Wednesday, March 4, 2015

"Lack of hot-button issues fueled dismal voter turnout in L.A. election"

Great to talk with Alice Walton of the Los Angeles Times for this one.


In some parts of Los Angeles, the only items on voters’ ballots were candidates for the community college Board of Trustees and two charter amendments. The consolidation of elections wasn’t the kind of hot-button issue likely to draw in voters, said Jessica Levinson, a clinical professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

“People may think about legalizing marijuana or other kinds of social issues on a regular basis but whether or not we should link up city and state elections is something very few voters devote brain space too,” she said.

Los Angeles is particularly challenging, according to Levinson. With about 250,000 constituents apiece, the council districts are too large for most voters to have face-to-face interactions with the candidates. Reaching those voters through slate mailers and radio or television ads can be prohibitively expensive.

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