Super Tuesday live updates: Some report issues with new electronic tablets at the polls – VC Star

Posted: March 7, 2020 at 3:41 pm


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A previous version of this video displayed an incorrect date in a graphic. It was 1988 when 14 Southern and border states held their primaries. USA TODAY

Close to 400 polling placesopened at 7 a.m. March 3 in Ventura County for voters pick their choices in Tuesday's primary election. Polls close at 8 p.m.

While presidential primaries may garner much of the attention nationally this Super Tuesday, county, state and congressional races have some crowded fields and some contentious races.

Want to read up on the candidates? Go to vcstar.com/elections.

12:20 p.m.

At a Ventura museum, 122 people had voted in person by mid-day. None had used the two new voting machines at the Dudley House.

They should just have one voting machine because no one uses it, then they could sell them for the money, said poll worker John Bennett.

According to Bennett, poll workers dont ask voters whether they want to use an electronic machine or paper ballot. Instead, voters just walk up to whichever they want to use.

We dont even know if the voters know that theyre here, he said.

Alan Westheimer voted at Dudley House using a paper ballot.It was very easy, they didnt offer the machines and it looks complicated, he said.

Westheimer says the Democratic presidential primary was the main draw for voting, and he supported Joe Biden.

Im just thinking about who the best candidate is who could replace our current president, he said.

11:45 a.m.

The count had reached 97 voters who had filled out ballots at the Power House Church of the Nazarene on Venturas Seaward Avenue.

That may not seem like a big number but poll workers pointed at three lettersthat dominated the polling places registry of voters: VBM.Vote by mail.

They said those votes will pump up the turnout.

A polling place at Church of the Nazarene on Seaward Avenue in Ventura.(Photo: Arlene Martinez/The Star)

11:35 a.m.

About40 people had voted in person and an additional 30 had dropped off mail-in ballots at Ventura Trinity Lutheran Church.

With aquickly-changing field of presidential candidates, some came into surrender their mail-in ballots and vote provisionally. A half-dozen or so said they had filled in the mail-in ballots to drop off, but then the candidate they chose dropped out,according to pollworker Jean McPherson.

Voting at the polls, Jim Gardener, a 72-year-old retiree, saidhe always votes regardless of whats on the ballot, but is particularly interested in the presidential primary and county supervisor race this year.

He initially liked Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg for president, and after they dropped out he was torn between Mike Bloomberg and Joe Biden.

Its not a question of who I prefer the most, its who could beat Trump, he said. Im a capitalist and a Democrat, not a socialist, so its been a toss-up between Bloomberg and Biden."

However, he says Klobuchar and Buttigiegs recent endorsement of Biden was a tipping point, so hes voting for Biden.

11:30 a.m.

In Ventura, Kathy Kircher and Lisa Fox said they donated their time as poll workers Tuesday to raise money for Assistance League of Ventura County. As if 11:30 a.m., Grace Lutheran Church saw a total of 45 voters, according to site supervisor Judy Owen.

Maru Schweizer (left), 43, signs in to her polling place at Grace Lutheran Church in Ventura on Tuesday with the help of Kathy Kircher and Lisa Fox.(Photo: Anthony Plascencia/The Star)

10:30 a.m.

Trevor Quirk, running as a write-in candidate in the county Supervisors District 1,was joined by a group of supporters on a Ventura street corner near the Ventura County Government Center. They held signs urging passers-by to vote for him in the race against Ventura Mayor Matt LaVere and hardwareclerk Jeff Ketelsen.

We chose this spot because its the highest volume place that we could think of," Quirk said. "We just want to get the word out, talk to people, spread the love.

9:45 a.m.

A polling place at the Sleep Shoppe in Newbury Park reported a few issues Tuesday morning as people cast votes and dropped off absentee ballots.

One woman had brought her two children, 12 and 14, with her to vote, because they were getting curious about the process. She had gotten a vote-by-mail ballot and was surprised by it because she hadn't registered as an absentee voter, she said. Shedecided to just show up at her normal polling place on Tuesday.

When she got there around 8 a.m., however, there was some confusion about whether she could vote there. She called the Elections Division and was told because there were too few voters in her area,it had been converted into a vote-by-mail precinct, she said.

She was able to vote provisionally at the polling place, but ultimately she decided to fill out her mail-in ballot instead and drop it off.

The poll workers also had issues initially starting the electronic tablets and said they had one voter come in who believed he was registered as Republican but was on the roster as "no party preference." In the presidential primary, no party preference voters had to re-register as Republican to get the right ballot.

The voter was told he could vote provisionally and receive a Republican ballot, but he didn't believe he should have been registered as "no party preference."

9:15 a.m.

Elections Division operations manager Martin Cobos said the electronic tablets are now up and working in Simi Valley. It's a new system and there was some confusion about the code that was needed, he said.

With a quick call, the office was able to relay the correct code and the tablets were operational, according to Cobos. It happened at other locations early Tuesday.

