Community Meeting Will Ask Pasadenans Where They Want New Voting Center to Be Located

Published : Monday, January 7, 2019 | 6:01 AM

By 2020, the way Pasadenans vote is going to look very different from the way they do now.

By then, the California Voters Choice Act will have been fully phased-in. Passed by the California legislature in 2016, its authors hoped to update voting processes with updated technology and increase the ease by which a ballot is cast.

This brave new world will include voting centers at which any citizen of Los Angeles County can, regardless of their residential address. There will be “electronic call books” on hand through which a voters profile can be retrieved and a ballot specific to where they live printed out.

The City of Pasadena, California Common Cause, and the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk are co-hosting a meeting Jan. 10 at the Jackie Robinson Community Center to see where residents think such a voting center might be located locally.

Though not the first county to opt-in to the “open center” system, the Los Angeles County roll out will be the largest when it comes online in 2020.

“So that’s a big change,” said Common Cause California spokeswoman Kati Phillip. “Right now you are supposed to vote at one particular polling place, but those polling places are no longer going to be a place where people are going to vote.”

Along with the move to voter centers, there will be an 11-day window during which ballots can be cast, leading up to election day, as well as same-registration, according to Phillips. This will, she said, encourage voting because there will be “more ways and more days” in which to do so.

At the January 10 meeting, which runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. residents will be able to give the thumbs up or thumbs down to Pasadena-area locations that have been proposed. They will also be able to suggest other locales.

The meetings generate worthwhile insight, according to Phillips.

When a Starbucks was proposed as a potential voting center, it was pointed out by participants that there might be a feeling of needing to buy something if one entered to vote and that parking would be a problem. Similar sentiments arose over the proposal of shopping centers malls that charge for parking as places for voting.

There will also be a 30-minute presentation on the vote center model, how it came about and its potential benefits.

The list for Pasadena, which runs to approximately 20 sites, includes such emblematic locations as the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena City Hall, Pasadena Public Library, Lamanda Park Branch Library, Santa Catalina Branch Library to name just a few.