Today's elections in California are important, even though there is no national race on our ballot. Volunteer poll watchers have taken it upon themselves to monitor problematic precincts, and have already encountered disenfranchised voters.
At the Venice Methodist Church on Lincoln and Victoria in Venice/Mar Vista, there are two tables for two different precincts. This morning, only one of those precinct tables was set up and serving voters, while the superintendent of the other table apparently quit and did not deliver the necessary materials -- poll books, voting machines, ballots, more.
This forced half the voters showing up at their assigned polling place to vote provisionally, which means their votes may be counted at the end of the day subject to subjectivity, and they can phone the city registrar ten days after the election has been decided to see if their vote counted, or not.
Below is a compilation of interviews filmed this morning as voters left their polling place. After 10 A.M., the polling place in question had moved to using their available ballots for both precincts located at the church, since they were in fact identical.
A polling place that was announced to be at the Felicia Mahood Senior Center was moved without notifying the center staff or the voters who were told to show up there on Election Day.
Voters who reported to the Felicia Mahood Senior Center were told to go over a mile away to the new polling location, which was not in their district, or even in Los Angeles proper. Here are some of their reactions, as well as a count of how few people managed to vote at the new location.
And, as proof that your vote can be rejected no matter who you are in politics, how much money you have, or how many sequels you made, here is Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger getting his ballot denied.
Voting is never enough. We must ensure that our votes are counted, that they are carefully collected, and that ballots are even accessible. The purpose of monitoring is not to harangue poll workers and civic administrators, but to ensure that citizens know their rights, know that others are looking out for them, and that the process can be observed and documented for improvement.
Video interviews filmed by Steve Brown and Lionel Heredia.