By Ronald Penh
Beginning in 2020, Los Angeles County’s voting system will transition from individuals only being able to vote at specific polling places to allowing voters to cast their ballot at any voting center location within LA.
This change aims to increase the accessibility and convenience of voting for a county that holds over 5.3 million registered voters.
In addition, traditional voting machines will be replaced with an updated setup. The new voting process will include digital touch-screen devices, headphone options, and a ballot printer that will print a paper ballot that the voter can verify before submitting.
The updated voting machine was also intended to simplify the process for individuals with disabilities or limited English proficiency. The voting machines will provide options to read or listen to ballots in 13 different languages and include more accessible features such as the ability to adjust the font size, tilt screen angle, color, contrast, and the height of the screen for individuals in wheelchairs.
The mail-by-ballot option will feature a new and redesigned layout, larger fonts, and clearer instructions. Vote-by-mail drop boxes will be available 29 days prior to the election with no postage necessary for mail ballots.
The list of potential voting centers will replace the traditional polling place locations of LA County and are posted on the Voting Solutions for All People website at vsap.lavote.net. Voting Solutions for All People (VSAP) was developed by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk to address the issue of an outdated voting system and increase voter participation and turnout. According to the VSAP website, the organization is still accepting recommended polling locations, as the voting centers have not yet been confirmed. Along with voters being able to vote at any location, voters can now register to vote and vote on the same day.
This initiative by VSAP has been in the works for over 10 years with their debut of a revolutionized voting system taking the stage for the upcoming California Presidential Primary election in March 2020, with many pilot tests scheduled to take place beforehand.
The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk is responsible for recording and providing fair and accessible voting systems. Dean Logan, the overseer of the LA County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, was a main driver behind the VSAP movement.
Mock elections will take place from Sept. 28-29 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. which will allow individuals the opportunity to experience and interact with the newly updated voting machines at 50 locations throughout LA County. The locations have not yet been confirmed.
The first vote centers open on Feb. 22, 2020, with election day for the presidential primaries taking place on Mar. 3, 2020.