As voters headed to the polls across Southern California, some residents reported sporadic problems.
At Trinity Street School in South Los Angeles, poll workers had ballots, but no voting machines. Some voters waited in vain for more than an hour to see if the machines would arrive before leaving in frustration.
“We can’t vote,” said Gerardo Galeano, 39. “If this was a local election, I probably wouldn’t be as upset, but with the stakes for today’s election, the presidential race and all the propositions, it makes me scratch my head: How could this happen?”
Daniel Villa, a USC student, said he accompanied his mother to the polling station to cast her first ballot as a U.S. citizen, only to find she could not vote.
“This further marginalizes my community,” Villa said, noting that he had made a formal complaint.
In Ladera Heights, at Saint Mary’s Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, three precincts all had a small percentage of residents who said they were incorrectly listed as choosing to vote by mail. Those voters had to fill out provisional ballots.
There were also reports that some voters were being asked for identification, which is not required in California.
James Childs, 67, said he was asked to produce a drivers license or other photo identification when he went to vote at the Hoover Recreation Center near USC.
“I’m outraged,” he said. “I happen to have a photo ID, so I could vote, and did, but other people in this neighborhood may lack IDs.”
He said he didn’t see anyone being turned away, but was told by poll workers that he would be turned away unless he produced an ID. He said he made a formal complaint.
“I’m concerned this is going to be going on all day,” he said. “I’ve been voting here for 33 years and have never been asked for a photo ID.”
Voter rights advocates from the Election Protection Coalition, which has a phone bank to monitor voting problems, said some of their highest call volume was coming from California on Tuesday morning.
Barbara Arnwine of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which spearheads the coalition, said callers were complaining about “a smattering of different things,” including demands from poll workers for identification.
There also were reports of “unpleasant interactions” with voting monitors from True the Vote, the tea party-affiliated organization. The coalition said it had received 1,571 calls from California before 9 a.m.