HEADLINES

The election is here — this is what you should know

Posted on: 11/06/2018 00:00

(dailynews.com) The day you’ve all been waiting for — or, possibly, dreading — is finally here: Election Day.

By now, voters have probably heard all of the hubbub around the congressional midterms, such as a blue wave possibly cascading into Congress, voters delivering a referendum — whether positive or negative remains to be seen — on President Donald Trump’s first two years and more money than ever being dumped into political campaigns nationwide.

But what about more local, pragmatic political concerns: “How many voters are there in Los Angeles?” “Where do I vote?”

“Wait, there’s an election today?” Just kidding; you all knew that one, right? But here are a list of questions — and the accompanying answers — some may have about the Tuesday, Nov. 6, election.

There’s an election today?

Yes, there is. In fact, throughout Los Angeles County, 753 candidates are vying for 309 elected offices, plus 11 state propositions and 48 local measures.

And if you haven’t already voted by mail, you can cast a ballot by heading to your local polling place from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. If you haven’t registered, that’s OK: You can still cast a provisional ballot — meaning your ballot won’t won’t be tallied immediately, but will be as soon as the Los Angeles County Registrar’s Office verifies your eligibility to vote.

How do I know where to vote?

Easy: Go to lavote.net/locator, type in your name and address — and voila, you’ll know exactly where to go. There are 4,165 different polling place throughout the county, according to the registrar, so it’s best not to wander around hoping for the best.

And if you don’t know who your candidates are, lavote.net can help with that too.

How many registered voters are there?

The county has 5.3 million registered voters, as of Oct. 22. Here’s a sampling of cities and their registration:

  • Los Angeles: 2.1 million
  • Long Beach: 259,281
  • Santa Clarita: 128,374
  • Torrance: 84,788
  • Pasadena: 83,858
  • Whittier: 48,306
  • Monrovia: 21,116

So all those people are going to vote today?

Hopefully! But sadly, probably not.

First, each year the number of people who vote by mail keeps increasing. This year, 2.3 million are registered to vote by mail, as of September, according to the registrar.

But this is also a midterm election and, historically, voter turnout has been much lower than when presidential candidates take top billing on the ballot. In 2014, for example, 32 percent of registered voters cast ballots in the county. Even during the two midterms before that, in 2010 and 2006, when turnout was much higher, it was only a couple of points above 50 percent.

I have friends and family who want to vote, but don’t speak English. Is that a problem?

Nope.

L.A. County is one of the most diverse areas of the country, and the registrar’s office doesn’t want anyone deterred by a language barrier. The registrar provides voting materials in the following languages: Armenian, Chinese, Farsi, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai and Vietnamese. Probably not Klingon, though.

Does it cost anything to vote?

Well, there are no poll taxes, if that’s what you mean. It’d be unconstitutional to charge you to vote. But this also isn’t Tammany Hall, either, so I doubt anyone will pay for your vote.

Kind of a neutral cost, individually.

But for the government, yes — elections are actually quite expensive. This year, the registrar estimates it will cost about $40 million to run the election. Democracy isn’t cheap, apparently.

Finally, should I vote?

Yes. Obviously. Go vote.

 

 


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