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California Voting Changes Raise Concerns For 'Super Tuesday'

Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP
In this Nov. 6, 2018 photo, Katie Hill, bottom right, votes in Agua Dulce, Calif.


Big changes to the way people vote are in store for the state. As Californians prepare to cast ballots in tomorrow’s primary races, election advocates fear wide-spread voter confusion. Experts warn that we may see a situation similar or worse than what happened in Iowa. In that contest, the Democratic Party couldn’t declare a winner for several days.

Most of the changes are taking place in Los Angeles county. In response to the majority of Californians now using mail-in ballots, the county has closed nearly 3500, or 75 percent, of its polling places. In their place, the county has opened up nearly 1000 voting centers, which allow residents to vote in any location they want. New electronic voting machines in Los Angeles and Orange Counties could complicate things further. According to Reuter’s, the machines only display four candidates at a time. Voters will have to go through several steps to see additional candidates.

In 14 other counties, including other population centers like Sacramento and Fresno, voters will now automatically receive vote-by-mail ballots. California is also expanding same-day registration and early voting. Advocates say to expect long lines on March 3rd.

The new changes, along with a likely deluge of mailed in ballots, means that the results of this Tuesday’s contests may not be known for days after the ballots are cast.

Christopher was a fellow in the KALW’s Audio Academy class of 2020. He previously interned at NPR. Among other topics, he is interested in reporting on issues of chronic illness, disability, and mental health. Christopher’s background is in film production and social impact strategy. He’s worked with major nonprofits and corporations on developing campaigns that advance social issues.