City cuts precincts for March election
ROSEMEAD – Voters casting ballots in the March City Council election will find fewer precincts in the city, officials said Thursday. The number of polling places will be reduced to six, plus an all-mail ballot precinct, as a way to ensure Rosemead complies with a federal court order, City Clerk Nina Castruina said. “By consolidating you cut back on the opportunity for error,” said City Manager Andrew Lazzaretto. Having fewer precincts also helps cut the costs of providing bilingual poll workers and materials in other languages, Castruina said. “Even prior to what happened in Rosemead we took a proactive approach during the elections because this is such as diverse city,” said Truong. Like Rosemead, Monterey Park is required to provide election materials in Chinese, Spanish and Vietnamese. In 2000, there were nearly 60,000 people living in Monterey Park, and 53,000 in Rosemead. Rosemead City Councilman John Nu ez said local elections officials do not want to take any chances March 6. “This will help ensure that the conditions are followed properly,” said Linda Hudson, Rosemead’s election consultant, of the reduced number of precincts. The act requires that election materials be made available in other languages if they are spoken by more than 5 percent of local residents of voting age, and if those voters are not proficient in English. The 2000 census showed that 31 percent of the Rosemead voters are Chinese, 13 percent Vietnamese and 41 percent Latino. Hudson said she does not think having fewer precincts will negatively impact voter results. “We’ve done everything we can to make it easier on voters,” Hudson said. “It will eliminate confusion for them.” Council candidate Polly Low said she has her doubts. “I think in general it will confuse a lot of people,” she said. “There have been people who have for years gone to the same polling place.” She said she hopes the change doesn’t discourage people from voting. Longtime Rosemead resident Kevin Donnelly said the change will not deter him from voting. “We’re not really that inconvenienced,” Donnelly said, “but I have heard that some people are annoyed at the change.” [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2477160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “There are absolutely costs associated with compliance,” she said. In 2005, the U.S. government sued Rosemead, Azusa and Paramount for violating the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965. A judge found the cities had failed to translate municipal election materials into Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese. Since the ruling, federal overseers have been patrolling Rosemead’s precincts to ensure the city follows federal election law. They will continue to so until August. Some cities not under scrutiny are complying with federal regulations without reducing the number of polling places. Monterey Park will have 16 polling locations. The city added a precinct for this election, said Deputy City Clerk Cindy Truong.