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Local ‘demo center’ offers chance to test out new voting technology

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Mary Mullen, of Glendale, uses a touch screen to place her vote during a mock-election event in November that showcased new voting technology rolling out across L.A. County this year. A demo center opened at the Glendale police station this month, giving potential voters additional opportunities to try out the new computer-aided system.
(James Carbone / Glendale News-Press)

An L.A. County-helmed initiative has brought ongoing demonstration opportunities of new voting technology to Glendale ahead of upcoming local and state elections.

Until Jan. 25, visitors to the community room at Glendale Police Headquarters, located at 131 N. Isabel St., can try out the new voting system, where computers aid in the ballot-marking process.

It’s one of 10 demo centers launched across the county on a rotational basis, according to Ardy Kassakhian, Glendale’s City Clerk.

In development for several years, the voting system will roll out across the county for the state primary on March 3.

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Glendale’s local elections, including a race for three City Council seats, will be consolidated with the primary — another first for the city. Glendale’s municipal elections were previously held in April of odd-numbered years.

During the demo center’s operating hours, one or two county staff members will be on-hand to help with the demos and answer questions, according to Eliza Papazian, Glendale’s city spokeswoman.

“It’s a great opportunity to interact with the machine that you’ll be using to vote and eliminate confusion,” Papazian said.

Instead of hand-marked ballots, voters will be able to use a computer touch-screen to mark their ballots. Once a voter has finished making and reviewing selections, a paper ballot will print. The voter can review the paper ballot and submit it through a machine.

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During the past five days, the demo center has averaged about eight visitors a day, Papazian said.

In late November, a mock-election event was held at Glendale’s Downtown Central Library to similarly familiarize voters with the new technology and other voting changes coming to the county.

Other changes include an extended voting period, new voting centers and a revised vote-by-mail ballot.

The demo center is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.

For more information, visit lavote.net/democenters.

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