Kendall Mattina, 70, signs in to vote with help from Brenda Sanchez at Fire Station 6 in Oxnard on Tuesday.(Photo: Anthony Plascencia/The Star)

8:15 a.m.

Brandon Jove, 33, was more interested in down-ballot races than the presidential primary, because he assumes Bernie Sanders will win the California Democratic Primary.

I feel like I can be the most influential through the lower-level elections and judges, since I have a feeling for how the presidential primary is going to go, he said, when he came in to drop off his mail-in ballot in Simi Valley.

Mary Racine also dropped off her ballot at the Reagan Library. The 58-year-old Simi Valley resident changed her registration to Democratic this year after 40 years as a Republican.

She was most interested in the presidential primary,even though her top candidate, Pete Buttigieg, dropped out this week.

I was initially for Pete, but my goal is to vote for whoever can beat Trump. Im most interested in the presidential primary, theres not much else on there this year, she said.

Racine says dropping off her mail-in ballot, instead of mailing it, gave her peace of mind.

I mostly vote absentee so I can sit at home and do my research, but I usually finish it too close to Election Day to mail it, she said. I like to make sure it is counted on time and like to see it go into the box.

Mother-daughter duo Lynn and Madison Robnett were surprised to vote on paper ballots, as theyd heard about new electronic machines.

They didnt offer us the machine, they just handed us a paper ballot, said mom Lynn. There was no machine to read our paper ballot they just put it into the bin. I hope that they know what theyre doing and whoever counts them by hand knows what theyre doing... to be honest I dont have the utmost confidence in the situation.

8 a.m.

Anhour after the polls opened at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, about 35 people had voted across the three precincts that use the polling place. A few additional people came to drop off their mail in ballots, according to pollworker Peggy Sadler.

Its slow right now because so many people vote by mail now that its not as busy as past years, we used to have a line out the door in the morning with people lined up to vote early before work," saidSadler, a library docent at the library who has worked at the polling place for over a decade.

Each precinct had around seventraditional ballot stations and two with electronic equipment a big tablet but pollworker John Biggs said they hadn't been able to log into the electronic stations.

Pollworkers have a PIN number to access the electronic ballots, but Biggs says his number hadnt been working so he was trying to reach county election officials.

Right now if someone came in and was adamant that they wanted to use the touchscreen, I wouldnt be able to get the touchscreen to turn on," he said.

So far, however,no voters had requested to use the new electronic ballots.

More than 70 percent of the countys registered voters are registered to vote by mail. Tens of thousands already had returned ballots by late last week.

At the polls, expect to see some changes, including some new equipment inside the voting booth.

Polling places also can change. Election officials recommended voters confirm the location either by checking their sample ballot, visiting the website or calling 805-654-2664.

One other big change this year: Voters can register to vote at polling places.

Locally, officials recommend that only as a last resort to prevent delays. They urged anyone wanting to do so to head over to the Elections Division at the Ventura County Government Center, 800 S. Victoria Ave. in Ventura. The office will have more staff on hand than at individual polling places.

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California is one of 14 states holding a presidential primary on Super Tuesday 2020(Photo: JUAN CARLO/THE STAR)

A tablet and a printer will be available for those who want to select their candidates using the touch screen. They then will print their ballot and drop it in the box.

Want to skip the tablet? People also can choose to vote using just the traditional paper ballots.

In some cases,all the candidates in a race will not show up on the same screen, election officials have said. That happens in races witha large number of candidates or depending on the font size selected by the voter.

In those cases, the word "scroll" will follow the last candidate name on the screen. People can scroll down to see additional names. The voter also can click next to move to the next race at any time.

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If problems arise that poll workers cannot resolve, officials said to contact the Elections Division call center at 805-654-2664.

The Democratic, American Independentand Libertarian parties are allowing people registered as no party preferenceto vote for a presidential candidate. But they will need to request a ballot from one of those parties to do so.

Those no party preference voters who want to cast a ballot in the Republican, Green or Peace and Freedom parties presidential primary had to re-register for that party to do so.

More than two dozen voters cast the ballots on Feb. 22, 2020, at the election office in the Ventura County Government Center in Ventura. The office was open on a Saturday for early voting in the primary.(Photo: JUAN CARLO/THE STAR)

Polling place results may take longer to be released Tuesday nightbecause the county has moved to an all-paper voting system, local officials said.

Votes previously were tallied at polling places, but ballots now will be processed and counted at the Elections Division in Ventura.

The first round of votes are expected to released shortly after 8 p.m. on election night. Those will be vote-by-mail ballots returned before March 3.

Cheri Carlson covers the environment for the Ventura County Star. Reach her at cheri.carlson@vcstar.com or 805-437-0260.

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Super Tuesday live updates: Some report issues with new electronic tablets at the polls - VC Star

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March 7th, 2020 at 3:41 pm

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