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Recall chaos ends Tuesday

Ryan Carter

With fewer polling places and a much- ballyhooed recall process,

officials are expecting longer lines and some confusion among voters

in Tuesday’s historic special election.

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“There will be widespread confusion as to where to go,” said Chris

Carson, president of the Glendale/Burbank chapter of the League of

Women Voters. “This is unprec- edented, and it happened so fast.

Usually, there are six to seven months to prepare for an election.

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This time it was [four to] six weeks.”

If the number of votes already collected from mail-in ballots is

any indication, the election will draw crowds. As of Wednesday, the

Secretary of State’s office reported more than 1 million absentee

ballots had been returned.

Much of the preparation for Tuesday has centered on the reduced

number of polling places. In the last statewide election, the county

had 5,000 polling places. In this one, it will have 1,800.

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The 24 Burbank polling places are about a third of what usually is

set up for an election, City Clerk Margarita Campos said. The

compressed time frame has prompted a high volume of phone calls to

Campos’ office.

“There are so many questions out there,” Campos said. “We don’t

normally have this kind of volume at election time.”

They are minor questions, but they have come in droves. Because

some polling places have changed from their normal addresses, people

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have questions about where to go and why places have changed, Campos

said.

Campos is working with the county registrar’s office to get help

on Tuesday. She personally will visit various polling places to help

out where needed, she said.

Those helping to run election day in Burbank said they are braced

for the historic process, which marks the first attempted recall of a

governor in the state’s history. On the ballot, residents will vote

yes or no on the recall of Gov. Gray Davis. Either way, they can also

choose a candidate to succeed Davis if he is recalled.

The ballot also will include two other measures: Proposi- tion 53,

which would set aside up to 3% of the state’s general fund annually

for infra- structure improvements; and Proposition 54, which would

restrict the state from collecting and using most types of racial and

ethnic data.

Because of the reduced number of polling places, the registrar’s

office has asked traditional polling places not open this year to

post that they are not ballot locations this election.

But even with a compressed time frame, officials have done what

they can to reduce the potential for confusion in the recall

election, which will cost the state and counties an estimated $60

million.

Registrar’s office officials have set up voter information numbers

and a Web site to help find polling places. Voters should call (800)

815-2666 or (562) 466-1323 or go to www.lavote.net. The League of

Women Voters Glendale/ Burbank also has a phone bank at 247-2407.

To save time at the polls, voters should read their sample ballot,

and note their polling place location on the back and its hours of

operation. Voters should also have an idea of where their chosen

recall candidate is on the list of 135 candidates on the ballot so

they do not have to search for the name while in the voting booth,

officials said.


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