In-person voting starts for special election to fill Katie Hill seat in northern LA County

Officials are taking care to keep equipment sanitized as in-person voting begins for the special election to fill Katie Hill's vacant congressional seat in northern LA County.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- In-person voting and physical distancing are two things that don't go hand-in-hand, especially with the long lines at polling places that Los Angeles County had on Super Tuesday.

And images from Wisconsin's primary in April concerned election officials.

In-person voting kicked off Saturday, May 2 for the special election in California's 25th District to fill Katie Hill's seat. The district includes parts of northern LA County including Santa Clarita, Palmdale and Lancaster, as well as parts of Ventura County near Simi Valley.

The election is May 12.

Los Angeles County Registrar Dean Logan said great care will be taken to sanitize voting equipment after each use.

"The roster that people sign in on after each use, that will be wiped down," Logan said. "The stylus that's used will be wiped down. Our employees will be wearing plastic gloves, face coverings. The ballot-marking device itself will be cleaned after each use and the whole environment will be cleaned on an hourly basis."

Democrat Christy Smith is up against Republican Mike Garcia. Every registered voter has received a ballot in the mail. LA County officials say that so far based on returns mailed in, turnout is healthy.

"I'm more concerned about any effect that a reduction in voting locations could have in November," Logan said. "We don't want to have a repeat of some of what we experienced in March."

Logan says voters shouldn't be worried about voter fraud when voting by mail.

"Signature verification provides that layer of assurance that if somebody was trying to intercept a ballot or trying to mess with someone else's ballot, we're going to catch that on the incoming side because the signature isn't going to match and we're going to contact the voter. That's actually a higher level of verification than what takes place for in-person voting," said Logan.

Christy Smith's campaign praised the decision to mail ballots to everyone in the interest of public health.

Mike Garcia's campaign echoed that sentiment, encouraging physical distancing at polling locations.

The consensus is that mailing in your ballot from home is the safest way to vote right now, but if you're not registered or have language or accessibility issues, you also have six locations to vote at in-person on May 12. For the latest information on the 25th Congressional District special election, you can visit the county election site here.
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