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So Many People Showed up to Vote at This Polling Place, These Nearby Street Vendors Sold Out by 10 AM

3:31 PM PST on March 3, 2020

[dropcap size=big]A[/dropcap]t noon, the line to vote at All Saints Episcopal Church on Monte Vista and Ave 56 was a little over 40-people—and minutes—long But the steam table pans that are usually filled with crumbled chorizo, sauteed squash blossoms, stewed albondigas, and other delicious Mexican lunch dishes at Isabel and Tino Parede’s taco and pupusa stand located right in front—were empty. 

“Our food usually lasts us until 2 PM, but today I rant out at 10 AM,” Tino tells me in Spanglish.

Isabel is from Puebla, Mexico, and Tino is from Hidalgo. The couple has been operating this food stand every day from Monday to Saturday from 6 AM to 2 PM for the last 10 months, but today they were not prepared for the rush by the flurry of voters in northeast Los Angeles who showed up in droves to vote today. 

This particular polling place is telling of Highland Park’s demographic shift since it is located in the middle of York Boulevard and Figueroa Street. The majority of the voters lined up at noon looked younger than 40 years old. There were a few faded Bernie t-shirts, a dude with a mullet, parents with convertible strollers, and the crowd was a little less than half Latino. Meanwhile, in the taco and pupusa stand located right next to the church’s entrance, the speaker played the bellowing accordion intro to “No Hay Novedad” by Los Cadetes de Linares. 

While interviewing the Paredes’, voters smiled and greeted them as they passed by to wait in line to vote. Some braced for the 30-minute wait under the sun by buying chilled bottles of water from the stand. 

A señora who had just voted sat down to catch a break from the sun, “it’s my first time here, but I always passed by and wanted to try the food.” She brings up the subject of this year’s new electric polling machines to the stand’s regulars, in Spanish. “I was having problems with the new machines. I was there waiting and waiting.” Another customer orders a taco, but they only have quesadillas left. 

“So many people came out today and all our food ran out so fast, but we’ll be back at 6 AM tomorrow.”

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