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Station fire delays ballot counting

Emergency workers get extra time to vote in L.A.-area Assembly race and Bay Area congressional contest.

September 02, 2009|Jean Merl

The Station fire raging in the Angeles National Forest forced a delay in counting ballots in two special elections Tuesday in California, officials said.

Los Angeles County Registrar Dean Logan said he took steps to carry out Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's executive order aimed at ensuring that all eligible firefighters and other emergency workers had the opportunity to vote in Tuesday's special elections in the 51st Assembly District in the Los Angeles area and the 10th Congressional District in the Bay Area.

Logan said his office set up emergency voting sites and made available emergency provisional ballots at the two fire incident command centers in Los Angeles County.

The governor's order also extended voting hours until 10 p.m. at the command centers, so the results were going to be delayed until then, Logan said. Normally, election officials begin releasing results shortly after the polls close at 8 p.m.

Ballots from voters in the Bay Area congressional race will be sent via FedEx to the voters' home counties, Logan said.

In the 51st Assembly District, which includes Gardena, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale and Westchester, five Democrats and one Republican were competing for the seat left vacant when Curren Price Jr. was elected to the state Senate earlier this year.

In the hotly contested 10th Congressional District, which spans several Bay Area counties, 14 candidates -- five Democrats, six Republicans and one candidate each from the American Independent, Green, and Peace and Freedom parties -- were vying for former Democratic Rep. Ellen Tauscher's vacant post. She gave up her congressional seat to become President Obama's top arms control official.

In both elections, if no single candidate emerges with a majority in Tuesday's primary, the top finishers from each party will face a Nov. 3 runoff.

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jean.merl@latimes.com

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