Election Day in Malibu

Poll workers in Malibu were impressed with the number of voters who turned out for the Nov. 3 election, despite some discontent over last-minute changes to polling locations.

Tuesday’s election featured just one ballot initiative, Measure W, giving voters the chance to approve or deny a specific plan to build a 38,425 sq. ft. development on the 5.88-acre parcel at the corner of Civic Center Way and Cross Creek Road.

Volunteers at polling locations and residents were excited to see lines of people waiting to cast their ballots.

“It’s been amazing,” Poll Inspector Andy Brand said. “I can’t believe it’s been this busy. I thought we were going to get maybe 10 an hour, and no. We’ve had 150 to 200 people so far.” 

Voters dropped in and out of the Malibu High School Library polling location, thanking community members who spent the day helping at the polls.

“It hasn’t been a complete steady line, sometimes we’ve had five in line which I didn’t think … I thought they would be apathetic and they’re not. They’re exuberant. They want to vote,” Brand said. 

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Similar voting conditions were reported around town, with residents having to wait in line to vote at Point Dume Marine Science School.

“I’m thrilled to see such a turnout that suggests we’ll break the average voter turnout in Malibu,” Point Dume resident Mari Stanley said. “I hope we set a new record for voter turnout that signals a trend for upcoming elections in our community.”

The City of Malibu initially planned to operate four polling locations throughout the city (Duke’s Restaurant, Malibu High School, Malibu United Methodist Church and Point Dume Marine Science School) but added a fifth location at City Hall on Oct. 26 before the vote to limit voter confusion when finding their voting location. 

“The county did send out a subsequent postcard … hopefully the residents got it,” City Clerk Lisa Pope said. “We never like to change polling locations on people at the very beginning or at the last minute.”

One local resident, Matthew Gibbons, who has been voting in Malibu since 1988, said he did not receive a postcard and was unaware of the change of his polling place from Duke’s to City Hall.

“It was a complete surprise,” Gibbons, who showed up at Duke’s at 8:30 a.m. and was directed to City Hall, said. He went to the second location to vote, but was worried that others may have been discouraged to vote.

“Are all voices going to be heard, or are people going to be annoyed?” Gibbons wondered.

Volunteers were available to help residents willing to cast provisional ballots at any of the five polling stations. 

“People can vote provisionally if they show up to vote at Duke’s and they’re supposed to be at City Hall, but I know people don’t like to vote provisionally sometimes,” Pope said. “Every vote is counted.”

Sarah Shmerling contributed to this report.

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