What’s better: 25% of Angelenos voting? Or 75% of Angelenos voting?

What’s better: 25% of Angelenos voting? Or 75% of Angelenos voting?

Charter Amendments 1 and 2, on the Los Angeles March 3rd primary election ballot, would increase voter participation and hold politicians accountable by holding municipal and school board elections at the same time as federal and state elections.

There are two very important measures on the March 3rd ballot. You’re probably thinking “What elections? Didn’t I just vote in November?”

You’re not alone if you didn’t know that there’s an election this March—in fact, there’s an election about every 6 months or so and the average Angeleno has no clue despite being bombarded with mailers and TV ads.

The voter turnout rate is low overall but downright abysmal for local elections in Los Angeles. I bet you less than 20% of voters will turn out to this March’s elections. And this March’s election could change the course of Los Angeles’s elections system for the long run.

Political pundits are constantly asking why voters are so disengaged…but I ask why is our elections system so disengaging? Why does voting feel like a chore to the average citizen?

Fortunately, there is a very simple solution to this antiquated policy. Let’s move our local elections that are currently held in March and May of odd-numbered years to align with general state and national elections in the even years. Not only can we save millions on the cost of elections, but we can actually increase voter turnout and put the saved funds towards city services.  Studies of other California cities consistently show that moving city elections to the even year can boost voter turnout for these elections by 21-36%! (That could mean more than 50% of LA voters voting in city elections, instead of the the paltry 23% that vote in the last mayoral election.)

That’s exactly what Charter Amendments 1 & 2 aim to accomplish. Of course, this fix alone won’t solve our voter participation problem. But it sure is a good start. What we need are fewer elections and more voters actually voting. Angelenos, vote Yes on Charter Amendments 1 & 2 on March 3rd!

Paid for by California Common Cause, 453 S. Spring St., Ste. 401, Los Angeles, CA  90013.  Additional information is available at ethics.lacity.org.