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Lists of registered voters at election sites around Westwood on Tuesday were missing names of some students who said they registered to vote before the Oct. 22 deadline. Those students had to cast provisional ballots, which will be counted today.
This was a county-wide problem, said Allison Schall, a volunteer for the voting coalition Election Protection. The coalition is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that helps voters and polling sites on Election Day.
If a voter casts a provisional ballot, it goes to the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk today. The Clerk’s office verifies that the person who cast the provisional vote is registered to vote, then counts those ballots.
Schall said some of the fault probably lies with the county for not updating the voter lists on time. She encountered at least 50 students in line at Rieber Hall ““ where many students cast provisional ballots ““ who were sure they had registered to vote at that location.
“Their names did not appear on the official L.A. County voter rolls as they should have,” Schall said. “They weren’t on the master list or the supplemental rolls.”
The master list is the first list of registered voters that the polling station received. The clerk’s office then sent supplemental lists that included voters who registered closer to the deadline.
The problem at the Rieber Hall location happened because poll workers were only using that master list and one supplemental list to check in voters, instead of the two supplemental lists that the location received, said L.A. County Clerk spokeswoman Monica Flores.
Many voters who said they were registered to vote at that location were not on any of the three lists, said Lanice Thomas, the Rieber Hall polling site inspector.
If additional students were not on the lists, it could be because they did not register to vote at that location, Flores said.
“On college campuses we do encounter this a lot because a lot of students don’t have their permanent residence in this area,” Flores said.
Poll workers at Rieber Hall told second-year human biology and society student Olivia Hansell she was not on the list of voters registered to cast a ballot at that location, Hansell said.
Hansell, a Rieber Vista resident, said she checked her voter status online to make sure she was registered to vote at the Rieber Hall location. She registered to vote on Bruin Walk through CALPIRG before the registration deadline.
First-year psychology student Joselyn De La PeÃ±a had to cast a provisional ballot at the polling site in the Tom Bradley International Hall on campus.
De La PeÃ±a, a De Neve resident, said she registered online before the deadline, but was not on the list at the polling center.
Schall covered six polling sites around Westwood on Tuesday, and said around 7:30 p.m. that some places were running out of provisional ballots, partly because there were so many names missing from the registered lists.
“Polling locations shouldn’t be giving half of their voters provisional ballots,” Schall said. “It should only be a last resort.”
The situation was worst at Rieber, Schall said, partly because of the registration problem and partly because of disorganization.
The line of expectant voters stretched out the side entrance of Rieber Hall, and snaked around the corner toward the front entrance of the building. It took students up to two hours to vote in the afternoon and evening, they said.
One voter even brought a residence hall desk chair down with him, inching it ahead each time the line moved.
Students who cast a provisional vote can call the Los Angeles County elections office at 800-815-2666 today to make sure their ballot was counted.
With contributing reports from Kevin Truong, Erin Donnelly, Alexia Boyarsky and Ryan Menezes, Bruin senior staff.