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Be vocal, vote local: the lowdown on the March 7 elections

Mar. 6, 2017
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The Presidential elections are over, but don’t turn off CNN just yet: this Tuesday, local primary elections are taking place in various counties across the country

Los Angeles county will be participating in holding local primary elections on Tuesday and polls will be open from 7am to 8pm. Voters will have the opportunity to vote for several City Council seats and the Los Angeles Mayor. This election also includes one countywide measure and 13 local measures.

The countywide Measure H attempts to fund services for homeless people by raising the sales tax by a quarter cent. As a result, about $335 million will be raised annually for ten years after which the tax increase will expire. This measure requires support from two-thirds of Los Angeles voters to pass; Phil Ansell, the director of Los Angeles county’s program to combat homelessness, stated, "That would be an opportunity for voters to see how effective these strategies are and potentially renew the tax.” 

Voter turnout in Los Angeles local elections have been historically low and in 2017 this trend continues as there has been little news coverage on the election. The Los Angeles Times reports, “The waning of L.A. politics coverage as news outlets have shrunk in recent years has indeed left many residents uninformed about what’s at stake on the ballot.” Incumbent Mayor Eric Garcetti is up for reelection, but his reelection campaign--and his 10 competitors’ campaigns--haven’t gained much of an audience.

Even though voting in Presidential elections is an important form of political action, local elections are equally as important because the changes that result from the measures approved and candidates elected will affect our day-to-day lives. If you are debating whether to vote or not, ask yourself any of the questions posed by LA Weekly: “How much do you care about an influx of development to the city, about L.A.'s ever-increasing rents, about the influence of charter schools on LAUSD, about the construction of protected bike lanes and about the future of recreational and medical marijuana?”    

If you were not happy with the results of the Presidential election, listen up: change happens from the bottom up and it starts at the local level. As Obama said, “Don’t boo--vote!” So go out and vote March 7th to break the trend of low voter turnout and vote on the issues that matter to you. 

Click here for a voter guide on the Measures. 

Click here for more information on the candidates.

Click here to find your polling place and a sample ballot.