Voting in LA Was Fun

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

It’s hard to understand the voter suppression in so many swing states, and all those long lines. Don’t they know that voting is supposed to be fast and fun?

It sure was fun in California this time. I got a mail ballot like everyone else, but decided to vote in person because there were so many fun options.

In fact, LA County turned all sorts of stadiums and theaters that have been closed during the pandemic into vote centers. And since I could vote anywhere in the county, I had a choice. The Pantages? The Hollywood Bowl? Banc of California Stadium? Staples Center?

I decided I want to get a close look at the Sofi, the new $5 billion football stadium of the Rams and Chargers, which opened this season, but hasn’t been able to admit fans. I took two of my boys along to see the place, but unfortunately, they weren’t allowing anyone to vote in it. You could vote, but in a dirt parking lot.
What fun is that? Especially when there are better options.

So the boys decided to go to another vote center—Dodger Stadium, home of the 2020 World Series champions. It gave us a chance to drive through South LA on a beautiful day, and check in on some voting sites along the way.

Once we got to Chavez Ravine, everything was easy. You drove right in, and you didn’t have to pay to park. Voting machines were set up at the “Top of the Park”—the upper level seating high above home plate next to the gift shop. There must have been 50 machines there, and only 10 were occupied. No wait. I went right in, let the boys push the electronic buttons to vote, and then we took selfies with the field in the background. A food truck was handing out sandwiches as we left.

It was my first time inside Dodger Stadium since 2019. And the most fun I’ve had voting, or just going out, in a very long time.

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