Thursday, March 4, 2004

Few problems reported at L.A. County polls

By Lisa Mascaro, Long Beach Press-Telegram, 03/02/04


Los Angeles County voters today were sailing through one of the more glitch-free election days, thanks to a new staff of roving trouble-shooters and other steps taken by the Registrar of Voters office to ward off problems, officials said.

But elsewhere around Southern California polling places were encountering trouble, primarily because of new voting systems, officials said.

San Diego County had early morning delays booting up its new system, while Orange County poll workers struggled to access computer ballots.

Officials in those counties could not immediately determine the extent of the problems.

Los Angeles County is using the new InkaVote marking pen system for the first time countywide, after it debuted at 1,000 precincts in November.

"Everything is really going very well," said Kristin Heffron, Los Angeles County's chief deputy Registrar-Recorder.

Heffron said the county has taken a number of steps over the past few elections to improve the system at its 4,571 precincts.

It's consolidated polling places into larger neighborhood voting centers to cut down on the number of smaller venues that need to be open and staffed.

Plus, it's hired roving trouble-shooters who check on precincts over the weekend to make sure they're ready to go and then hit the sites on Election Day morning to make sure they have the supplies and staff they need.

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