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LA County Sees 20 Percent Voter Turnout For Super Tuesday; Registrar Apologizes For Long Lines


LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – About one in five eligible Los Angeles County voters cast ballots on Super Tuesday, according to the latest numbers released Wednesday morning.

Santa Monica Super Tuesday election voter lines
People wait to vote during the presidential primary at the Santa Monica Public Library in Santa Monica, California on Super Tuesday, March 3, 2020 - Fourteen states and American Samoa are holding presidential primary elections, with over 1400 delegates at stake. Americans vote Tuesday in primaries that play a major role in who will challenge Donald Trump for the presidency, a day after key endorsements dramatically boosted Joe Biden's hopes against surging leftist Bernie Sanders. The backing of Biden by three of his ex-rivals marked an unprecedented turn in a fractured, often bitter campaign. (Photo by Mark RALSTON / AFP) (Photo by MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images)

The L.A. County Registrar-Recorder announced that 20.6 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the primary election.

Based on the semi-official results, more than 1.13 million ballots were counted, County Clerk Dean Logan said in a news release.

Of those, Logan said 651,392 were cast at vote centers and another 485,631 were mail in ballots.

This was the first election in L.A. County in which residents could cast a ballot at any of the 976 vote centers across the county. They were not limited to only their neighborhood precinct.

It was also the first election in which L.A. County voters used a modern touch-pad ballot marking device to make their selections. Those selections were then printed out on a paper ballot.

However, on Tuesday, the new e-voting system sparked issues and delays across the county. Long lines were reported at several polling centers late into the night. Due to the long wait times, the Bernie Sanders campaign filed an emergency motion to keep polls in the county open later than 8 p.m.

In the motion, the campaign listed a number of problematic locations, including Logan Elementary School in Echo Park, Santa Monica Community College, Buena Vista Library in Burbank and Cal State University Northridge.

RELATED: Supervisor Janice Hahn Calls For Investigation Following Super Tuesday Voting Problems

A poll worker who did not want to be identified said the check-in machines often failed and were a big delay for voters.

"The machines would go down, and when I say the machines, I mean those e-poll books that they check people in," that poll worker said. "That was the main bottleneck.

L.A. County spent $300 million on its new e-voting system in which voting centers opened as early as 11 days prior to Super Tuesday.

"I think that we perhaps overestimated how many of those voters would take advantage of the 10-day early voting period, and that resulted in a significant amount of voters turning on Election Day. And then the distribution of the vote centers themselves I think is something we need to look at closely as well," Logan told reporters Tuesday night.

Last week, the registrar's office told CBS2 that there were dozens of voting centers which did not open on time do to equipment issues.

"A lot of machines were vacant even though people were in line, and that's very frustrating, obviously," one woman told CBS2 Tuesday.

Logan said his office considered going to court to extend the hours, but felt that would not be appropriate since voters were already at the vote centers.

"Obviously today has been a challenging day for L.A. County, first and foremost for L.A. County voters," Logan said.

Logan reiterated that those who got in line by 8 p.m. were able to cast their vote, regardless of how long it would take.

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