Amid farmers markets and drum class, voters cast their ballots before election day

Steady streams of voters came to Long Beach vote centers to cast their ballots, Saturday, at parks, churches and schools across the city.

This is the first year voters can vote before election day and the new system provided a different experience: at Bixby Park, voters could stroll through the farmers market before casting their ballots in the morning. At MacArthur Park, voters could hear the music from a West African Drum and Dance class wafting in from a community room next door in the afternoon.

The new experience wasn’t without its hiccups. According to poll workers, the new machines would stop midway into taking the completed ballots, causing paper jams. Poll workers and voters would have to “spoil” the jammed ballot and recast a new one. But, in the end, everyone who wanted to vote was able to, the poll workers said.

For resident Michael Brubaker, his machine had a paper jam, but he found the touchscreen machines were easy to use, although he had initially been worried about the “More” buttons not making it clear there were additional candidates than could fit on the screen.

Janet Snyder said she kept forgetting to hit the “Next” button, but otherwise, she was able to use the machines easily, adding that having multiple days to vote made it more convenient.

“I still prefer the punch cards,” her son, Patrick Snyder said.

In North Long Beach and throughout the city, many residents didn’t know they needed to surrender their Vote-By-Mail ballots in order to avoid voting with a provisional ballot. Provisional voting means poll workers check that you didn’t vote twice.

Some voters also complained the new voting machines did not provide enough privacy.

Saturday was the first day all vote centers were open and they’ll remain open until Tuesday. Find out where to vote here.

What’s a vote center? Here’s when and where you can vote in Long Beach this election


Support our journalism.

Hyperlocal news is an essential force in our democracy, but it costs money to keep an organization like this one alive, and we can’t rely on advertiser support alone. That’s why we’re asking readers like you to support our independent, fact-based journalism. We know you like it—that’s why you’re here. Help us keep hyperlocal news alive in Long Beach.

Valerie Osier is the Social Media & Newsletter Manager for the Long Beach Post. She started at the Post in 2018 as a breaking news reporter. She’s a Riverside native who found her love for journalism while at community college. She graduated from the Cal State Long Beach journalism program in 2017 and covered the Palos Verdes Peninsula for the Daily Breeze prior to coming to the Post. She lives in Long Beach with her husband and two cats.