A new voting system is finally enacted throughout the state of California and Valley College opens its doors to constituents with new equipment.
By Solomon Smith, Political News Editor
Lines to vote wrapped around the Campus Center Building and out the back door as the new voting machines and a last opportunity to participate in the California Democratic primary wound down.
“The voting was easy,” said Josefina, a Valley College student. “The waiting was a hassle, it took 40 to 45 in line.”
March 3 is Super Tuesday, the day when almost 20 percent of the Democratic electoral votes are up for grabs. California has the largest number of them at 495. The new voting booths and voting centers on Valley’s Campus are part of the 2016 Voter’s Choice Act which includes all of the Los Angeles Community College Campuses as voting centers, according to a memo circulated by the LACCD. Youth suffragists were expected in higher volumes at the polls according to Herbert Johnson, the lead at the Valley College Voting Center located in the CC building. Voters were, for the most part, satisfied with the new system.
The new machines are now in use for their first real vote and, after two practice runs and classes for poll workers, the real world met the machines with a modicum of success from generally happy voters, according to Johnson. With half of the expected staff of 13 (he only has six workers), the voting has not had any major problems, according to Johnson.
The overhauled voting process, culminated into voting centers, has had some minor kinks to work out, however. According to Johnson, there was some “complaint from older voters” who were more familiar with the old paper system. A few voters were also confused about the different steps in the process, which were not clear for some balloters. Johnson assures voters that this does not invalidate their vote, however, as long as they have completed the digital step.
“It prints a copy of what you voted and the screen lets you see it to verify, … so when the system tells you to put the ballot back in, the people will put the ballot back in and the screen will come up and say that the ballot is ready to cast, they walk away,” said Johnson. “[T]he machine will turn itself off, because it has a ballot it doesn’t know what to do with. The ballot doesn’t get deleted or erased; it’s still counted.”
Aside from a little apprehension about the new voting process, the other main issue for many voters was the Democratic primary. With Sanders expected to win the state of California, it was not surprising that some cast their vote for him at Valley. Sanders has had greater success with younger voters and much of the Hispanic population, with 46.8 of the total vote and 24 delegates, according to the Associated Press.
Support among voters varied. Some citizens were firmly in the Sanders camp, like Whitt-Ordone, a Valley student and psychology major, who had “no question” about voting for Sanders, someone he supported since 2015 to a necessity. Others were not as enthusiastic.
“I voted for Sanders mostly because I thought it was the lesser of the two evils,” said Clifford Mar, a Valley staff member. “I didn’t have that much of an issue with it, I did have an issue with his constant texting.”