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Morning Brief: Low Voter Turnout. Lots More Ballots to Process

WEHO Last-minute voter ballot
One voter's herculean effort to cast her ballot on time.
(Alborz Kamalizad
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Good morning, L.A. It’s June 9.

It’s been two days since Election Day already and I’m still reflecting on my experience at the polls. You know, to be honest with you, I don’t usually vote in the primary elections. As I was actually filling out my ballot, (Shout out to the LAist team for creating the Voter Game Plan and making my research easier!) there were some candidates that didn’t have much information about their platform. It made it harder for me to choose. Additionally, because of prevalent issues in L.A. like homelessness, public safety and an increasingly unaffordable housing market, I feel a little apathetic about voting.

As you might’ve read or heard, there was low voter turnout this year (according to Political Data Intelligence, there were only 19% returned ballots). It’s interesting because over the years, California has made it easier to vote. There’s no identification requirement and the Voter’s Choice Act has expanded the ways and places to vote for Californians.

Why don’t more of us Angelenos vote? My cool, creative colleagues Chris Fariasand Neha Shaida made several Instagram Reelsand TikToks about voting in the election.

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As evident in this particularIG Reel, some Angelenos didn’t even know we were getting a new mayor.

Henry Perez, the InnerCity Struggle Associate Director, said that he spent all of Election Day canvassing and talking to people about the importance of voting. Leading up to the primary election, he knocked on doors, engaged citizens in civic engagement programs and worked phone banks.

Perez connects with residents who live in Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights, El Sereno and unincorporated East Los Angeles. He likes to meet people in person as much as he can.

“We feel that face to face conversations are the most critical,” Perez said.

But what’s going on with voter turnout?

A lot of what he heard at people’s front doors was a lack of awareness that people could actually vote ahead of the June 7th California primary. There was also confusion about their voting centers.

He said that, anecdotally, this year there were less voting centers which were further away from people’s homes. Perez took note of the issues and his organization’s team is going to figure out why.

My colleague Mariana Dale took a look into why voter turnout was so low. Let’s go behind the scenes with Mariana to explore what happened on Tuesday.

Voter Turnout On Primary Day

Mariana usually covers the little ones and their education. But for elections, everyone on staff pitches in. Instead of looking into people who DO vote, she chose to check out USC’s voting map to find places that have lower voter turnout. Central and South L.A. had low voter turnout. She went near Los Angeles Technical College, where there was commencement in session. She talked to several people nearby as well as experts about how they felt about voting. Our chat was edited for brevity and clarity.

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What Are Some Of The Reasons Why People Didn’t Vote?

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Mariana talked to all kinds of people about why or why not they chose to vote. Some Angelenos found it difficult to vote because they had to work and take care of their families. Some questioned their actual impact. And then some felt like the whole process was rigged. Additionally, Cal Matters points to voter suppression and disillusionment of voting.

Mariana talked to Jose Monroi who said he believes that the entire system is rigged. He doesn’t believe voting makes a difference.

“He named various reasons, things that he perceived…like you have all these corporations that commit these crimes, and then no one's ever prosecuted for it and stuff like that…But you also got that same vibe from people that did vote and that was Mayra….almost immediately when I started talking to her she was like ‘Yeah I voted, but does it matter?’”

What Was The Big Takeaway From Your Reporting?

If people are feeling disillusioned and like they don’t have the capacity to make a difference, how do we fix that? This is clearly something that has been reinforced throughout people’s lived experiences. Whether it’s politicians, government or media, I think we do have a responsibility to not only empower people with information, but to confirm that you have agency and your vote does make a difference.

How Was Your Voting Experience?

I spent three hours cramming to fill my ballot out and I don’t have any kids. And I had the Voter Game Plan. I feel like we come from a place of informational privilege. When does one find the time?

By the way, did you use our Voter Game Plan to help fill out your ballot this year? If so, we’d love to hear what you thought and how we can make it even better for the November general. Sign up here to tell us what you thought.

As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below the fold.

What Else You Need To Know Today

Aaricka's Tea Sipping Trends on Twitter: A Really Cool J Tree Discovery

Color negative film
(Jakob Owens/Unsplash )

So…I was perusing on Twitter (my favorite social media app) and I saw this really dope tweet.It’s a sign that you should never throw away leftover rolls of film before looking through them. You never know what you will find! Also, what if someone found this couple??? What if they lived somewhere in L.A.?

Before You Go... What's That Loud Bird That's Keeping People Awake? Oh, It's a Mockingbird!

A northern mockingbird perched on a fence.
(Joshua J. Cotten
Unsplash )

Ever since March, Glendale resident Emily Dos Santos and her husband have been waking up in the middle of the night. No, it’s not some random car alarm or a helicopter or even a rooster, it’s the Northern Mockingbird which is very common in L.A. And guess what? John McCormack, director of the Moore Lab of Zoology at Occidental College said it’s mating season time, so get used to it. The males are looking for their honeys. Maybe someone should make a Tinder for mockingbirds?

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