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Elections: Even In L.A. County, Some Voters Lined Up Until Last-Minute

Leah Harari |
November 7, 2012 | 2:51 a.m. PST

Staff Reporter


Voting Booths At L.A. County Registrar Recorder's Building (Photo Credit- Leah Harari)
Voting Booths At L.A. County Registrar Recorder's Building (Photo Credit- Leah Harari)
A slew of last-minute voters lined up outside of the Los Angeles County Registrar Recorder’s building Tuesday night, waiting patiently for their chance to decide on who and what will better both their community and their country.

L.A. County residents were snaked around the front door of the Norwalk structure a mere half an hour before the official close of ballots at 8:00. Despite what appeared to be a thinned-out crowd as the clock crept towards official closing time, Head Graphic Artist and election worker Hubert M. Klerks explained it was far from the end of their chaos.

“It’s going to get worse before it gets better,” he explained.  “It’s just the beginning,” another employee quipped.

Klerks went on to say that the past Saturday was the worst he had seen, with lines of eager voters stretched all the way around and behind the building.

Despite the crowds, voters like Michelle West had no complaints, granting the staff with glowing compliments. Almost losing her chance to vote because of a registration issue, she was forced to both re-register and vote at the very last minute, a process she says went quickly and smoothly, thanks to the efficiency of the election employees.

“I’m glad I could vote,” the Burbank resident told Neon Tommy. “While I’m all for new things, I’d like to see what can be done with what’s in place. It’s a tough vote. I am excited to see what happens; a lot of people are going out their way just to vote.”

Prospective voter Shonta Henderson of Cerritos rushed from work to get in line, understanding how detrimental each and every citizen can be in such a buzzed-about election.

“This election is particularly important. Changes are going to come no matter who is elected, but I think that this election is even more important than the one 4 years ago,” said Henderson.  

While voting for the presidential election was obviously the main-ticket item on the ballot, other statewide issues, like Proposition 30 and 38, which deal with funding for education, made their appearance as well. Other hot-button topics on the ballot included Proposition 35’s increased prison sentences for sex traffickers, the pro-public transit act, Measure J, and the race for L.A. District Attorney between Democrat Jackie Lacey and Republican Alan Jackson. If Lacey were to win, she would be not only L.A.’s first female DA, but African-American one as well.

“I’m not impressed with the proposed budgets for schools. I’m tired of not knowing where my money goes; there needs to be reconstruction in how schools receives their funds. There’s no reason why any school should have to cut any program,” West commented in regards to Prop 30 and 38.

In the wake of the tedious processing, sorting, and inspection of ballots, students from local Whittier and Cerritos high schools were brought in to volunteer for their government class.

Despite having to stay until midnight, 17-year-old Whittier High student Jessica Rivera explained, “Our school does it every four years for class credit, but this is an assignment I actually want to do.”

While everything seemed to be going as planned throughout the night, in an unexpected turn, the president’s win was announced an anti-climactic three hours earlier than expected, hitting those still in the voting booth. Fireworks were heard in the distance in honor of the victory, as voters asked media outlets, election workers, and eachother if the news was in fact, true. After questioning a passerby on her reaction to the news, “I voted Obama,” she said with a smile. 

Student volunteer and Whittier High senior Katia Lopez, told Neon Tommy,  “I’m excited for Obama’s win because it means we can still get financial aid for college.”  

As crowds emptied out and media caravans jumped ship a little before nine, election workers still faced a daunting schedule, with many going until 2 or 3 in the morning, repairing damaged ballots and loading them onto high-security helicopters.

Reach reporter Leah here. 




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