New voting changes coming in 2020 for Los Angeles residents


A new computer-based voting system offers voters the option of up to 13 different languages during the mock-election Saturday, Sept. 28. The new voting system will be used for the presidential primaries next year in March. Cameron Woods/The Union

An event held across Los Angeles County (LAC) last weekend featured a new computer based voting system that could affect how students, staff and faculty at El Camino College vote during the presidential primaries in March 2020, officials said.

Several mock-elections were held Saturday, Sept. 28 and Sunday Sept. 29 to get voters up to date on the new voting system, while doing away with the hand-marked ballot system.

“I think it will be good at improving accessibility, but there might be a few technical problems in the initial phase of implementation,” Laurie Houske, a political science professor at ECC, said. “I think there will be a few problems of people not knowing how to do things, and even the people who are trained on it would probably need a little time to get used to the new system.”

Dean Logan, L.A. County registrar-recorder and clerk has been working on the changes to the voting system for over a decade through Voting Solutions For All People (VSAP), a $300 million project according to Los Angeles Times.

VSAP is aimed at redesigning the voting system to make it easier for everyone by using touch-screen tablets that offer more options for voters, including those with disabilities.

“You can change the font size and the contrast in it,” Fonda Jordan, electronic assistant of the LAC registrar, said. “Back in old voting, we had different machines for the hearing impaired or the handicap. Now they are all built in one.”

The new system is also expected to speed up the voting process, allowing volunteers to check-in voters by inserting their full name into tablets instead of having to wait for them to find your name amongst hundreds of others, Jordan said.

One of the biggest changes to the voting process is the voter has eleven days to vote instead of 1 and they can vote anywhere compared to recent years where an individual could only vote at their designated polling place, according to Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder (LACRR).

“I believe that’s a little better than having one day because you’re able to take your time and go in, and you get to choose the day you go in,” Jonathan Jackson, ECC kinesiology major, said.

Individuals with language barriers will have the option to read or listen to the ballots in 13 different languages.

Jordan added the tablets are not connected to the internet, have their own hard drive and none of them are connected to each other. If the system were to be hacked, only the languages, contrast and font sizes would be accessible.

There will be a trial-election where the new voting system will be used in the local and municipal elections on Nov. 5, using both the old and new methods, according to the LACCR. This will be the last time the hand-marked ballot system will be used.

The option to vote-by-mail will remain and will be sent out 29 days prior to the election, according to the LACCR .

To find out more about the voting system changes, click here.

To register as a voter, click here.

To vote by mail, click here.