The Spanish version of this story is available here.
El Camino College will host a Los Angeles County Vote Center location in the East Dining Room from Oct. 30 until Election Day, Nov. 3.
Anyone registered to vote in Los Angeles County is eligible to utilize the ECC Voting Center.
The center will operate from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Oct. 30 until Nov. 2 and then from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day. This is the second time ECC has hosted a voting center, as they hosted one for the first time during Primary Elections in March of this year.
Although ECC has coordinated a polling location before, the second time around was no easier because they had to deal with completely new voting regulations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We had a meeting with our Risk Management Advisor, Michael Pascual, to make sure that we could safely open up the East Dining Room because it is an indoor space.” Bridget Delahunt, Director of Event Coordination at El Camino, said. “[we] wanted to make sure that if we gave the use of it to the county that it was going to be safe for El Camino. And we determined that it would be.”
Set-up for the election began Sept. 22 when AT&T came on-campus to ensure that internet connectivity would be strong enough in the East Dining Room for electronic voting, according to Delahunt.
To ensure social distancing, the center will be open for five days, rather than just Election Day. Los Angeles County has also hired a COVID-19 offsite manager to ensure sanitation.
“Any machinery or surface will be frequently sanitized and cleaned. We are going to clearly mark out six-feet distance between lines,” Delahunt said. “We’re hoping long lines don’t form because of the longer days and the longer week that we’ve scheduled for the voting. But we’re still going to mark out social distance lines all the way from Parking Lot C to the East Dining Room.”
According to Delahunt, ECC won’t charge LA County for using the space, as the college is acting within its role as a Civic Center.
“Really, it’s just a matter of us being a public institution that can host a vote center in terms of, you know, large gathering space, access to parking, things like that.” Marc Stevens, Public Information Officer and Government Relations Director at ECC, said.
In terms of security, the parking lots and the East Dining Room will be secured by El Camino College Police Dept. (ECCPD). The Los Angeles County Sheriff will also play a role in securing voting operations.
“Our campus police will be controlling the parking lot. And at a distance, making circular runs around the dining room,” Delahunt said. “And then LA County is bringing in Los Angeles County Sheriffs to just oversee security for the city.”
Should there be any disruptions like rioting or electioneering, both forces would participate in handling those situations.
“There’s no way to know, of course, what’s going to happen during the voting period. But we [would] rely on the county and their staff to manage the vote center, according to their procedures,” Stevens said, “And [if] a situation arose where additional security was needed from campus police, absolutely, they would fulfill that role, because the first priority for everyone would be, [the] safety and security of the poll workers and voters and any campus employees who happened to be nearby.”
LA County has released a flyer titled “Safe Presidential Election Plan,” which provides tips for voting safely, whether you’ll be dropping off a mail-in ballot or voting at the center.
The Los Angeles County Registrar was contacted by The Union via two emails and two phone calls but did not respond for an interview.
EDITOR’S NOTE: THIS STORY WAS UPDATED TO INCLUDE A LINK TO THE TRANSLATED VERSION OF THIS STORY ON OCT. 26.