March 3 LA City Election Voter Guide (YES THERE IS AN ELECTION)

Man Voting in California election

If you read that headline and you’re like, “wait seriously there’s an election?” you’re not alone. Based on past turnout for local elections, this Tuesday’s election could see only around 10% voter participation. Which is EXACTLY the reason for the two ballot measures on the March 3, 2015 ballot for voters in the city of Los Angeles.

Many cities are holding elections on Tuesday, mostly for positions on city councils. This guide is only for the city of L.A. You can find out about some other local elections here.

To quickly find your voting location, go here. To see which districts you are in, go here.

Ballot Measures – Charter Amendments 1 and 2

What They Would Do

Current L.A. City and LA Unified School District (LAUSD) Board of Education election dates are in March (primary election) and May (“runoff”/general election) of odd years. Charter Amendment 1 would change L.A. City election dates to June (primary) and November (general) of even years, to be on the same date as state and federal elections. Charter Amendment 2 would do the same for LAUSD Board of Education elections. This would take effect in 2020.

Note: They are called Charter Amendments because they would amend the L.A. City Charter (which sets out the basics of how city government should operate).

What They Would Mean

Making this change would almost certainly boost voter participation in local elections, since people are more likely to vote in state and federal (especially presidential) elections. However, local elections would then be more expensive for candidates since they would be competing for advertising space with the state and federal campaigns. Which means they would need to appeal to people with money even more than they already are, leaving middle and lower income people with less of a voice.

Candidates

You will be voting on 3 types of positions, L.A. City Council, LAUSD Board of Education, and LA Community College District Board of Trustees. Because Law Soup is about laws and policy, not about those who make laws and policy, I won’t go into the various candidates in Tuesday’s election. But you can get a good breakdown of the candidates from the LA Weekly and LA Times. LA Times Endorsements here.

Final note

Here’s a list of your rights as a voter. And remember, if you’re a mail-in voter and haven’t mailed your ballot yet, you can drop it off at ANY polling place. Happy voting!

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