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Hawthorne used car dealer turns polling place workers, voters away (CA)
Daily Breeze. November 3, 2009. By Sandy Mazza Staff Writer
Original: http://www.dailybreeze.com/news/ci_13707170

A Hawthorne used car dealership that registered as a polling place for Tuesday's election turned voters away, forcing some to fill out their ballots on the sidewalk.

Several Los Angeles County poll workers were told to leave Finance Auto Sales when they arrived to set up voting machines at 6 a.m.

"When we got there, the security guard called his boss and he refused to let us in," said Pierre Saunders, a volunteer poll worker.

Saunders said Finance Auto Sales workers also called police to try to get the volunteers to leave after they set up voting booths on the sidewalk in front of the dealership at 11604 Prairie Ave. Police allowed the workers to stay on the sidewalk for several hours until a nearby business agreed to let them set up inside. Hi Tech Auto Collision and Glass Centers allowed voters to use their office until polls closed.

Moses Awaad, the owner of Finance Auto Sales, registered to serve as a polling place in July, according to Marcia Ventura, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Clerk's Office.

The clerk's office also called Awaad last month to confirm that his dealership would be a polling place, Ventura said.

Awaad could not be reached for comment Tuesday night, and a security guard at the dealership said he did not know anything about the situation.

Awaad is a strong supporter of Mayor Larry Guidi and his allies on the City Council, recently displaying their political signs and contributing money to their campaigns in past years.

Repossess Auto Sales, owned by Awaad's brother, also registered to serve as a polling place. But he later withdrew that offer and claimed he never agreed to allow poll workers at his business, which is next door to Finance Auto Sales.

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