Los Angeles voter Amanda Sutton casts a ballot in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. Photo by Avishay Artsy

Los Angeles voter Amanda Sutton casts a ballot in the Silver Lake neighborhood in April. Photo by Avishay Artsy

Voters will head to the polls on Tuesday to vote for the next mayor of Los Angeles and several other key offices. But will there be a flood of ballots, or merely a trickle?

Used to be, a lot more votes were cast in L.A. during big city elections. Here we are on the cusp of selecting a new mayor for the second most populous city in the country and no one is really optimistic that the people will show up.

L.A. has more than 2 million eligible voters. But about 1.6 million of them are expected to skip the election on Tuesday. In other words, 80 percent of the eligible voters will let the remaining 20 percent choose the next city leader for them.

To find out why, KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis spoke with Ben Welsh, digital editor of data for the Los Angeles Times. He co-wrote an article with Michael Finnegan about the decreasing voter turnout in Los Angeles over the years.

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  • abstract668

    Elections should not be about the voter's personal interest, they should be about what the voter thinks is in the COMMON interest. Unfortunately our culture does not encourage people to value the common interest; all that matters is self-interest.

    How many reporters have asked potential voters the question, "Which candidate do you think will be best for Los Angeles for the next four years?" The question is always "which candidate is best for YOU?" Reporters also allow people to believe that the mayor of Los Angeles can do something about education, which is just not true. The question is not "what is the most important issue facing Los Angeles" but "Of the issues over which the mayor has power, which is most important?"

    Reporters are educators and are in fact among the most important educators in our community. We rely on public radio reporters to ask the correct questions, and to help voters understand basic Civics. In this case, it is what each level of local government is responsible for. Los Angeles County has 88 cities within it, and many people do not know that if they live in South Gate or Lakewood, they cannot vote for mayor of Los Angeles, but if they live in Van Nuys or San Pedro, they can!

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