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Officials were expecting a high voter turnout in Los Angeles County on Election Day. Toni Guinyard reports for the NBC4 News at Noon on Nov. 6, 2012.
Few problems were reported at Los Angeles-area polling places as just over 37 percent of LA County registered voters turned out to cast their ballots by 2 p.m. on Election Day, according to election officials.
The percentage is based on a sampling of pre-selected precincts throughout L.A. County. That's down from four years ago. In 2008, voter turnout was nearly 49 percent as of 2 p.m. The figure is up from two years ago for the gubernatorial election. In Orange County, meanwhile, officials said voter turnout was at nearly 16 percent by 1 p.m.
That figure was 27 percent in 2008.
Many areas saw long lines before polls opened in California at 7 a.m.
“I figured, let’s go before work, even if I’m five minutes late -- knock this out, get it done, make my voice heard,” said Veronica Flores, who cast her ballot at a Cypress Park recreation center.
Flores was among those people voting in person.
A record 1.5 million registered voters cast their ballot by mail this year in LA County, said Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan.
As the mail in ballots come in over the coming days, it could be days or weeks before final vote tallies are counted for some close contests or measures that are hanging in balance as the ballots come in by mail, Logan said.
Maribel Sarabia said she takes pride in going to her poll as opposed to voting by mail.
"In other countries, you don't have this right," she said during a trip to vote in Cypress Park. "You don't have this privilege to make your voice be heard. It's just so valuable and meaningful to me."
It was important for Connie Rivas to vote in person. She arrived with her daughter in tow.
"As parents we just stop and think about what are the lessons we want to leave them with because that it will be engraved in her mind forever," Rivas said.
Her 9-year-old daughter Chloe took it all in.
"I'm just excited to see other people vote (for) whoever they want," she said.
The voting in L.A. came as federal monnitors were keeping a close watch on the polls in Riverside County.
The oversight from the U.S. Department of Justice comes after the agency's civil rights department filed a complaint, alleging that the county wasn't offering assistance to Spanish-speaking voters.
After signing an agreement in 2010, the county says they've complied with the agency's recommendations.
The agency wouldn't say what polling stations the monitors would be at, but they will be watching out for any signs of fraud, intimidation and discrimination.