LOS ANGELES – The city of Beverly Hills is suing Los Angeles County over concerns that a facet of the new touchscreen electronic voting system could cause voters to overlook some of the candidates.
In the petition filed Wednesday, Jan. 22, in Los Angeles Superior Court, the city states that as voters prepare to cast their ballots in person at the new voting centers countywide, only four candidates will appear on the first screen of the ballot marking device. If the correct button is not pushed after that, other candidates could be overlooked, the petition states.
A representative for Los Angeles County did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
“On March 3, approximately 3 million residents of Los Angeles County are expected to vote in the statewide consolidated presidential primary election,” the petition states. “The majority of these voters will, for the first time, be casting their ballots at regional vote centers.”
The city of Beverly Hills is one of 28 cities [including Palmdale] in the county that have consolidated their municipal elections with the statewide primary election, the petition states.
“In that municipal contest, five candidates are running in a single election for two seats on the Beverly Hills City Council,” the petition states.
According to the petition, in order to view additional candidates beyond the first four with the new system, the voter must select the “more” button. But if the person instead presses the “next” button, they will not see the other candidates in that particular race, according to the petition.
“We are deeply troubled that voters will be disenfranchised by the new … system,” said Beverly Hills City Attorney Laurence S. Wiener. “All candidates should be presented in an equitable and transparent way to the voters. As the system is currently designed, a voter may not realize they are bypassing additional candidates. We believe this issue can be easily resolved.”
The city is asking a judge to order the county to “gray out” the “next” button until the voter has moved to the last page of that individual race and viewed all candidates. Alternatively, the city is asking that instructions be included on the first screen indicating there may be more candidates than the first four listed and to select “more” to view all choices.