Sanders Campaign Files Federal Court Papers To Keep LA County Polls Open Longer Amid “Extreme” Waits

Voters wait on line at a polling station at the University of Southern California on . Some California voters are waiting in long lines because of technical glitches connecting to the statewide voter database or too many users trying to cast ballots at once. The secretary of state's office said election workers in 15 counties could not connect to the statewide voter registration database on Super Tuesday but that the issues have been resolved Election 2020-California Primary-Voting, Los Angeles, USA - 03 Mar 2020
Stefanie Dazio/AP/Shutterstock

Voting in California underwent a major overhaul this year, and with those changes came some Super Tuesday headaches.

Voters across Los Angeles County reported long lines at newly designated vote centers, with some residents waiting up to three or four hours to cast ballots.

Deadline’s Pete Hammond happened to be at the Sherman Oaks Galleria in Los Angeles this evening, and reported a massive crowd of people waiting to vote.

“I have never seen such a long line for voting. At 7 p.m., it wrapped almost to the parking garage,” Hammond said.

Super Tuesday primary election day, Los Angeles, USA - 03 Mar 2020. (Credit: ETIENNE LAURENT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
A voting machine is listed as ‘out of order’ Tuesday inside a Chinatown elementary school in Los Angeles. Shutterstock

The introduction of touch-screen voting machines and specially designated vote centers led to longer lines today and a bit of confusion.

Some voters also reported experiencing glitches at the new machines, including in Chinatown, where a machine was listed as out of order.

As a result of the lines, L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan released a statement Tuesday evening saying polling centers would remain open past the 8 p.m. cutoff time to accommodate anyone already waiting in line.

Still, that assurance wasn’t good enough for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose campaign filed papers in federal court tonight asking that polls remain open until 10 p.m., allowing anyone in line at that time to vote. In its court filing, the campaign argued that there had been “extreme wait times” at some polling locations, and voters should be given an additional two hours to cast  ballots.

In the past, L.A. County voters had many more polling places available with some private homes and churches used as polling places. That changed with the new electronic voting machines.

About three million votes had already been cast in the state by Sunday, officials reported. In Los Angeles County alone, nearly 575,000 vote-by-mail ballots were received as of Monday night, according to the registrar-recorder’s office.

California was one of 14 states to hold Super Tuesday elections today, after state leaders moved up the 2020 primary to March from June.

The move was designed to give the nation’s most populous state a bigger role in the presidential process after the 2016 election, when Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were already their parties’ presumptive nominees by the time California residents went to the polls.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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