Despite the race for mayor of Los Angeles, along with several ballot measures, only an estimated 9 percent of registered voters had cast their ballots as of 5 p.m. Tuesday, continuing the historical trend of low turnout in off-cycle elections.
"The awareness of the election may be not what it is typically during a November cycle, where people associate that time of year with campaigns and elections," said Dean Logan, the registrar-recorder/county clerk for Los Angeles County.
"Sadly we just continue to see apathy in voter turnout especially in these off-cycle elections," Logan said. In November, the voter turnout in Los Angeles was around 69 percent, KPCC reported.
At the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk office, Lily Selga said she decided to vote like she does every election to "help the people who are in need." Eddie Dominguez, who also voted at the County Clerk office, was upset that he didn't see more people voting.
"That's terrible; I wish everybody would vote, and why they don't I don't understand," Dominguez said. "It's sad, it's sad." Dominguez also hopes that Measure H will get passed as he sees homelessness as a problem. Measure H proposes a quarter-of-a-cent sales tax for 10 years to aid the homeless.
Weemes Elementary School, the closest polling station to USC, saw, as of mid-afternoon, a total of fifty people. David Gutierrez, a worker at the polling station, described the turnout as light. "This is one of those votes that I guess of Angelenos don't really care about."
Two USC students who are registered voters won't be voting today. They didn't know that there even was an election today.
"You can't really miss presidential nationwide stuff," William Kim said. "I actually had no idea that the mayor election was today." He recommended that they schedule elections for Friday, when people get off school or work early and have more of a presence on social media.
"I didn't vote today because I wasn't aware that there was an election happening," Aubrey Wood said. She suggested that USC could send out emails or create Facebook events for future elections.
Angelenos went to their nearest polling station to vote on measures affecting homelessness, the regulation and taxation of cannabis and housing development and the mayoral election. Other cities are seeing more voter turnout because of contested elections.
"There may be spikes in turnout in those areas where you have a more contested council contest or something where there's been more of a high profile nature," Logan said, also explaining that there are 28 other cities where voting is occurring.
Logan couldn't stress the importance of voting in the election enough. "We as individual voters actually have the ability to legislate and talk about what's happening in our own neighborhood and in our own community."
Polls close at 8 p.m. and absentee ballots will be accepted until March 10.
Reach staff reporter Hawken Miller here.