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LA voters experience Election Day jitters

LOS ANGELES (Xinhua) -- Like other parts of the United States, Los Angels County, the most populous county in the country, on Tuesday saw voters marching to the polls in what had evolved to be one of the most divisive and contentious elections in recent memory.
It has been reported that there were alleged voter suppression in parts of the country, along with fraud, voter intimidation as well as concerns about potential violence.

Voters fill out their ballots at a polling station in Los Angeles, California, the United States, on Nov. 3, 2020.     –Photo Xinhua

“It’s a mess out there,” California resident, Chuck Hamil, told Xinhua. “I’ve never seen it this bad and I don’t want things to get ugly.”
At the polls themselves, the split between Biden-Harris supporters and Trump supporters is so wide as to prompt non-partisan, citizen action groups like Election Defense to visit polling places to make sure people stay calm.
Local artists, like Kelly Perrie, also joined this effort. She drew a colorful chalk mural on the sidewalk in front of the polling center in Sunland, a community 10 km north of downtown Los Angeles, that read, “Your Voice Matters. Thank you for using it today.”
“It was important for me as an artist to take some direct action that I thought could acknowledge people for voting and help keep things calm,” Perrie told Xinhua.
A Los Angeles County employee and poll worker told Xinhua, “CA planned well for the election. We pushed hard to open more voting centers and sent out mail-in ballots, so we could avoid long lines at the polls on election day.”
He also added that the problems with the election voting machines that had cropped up during the primary election had been fixed. “The technology is working perfectly today.”
Voters at the polling stations in south California were reluctant to reveal their full names to Xinhua given the tensions surrounding the election.
On the Republican side, a man self-called “Marty” told Xinhua that he’s voting for Trump because he liked what he has done with the country. “I like everything about him. He gets right up in everybody’s face.”
Another man named “Doreen” said it was Trump all the way too, “Because he believes in God. I’m a Christian, that’s all I care about.”
“Alex,” a nurse from the city of Glendale, explained that as a nurse he retained his job, but many of his friends were out of work and that was going to influence how he voted this year.
“You can’t keep the economy in lockdown. We have to reopen completely,” he told Xinhua. “I’m an independent and voted Democratic last time, but I think Governor Newsom is too strict on Covid and the economy, so I’m voting Republican this year.”
He said that’s why he’s voting for Trump despite the president’s COVID-19 response. When asked what he thought about all the people who have already died from the fatal disease or others who would die in the future if Trump remains in office, he shrugged, “that’s just gonna happen.”
On the Democratic side, “Dr. Sam,” a local college professor, disagreed, calling Trump’s presidency “a total disaster from start to finish.”
“We’ve got over 9 million Covid cases and almost 250,00 deaths nationwide -- the worse record of any country in the world; we’ve got lies and fake news instead of honest, accurate information and balanced leadership; we’ve got a poorly-conceived trade war with China that is crippling the U.S. and global economies with no end in sight,” he told Xinhua.
He also lamented that the rest of the world used to look up to the United States as “the shining light of democracy, fairness and humanitarianism in the world,” which was now reduced to “a nation ruled by hate and prejudice that has kicked democracy and the Rule of Law out the window.”
Bethany, a younger voter, said she’s for Biden-Harris, “Because they care about us and not just lining their pockets...They’ll help get COVID under control to protect us and will start doing something about global warming.”
Her friend, Carly, from the city of Burbank, agreed, “Harris is going to be our first female vice president. It’s about time! If there were more smart, sensible women in office, there wouldn’t be all this hate speech and destructive posturing and fighting.”
Robert, also from Burbank, was particularly concerned about possible violence after the election, or even a more divisive American society as a result.
“Michael T.” was more optimistic. “If Biden and Harris win, I think we have a chance to heal the country and get us back on track domestically and in the world. Making America ‘great’ again starts with making America ‘good’ again.”

(Latest Update November 5, 2020)

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