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BEACHCOMBER - Voting Begins

  • By David Barron

Election Day is still nearly a month away but some people in California and the West San Gabriel Valley are already casting their vote for the next president of the United States.

These are people the candidates call “the big unknown,” although they really are very well known. They are the “Permanent Absentee Voters.”  They are known because they are on lists that are available to political committees. The lists include your name, your address, your political party and maybe even your phone number.


In each of the local cities there are several thousand permanent absentee voters (PAVs) who can vote early in advance of the Nov. 4 election day. A few of them, the “undecided” will probably wait until close to election day to drop their ballot in the mail. Some will actually leave their absentee ballot at a polling police.

Some, voters will put their ballot in the mail on election day. Unfortunately, ballots that arrive at the election office after election day will not be counted. This week, the County Registrar-Recorder mailed out 591,249 ballots to permanent absentee voters.

As of this month, there were more than 4 million registered voters in the
county. The number of permanent absentee voters seems kind of low, but it will swell a lot more by election day.

Also coming to all voters via mail is their voter information booklet, also known as the Sample Ballot Booklet. People have been calling into city hall for their booklets and have been referred to the county registrar of voters. Without the voter booklet, voters may be voting “blind” so to speak.

Voters should also get an information booklet from the Secretary of State. The state booklet describes all of the statewide voter propositions. Keep in mind that if you have moved, the voter information booklets are not forwarded.

You can probably go to the library and get one. The easiest thing to do is to go on line at and find your ballot on the computer. For those of you that have time, or work for the County of L.A. consider working at a polling place. That way you can tell your grandchildren that you “worked” in a historic election.

You can get information about working at a polling place as a clerk or an inspector. For more information go to the Registrar-Recorder’s website at One thing that is missing this election year is “touch screen voting” or electronic voting.

For a period of several years, you could cast your ballots electronically in the language of your choice. All of the electronic voting systems have essentially been outlawed in California. By the way, election information is available in seven languages.

If you are caught away from home on Election Day and you can’t get home before 8 p.m., go to any polling place and vote “provisionally” for your presidential choice.

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