Long Beach City Council and audience members heard proposals for a new voting system that will be implemented in 2020 at Tuesday night’s meeting.
Dean C. Logan, Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk for Los Angeles County, gave a presentation explaining the county’s rollout of a new voting system. The new machine, which resembles an oversized tablet, is fully electronic and will replace the punch card sheets that voters previously used.
“Disabled voters will no longer be relegated to a single booth in the back of the room which poll operators tend to be unfamiliar with,” Logan said. “[The new machine] has audio capability, a tactile keypad, [and] an adjustable touch screen.”
The county will also be rolling out a new paperless sample ballot which can directly interact with the new voting machine.
“The sample ballot [will be available as] an electronic app and you can preselect your choices on your sample ballot, scan your app and it will populate the actual ballot,” Logan said.
In addition to the new voting machine, Logan unveiled a plan to move the county from traditional voting locations to new voting centers.
“Gone will be the single day, single location on a random Tuesday [method of voting],” Logan said. “These vote centers are the most significant change. We will open these 11 days before the election to give voters an opportunity to vote where it is convenient for them.”
The voting centers will be open for almost two weeks before an election, and they will have increased staff starting four days before the election. Rather than local community polling locations, these voting centers are designed to increase accessibility for Los Angeles County residents, according to Logan.
Amy Erikson, a member of Long Beach Suffrage 100, introduced her colleague Louis Robles Jr. to talk about a strong woman in his life during public comment.
“Tonight’s amendment [sic] is really set up to get everyone to vote,” Erikson said. “We wanted to be here tonight to honor some Tongva elders and be sure we are thinking of these people.”
Robles Jr., a member of the indigenous Gabrieleno-Tongva tribe, spoke about his mother Lillian Robles. Robles told the story of how his mother raised her siblings on her own and convinced a bank manager to give her a loan which she used to start a flower shop.
“But I can hear her up in the stars. ‘I’m just a single person,’” Robles said. “I want to honor all the mothers and grandmothers tonight.”
Erikson and Robles linked the early and lasting women’s suffrage movement to the new expansion of voting proposed by the county.
“You and your team do a fantastic job to make sure we have safe and fair elections,” said Mayor Robert Garcia, referring to Logan.
The proposal was passed unanimously. One of the new voting machines will be at Long Beach City Hall.
“This is not just to be up with technology, it’s to make sure we strengthen democracy in our city,” said councilmember Jeannine Pearce.
The next city council meeting will be held Oct. 22 at 5 p.m. at Long Beach City Hall.