What You Need to Know About The New Voting Centers

Next Tuesday is election day in California and while many Angelenos are already prepared and eager to cast their ballot — some might have already voted — there are many who aren’t. Don’t let yourself fall into the latter group.

        There are few things more vital to a democratic republic than voting, and few better ways to make your voices heard than through a vote. The March 3 election is going to foreshadow some major changes for Downtown and Los Angeles as a whole and Downtown residents should make it a priority to participate. The 14th City Council District, which holds Downtown, Eagle Rock, Glassell Park, portions of Highland Park and other smaller neighborhoods, is primed to get its first new representative in 15 years, replacing Councilman José Huizar, who is being forced to step down due to term limits.

        It’s a new and exciting time for Downtown. That new councilmember will be tasked with steering Downtown and the rest of the district through redistricting, plotting the DTLA 2040 community plan and will be expected to be a champion in the ongoing battle against homelessness and the lack of affordable housing. Meanwhile, three contenders for Los Angeles District Attorney all have distinct platforms and ideas on how to tackle criminal justice reform. There are also measures and propositions on the ballot that could drastically impact local law enforcement and school facility modernization.

        Local boosters love to talk about the booming Downtown, as both a residential neighborhood and as an economic powerhouse compared to other parts of the city. Well, this is the time for that community to show its voice in local elections.

        In the past, turnouts in Los Angeles have been dismal. The March 2017 election for instance, which included the race for mayor, received only 20% turnout countywide. The June 2018 primary got only 28% of eligible voters to participate. In District 14, turnout has been just as bad, with just 13,700 eligible voters sending Huizar back to City Council in 2015.

        It’s not as if there aren’t reasons for missing the election; not all of the races are countywide. Election day is not a holiday and far too many people do not take advantage of employee protections that allow for time off to cast votes. There are some who might even argue it’s just the primary in the national election and that the more important vote is in November.

        The state government explicitly moved up the primary date to make California’s voice (and its many delegates) more important in the national debate. The March election is your chance to help decide California’s choice amongst the eight major Democratic Presidential candidates that qualified for the March 3 ballot. California is part of Super Tuesday this election cycle, placing more juice into the hands of California voters. Don’t squander it.

        In the following articles this week, Los Angeles Downtown News has a guide on who is running, who’s backing who, and what are the top issues in the local races this year. Read up on the topics, make an informed decision, and on March 3, make sure to head to the polls.