Monica."

Law student Cheyenne Yousefia voted today in Beverly Hills. She said it's not just the presidential race, but also the local races and statewide ballot propositions that matter to her.

"They do determine more what we will experience, or the different changes, for example, like the Uber one or the Lyft provision, things like that will affect you know, inherently how directly we will live our lives,” she said.

Engineer Ramin Heydarpour said he wants justice reform and education aid out of this election. He voted at Beverly Hills City Hall and said he liked the ballot-marking devices.

"Easy. And all the writing is right there," he said. "No mechanical things. It's easy to see. No need for glasses."

All that praise is a far cry from the primary election back in March, which was marred by technical problems and long lines.

Norma, Martin and Daniel Franco vote in Glendale on on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. | Mike Roe/LAist
Norma, Martin and Daniel Franco vote in Glendale on on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. | Mike Roe/LAist

Want more info on voting? Head to our Voter Game Plan:

 

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