As professor of political and computational social science, Caltech's Michael Alvarez leads research on voting technology and election integrity, issues at the forefront of this week's Super Tuesday contests in which 14 states and one U.S. territory will hold elections.
This year, California's primary will be held on Super Tuesday, just one of many changes in an already dynamic 2020 presidential election cycle. Voters in Los Angeles and Orange counties, two of the state's most populous, will also see new voting machines as well as new voting processes.
Alongside colleagues and students in Caltech's Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Alvarez will be studying how these changes affect the voting experience and election integrity.
"We're working very closely with Orange County and Los Angeles County to collect as much data as we possibly can, to analyze that data in as near real-time as we possibly can, and to produce reports and feedback that can help the public understand the integrity of the electoral process in two of the largest counties in the country," says Alvarez, who also serves as co-director of the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project.
Here, Alvarez explains what Los Angeles-area voters should expect as they cast their ballots. His top tips for voters everywhere: be patient, expect crowds, and double check your ballot before submitting it.
One thing voters should not expect: quick election results. According to Alvarez, official returns may not be reported until a day or two after polls close. As for how California's 415 presidential delegates will be awarded, a final tally may take weeks.