April 19, 2019

Voters Make Their Voices Heard Early at the Polls

There was already a line of people waiting to vote in the midterm elections at the Burbank Youth Center at 6:45 a.m. on Nov. 6. Many held cups of coffee. Some were still in their pajamas. 

After casting his ballot, Michael told the Journal, “When results come in, [remember] there’s a difference between hatred and anger. There’s a difference between hatred and not getting your way.”

Just down the road in North Hollywood, more voters were lining up at Magnolia Boulevard and Pass Avenue to cast their ballots at 8:30 a.m. The line formed in both directions as the volunteers kept things organized. 

Andrea said, “I’m voting today because I’m tired with how lawmakers have been handling things. I’m hoping today our voice matters. It only took me 30 years to value local elections. They are so paramount.”

Andrew told the Journal, “I dropped off my mail-in ballot [this morning.] I’m voting today so we can take back the House and prevent America from becoming an authoritarian dictatorship.”

At the Burbank and North Hollywood polling stations, volunteers said it was the largest turnout they ’d seen for midterm elections.

At 9:30 a.m., voters at the Sherman Oaks United Methodist Church managed to enter and exit the two rooms filled with voting stations in under 10 minutes. A mix of young and older Democrats crossed the busy intersection to cast their votes while cheering, “Go, blue” and “Blue wave, baby!” 

“I’m voting to express my rights as a citizen and because it’s the right thing to do.”
— Dan, Sherman Oaks

Sue said, “I voted today because it’s an amazing thing to share your voice on an important day and to show Trump he can’t get away with everything.”

Dan said, “I’m voting to express my rights as a citizen and because it’s the right thing to do.”

Over on the Westside at around 9:30 a.m. at Pico-Robertson congregation B’nai David-Judea, a small line already had formed outside the entrance to the synagogue. A security guard asked people where they were from before allowing them inside the building. An empty Los Angeles Police Department patrol car was parked at the curb.

Inside, voters lined up at tables manned by volunteers, including a woman named Helenjane. She told the Journal that she volunteered during the elections for the first time three years ago after retiring from her work in luxury retail.

“I think we all volunteer for the same basic reasons,” she said. “It’s important. We want to be helpful. It’s one way to do your civic responsibility.”

Carrying his “I Voted” sticker, Democrat Stan Bookatz, 76, an optician, said the issues that were important to him in the election were “Health care, immigration, the normal headlines. I’m not a maven on politics, per se, but every vote counts.”

David Leiner said he was happy with how things have been going, citing the economy, less government regulation and fewer taxes. 

“I’m actually an independent,” the 46-year-old Orthodox Jew said. “I vote according to who is the best candidate.”

Leiner supported Donald Trump in the 2016 election and said Trump has proven to be the most pro-Israel president in his lifetime. He added that while he admits the president’s rhetoric on anti-Semitism has been divisive, he likes Trump’s policies.

“I don’t look at the president for morality choices,” he said. “I look at God for morality choices.” 

Alexandra from Sherman Oaks perhaps best summed up the ethos of Election Day when she said, “Vote with your heart. That’s what I told my 4-year-old today. It’s a tough thing to explain to a child but it’s honest.”

Ryan Torok is a staff writer, and Erin Ben-Moche is a digital content manager.