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Voters flock to the polls

Robert Chacon

In his 15 years as a poll worker, Alfred Juarez has never seen so

many voters.

When Juarez arrived at McCambridge Park at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday,

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people were already standing in line to cast ballots in the special

recall election. When he opened the doors 30 minutes later, a line

snaked nearly all the way to the street.

“We have more voters today than we do in presidential elections,”

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Juarez said.

The same was true at Burbank City Hall, where an estimated 150

people voted between 7 and 9:30 a.m.

“This is the busiest I’ve ever seen it,” said Loren Troescher, a

former polling inspector who has worked elections for the past

decade. “There was a line at 7 a.m.”

Voters flocked to polling locations throughout the area Tuesday,

and many cast ballots for the first time to help decide the fate of

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embattled Gov. Gray Davis.

David Yonan was among those who voted for actor Arnold

Schwarzenegger to replace Davis as governor.

“I like a lot of things about him that I don’t see in Gray Davis,”

Yonan said on the steps of City Hall. “He wants to change the

governorship, which stinks.”

Poll workers cited the importance of Tuesday’s recall election,

while others said it was the consolidation of precincts that caused

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the long lines and steady stream of voters.

As of 10:50 p.m. Tuesday, various media outlets had Schwarzenegger

headed to the governor’s mansion, and Davis told the crowd at his

election-night party that he called Schwarzenegger and conceded the

election to the governor-elect.

With 46.7% of precincts reporting, 55% of California voters were

in favor of recalling Davis, and Schwarzenegger had received

1,686,352 votes, or 48.8% of the votes cast to select Davis’

replacement.

Cruz Bustamante, the Democratic lieutenant governor, was second

with 1,093,211 votes, or 31.7% of the votes cast.

A poll conducted by the Field Research Corp. in San Francisco and

released Tuesday morning predicted that 65% of registered voters --

about 10 million Californians -- would vote in the recall election.

That’s a 30% increase over the 7.7 million who voted in November,

when Davis was reelected, and the most ever in a gubernatorial

election.

But Los Angeles County scaled back its number of precincts from

5,400 to 1,800 locations for this election, causing some precincts to

burst at the seams with voters, said Robert Woodburn, a poll worker

at La Canada Flintridge City Hall.

Many voters were supporting the recall and voting for Republican

actor-turned-politician Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“He has come far in his life, and he has gotten things done,”

Burbank resident Suzanne La Rush said. “I just feel that he’ll get

things done.”

Some voters felt that Davis should be given a chance to finish his

term as governor.

"[Davis] has let us know where he stands, not the other

candidates,” said Jose Cuevas, who voted against the recall.

One trend poll workers reported was the unusually high number of

provisional ballots that were cast. Normally used by voters who moved

and did not re-register in their new precincts, the County

Registrar’s Office allowed any voter to use the special ballot to

cast a vote because of precinct consolidation.

By noon in Burbank, about 60 to 70 people had voted with a

provisional ballot, Juarez said.


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