Long Lines and a Surge for Sanders

Long Lines and a Surge for Sanders

Credit…Josh Haner/The New York Times

Good morning.

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Well, Super Tuesday definitely had some super long waits.

We always knew we wouldn’t have final results by this morning, because, as elections officials have emphasized repeatedly, they’d rather ensure that every vote is counted, and counted correctly, than satisfy the appetite for instant gratification.

Nevertheless, The Associated Press called the primary for Senator Bernie Sanders almost immediately after the polls officially closed — even as hundreds of people continued to wait to vote.

And although state and local officials have been warning for weeks that lines could be long on Election Day, it seemed as if hourslong waits came as a surprise in Los Angeles.

The day started calmly enough. At about 10:30 a.m., I arrived at a voting center in MacArthur Park, where the line was only about a dozen deep.

I waltzed in, slid my own vote-by-mail ballot into a locked black box, then headed back outside onto the shadeless sidewalk to talk to a handful of voters, including Shirbey Greene, 80, and her daughter-in-law, Lydia Johnson, 49.

“Huge turnout,” Ms. Johnson said, surveying the line. “Really great to see.”

Soon, though, there were reports of the county’s new voting machines malfunctioning, of the new tablets that check in voters causing bottlenecks, and of voters standing in the sun, crowding into gyms and eating donated pizza as the sun set. All this began frustrating voters, campaign staff members and advocates.

[Read the full story about long lines to vote in Los Angeles.]

Early on Tuesday afternoon, Mike Sanchez, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder’s office, which runs the county’s elections, told me that waits of two hours at the University of California, Los Angeles, were probably attributable to larger numbers of student voters registering on-site — a new option for the state’s voters.

But at sites across the county, voters reported similarly long lines. At a vote center in Carthay Circle, a line snaked from an elementary school hallway and around the edge of a tiny parking lot.

There was also confusion about whether there should be a separate line for those who had filled out their choices ahead of time on electronic sample ballots, which generated something called a poll pass.

Hours after the polls officially closed at 8 p.m., hundreds were still waiting; anyone who was in line at 8 p.m. was supposed to be able to cast a ballot, according to state officials.

Other places in the state were also reporting long wait times, but not in San Francisco, where Democratic leaders urged unity.

As of late Tuesday night, more than 4.3 million vote-by-mail ballots had been returned from across the state, but that number was likely to rise by a lot as more ballots arrive in coming days.

In the meantime:

[Also, if you experienced problems or long waits to vote anywhere in the state, tell us about what happened at CAtoday@nytimes.com.]

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California Today goes live at 6:30 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com. Were you forwarded this email? Sign up for California Today here.

Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, graduated from U.C. Berkeley and has reported all over the state, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles — but she always wants to see more. Follow along here or on Twitter, @jillcowan.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.

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