At the polls in Tuesday’s midterm elections, Valerie Lopez was disappointed to find out that her name was not on the list of voters. It wasn’t the first time. Her name was missing during the 2016 presidential election, too.
A week before the Oct. 22 deadline, Lopez, a USC senior, went with her boyfriend to change polling places and her voting address. She confirmed her registration before Election Day.
But on Tuesday her boyfriend found his name, and she didn't, again.
“He’s white and I’m Hispanic,” Lopez said, noting she has an “obviously” Hispanic name.
Lopez is concerned that race played a part in her voting problem, and she is considering filing a formal complaint.
“After the second time this happened, it was really hard for me to think that this was a coincidence,” Lopez said.
Lopez was not the only one that struggled with the voting process in California. Nonpartisan watchdog group California Common Cause said it had received approximately 2,000 phone calls from voters in this election, asking about various issues such as why they were being turned away after waiting for two hours or why they were asked to present identification.
Alec Vandenberg, the co-director of the Vote SC initiative and USC junior student, said, “voters are generally recommended to change their mailing address or just figure out their plan to vote as early as possible.”
According to the Associated Press, California has more than 19.6 million registered voters. People who missed the registration deadline spent hours waiting in long lines to vote in the election throughout Los Angeles County.
Orange County Registrar Neal Kelley said to U.S. News that 90 percent of people who waited in the long lines were new registrations.
Broken voting machines and missing ballots have been longtime issues for elections here and elsewhere. For this midterm election, several voters in California tweeted out that some voting machines didn’t work.
Jerry Biviano, a songwriter in Los Angeles, tweeted about a broken machine on Election Day.
Young voters in California may be concerned about one more thing: Is it legal to post the secret selfies they took at the polling place?
Last Sunday, singer Justin Timberlake tweeted a photo of himself with his voting envelope and captioned it in part ‘No voting booth selfies.’ This idea may disappoint lots of his young followers.
However, California just amended its laws, announcing that voters have the right to disclose how they voted if “that voluntary act does not violate any other law.”
“As long as it follows the legality of it, I think that’s good,” Vandenberg said. “There’s like a good kind of peer pressure that gets everyone involved in the process.”