Congressman Lowenthal Leads LA Congressional Delegation To Call For Investigation of LA County Vote Center Issues

March 11, 2020
Press Release

Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) today joined with 11 colleagues who also represent areas in Los Angeles County to call on county officials to investigate widespread vote center problems reported by voters on election night and for solutions to be implemented before the November general election.

The letter to L.A. County Registrar-Recorder Dean Logan was cosigned by Representatives Nanette Barragán (CA-44), Karen Bass (CA-37), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Judy Chu (CA-27), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Ted Lieu (CA-33), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Linda Sánchez (CA-38), Adam Schiff (CA-28), and Brad Sherman (CA-30). The letter was also sent to California Secretary of State Alex Padilla.

“Many voters on election day faced inexcusable challenges to cast their ballot, including unacceptable wait times at vote centers, untrained staff, and voting machines that failed to display all candidates and in some cases did not work at all,” Congressman Lowenthal said. “The legitimacy of our elections depends on the full faith of voters in our voting systems. Undermining this faith threatens our democracy. We must all work together to ensure that every L.A. County voter has their voice heard in our next election.”

The letter begins by addressing the excessively long wait times that voters reported encountering at vote centers, with “…multiple reports of voters waiting in line for two or even three hours. In some cases, voters were instructed by poll workers to go to a different polling place, where lines were often just as long. Further, we are troubled by reports that in some cases voters were turned away at 8 p.m., after waiting in line for hours.”

The letter also notes that voters, “…reportedly encountered voting machines that were broken or out of order, while other machines that were in service ran slowly or did not work properly, including not accepting paper ballots or being unable to read voters’ mobile QR codes.”

The Members also raise the issue of numerous voters reporting that they found the new voting machine interface, “…confusing, including the inability to view all candidates in each race on the same screen.”

Voters who contacted the Members’ offices expressed confusion about the requirement that they locate and click a “MORE” button on the voting machine to view all candidates in crowded races, with some voters reporting that they voted without seeing all candidates, and that when turned to for assistance, poll workers were unable to help.

The letter concludes, “Los Angeles County should be setting the example for the rest of the nation with our voting infrastructure, and we appreciate the work you have done to modernize our system and make it more accessible. However, the conduct of the March 3 election gives us serious concern and suggests serious corrective action is needed. We request that the LA County Registrar-Recorder investigate the highlighted issues voters faced on election day and work to ensure that these issues are fixed before the next county-wide election on Tuesday, November 3, 2020.”

To read the full text of the letter, please click here.