LOS ANGELES, CA - This state, with a tradition of high turnout, activist communities and 441 delegates, is the focus of today's media coverage. But this heightened attention is nothing new. Here, the popularity of elections is sure to expose even the most minute hiccup. Today, there was one.
The process is this: decline-to-state voters who wish to exercise their franchise in the Democratic Primary must ask the poll-workers for a Democratic ballot. Fair enough.
Here's the trouble: In the voting booth, voters must then mark a bubble on the ballot that confirms the voter is indeed voting on a Democratic ballot. If they fail to mark, their ballots go uncounted. And further, if a voter neglects to fill in this bubble, a voting machine will not return the ballot because the vote is counted as an under-vote. In Los Angeles County alone, 776,000 voters are susceptible to double bubble trouble.
Needless to say, many decline-to-state voters were confused. After all, by requesting the ballot in the first place, voters are already in essence filling out this bubble. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that poll workers have also been uninformed. Decline-to-state voters were denied the right to participate within the Democratic Primary, and were given non-partisan ballots.
20% of Californians consider themselves, and are registered as, decline-to-state voters, yet in this historical nomination process their voice is jeopardized by baffling ballot rules and puzzled poll workers.
Team Why Tuesday? slowly hit the streets of Los Angeles in what seemed like - to our east coast contingent - the worst traffic in the entire universe. And after catching up with Dolores Huerta (video to come), we rushed over to talk with Los Angeles City Attorney Rockard Delgadillo. Concerned for California's primaries, Rocky told me that he intends and hopes the intent of the voters affected by these mishaps is respected.