Residents of Koreatown, downtown LA and the Eastside voted Tuesday to select a new congressional representative for the 34th District from a diverse group of 24 candidates. The election was held to replace Democrat Xavier Becerra, who resigned in January to become attorney general of California.
The list of potential representatives includes 20 Democrats, a Republican, a Green Party member, a Libertarian and an independent. Fifty percent of the candidates are women and more than half of the potential representatives have a Hispanic background.
"I was really excited to see a lot of people of color, especially Latino people who are running for office for the first time…people who weren't necessarily politicians," resident Stevie Weinstein-Foner said at the voting booth. "It's great to see people who are representative of the people they are representing."
It's likely that none of the 24 candidates will acquire enough votes to win based on Tuesday's voter turnout. For a candidate to win the primary, they need 50 percent of the vote. If no one reaches that threshold, residents of the 34th District will vote again in the general election runoff in June.
Many people in the district have voted by mail, though in-person votes appear to be low. So far, around 5 percent of possible voters, 17,500 people, sent in their ballot through mail. Voter turnout is not expected to be high, and will probably range between 9 to 21 percent.
"I came here to vote because I think it's more important now than ever to make sure that you do your civic duty to help out people around you," voter Brian Trinidad said.
Of the voters who already sent in their ballots, Asian Americans have contributed more votes than any other group in the district, even though they comprise only 16 percent of the population. Older voters and Democrats are most represented in the pool of mail-in voters.