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Problems at polling stations reported across L.A. County

Problems reported at multiple polling stations, forcing some L.A. County voters to wait hours

Voting in some areas of Los Angeles County got off to a rocky start Tuesday, with voters at several polling stations either turned away or forced to wait hours for ballot stations to be set up.

In Sherman Oaks, more than two dozen voters were turned away at a polling station in the 13300 block of Valley Vista Boulevard that remained closed as of 10 a.m. At Fire Station 99 in Malibu, residents took to social media to voice their frustrations at having to wait more than four hours for poll workers to set up the voter rolls.

At the Eastmont Community Center in East L.A., the only available voting machine went down at around 10:30 a.m., meaning poll workers had to manually insert ballots. 

But with voter turnout so low -- just 30 had trickled in by 12:30 p.m. -- precinct inspector Elizabeth Mendez said poll workers had been able to manage.

"We haven't turned anyone away," said Mendez, who has overseen the voting site since the 1960s. 

Elizabeth Knox, a spokeswoman for the county Registrar-Recorder/Clerk's office, acknowledged that there were issues at a "handful" of polling stations, including in Sherman Oaks and Venice, but said emergency workers had been deployed to address the situations.

"It is messy, unfortunately," Knox said. "It doesn't feel right to the voters because everybody expects something to be up."

Last week, the registrar's office announced it was in urgent need of 1,000 poll workers to staff polling places throughout Los Angeles County.

Sherman Oaks was deemed as one of the polling areas in particular need of workers. Other areas in need of workers included Beverly Hills, El Segundo, Glendora, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Studio City, Valencia and all beach cities.

Knox could not immediately say if the polling issues were related to a lack of workers. She added: "They are poll workers; sometimes they don't show up."

Shannan Velayas, a spokeswoman for the California Secretary of State's office, said any complaints received from voters in Sherman Oaks or other problems areas would have been referred to county officials.

Still, she added: "This should never happen."

Times staff writers Beth Shuster and Abby Sewell contributed to this report.

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