Concerns Raised About How City Handled Primary Election

Addressed by City Council

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Concerns were raised during last week’s South Pasadena City Council meeting regarding the June 2016 Presidential Primary Election.
“There were some problems with it,” acknowledged South Pasadena City Manager Sergio Gonzalez, noting that the city and County of Los Angeles coordinate on elections to ensure they are run smoothly. While the county is responsible for selecting sites in the city for polling centers, Gonzalez wants to ensure that the voting experience is positive for local residents.
He’s confident voters will notice the improvements at polling centers set up around town for the November Presidential Election, which will also include many ballot measures.
Some voters were handed wrong party affiliation ballots, polling centers lacked enough volunteers to handle the crowds and some sites were simply too small.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors heard complaints from dozen of voters and poll workers about problems encountered on Election Day. In addition, complaints were heard from voters regarding the quantity of unprocessed vote-by-mail and provisional ballots.
Despite the challenges, South Pasadena Chief City Clerk Anthony J. Mejia said voter turnout reached 42 percent countywide.
“We will continue to work with the county collaboratively to make sure the locations they select are appropriate for the turnout we expect,” Gonzalez said, adding, “We’re expecting a large turnout for the Presidential Election in November.”
City buildings located in the city are always available for polling places, stressed the city manager, including City Hall, the community room at the library, the Senior Center, War Memorial Building. “Those are locations that our residents can readily identify with,” said Gonzalez. “Local churches and schools also do a very good job of making their buildings available.”
Some parts of the city, he maintained, like homes in the hills area, where parking is limited, roadways for motorists is tight, sometimes present problems for voters.
To avoid going to the polls altogether, Gonzalez suggests voting by mail, like 65 percent of South Pasadena residents chose to do during the primary, he said. “That takes away the anxiety of taking time off work, driving to the polling location, and you can vote in your pajamas.”

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