L.A. Now Live: Paltry turnout forecast for L.A. mayor’s race


More than 2 million people are eligible to vote for mayor of Los Angeles. But if history is a reliable guide, as many as 1.6 million of them, that’s about 80%, will skip Tuesday’s election.

That low turnout could mean the winner will garner fewer votes than any newly elected mayor since the pre-freeway era of the 1930s, according to a Times analysis of L.A. election records.

Join us at 9 a.m. when we discuss L.A.’s history of low voter turnout and what it means for the mayor’s race with Times reporters Ben Welsh and Michael Finnegan.


The plunge in voter turnout is part of a long, nationwide trend, broken periodically as it was when Barack Obama was elected president. Low turnout in the city’s March primary also reflected a failure by candidates Eric Garcetti, Wendy Greuel and their rivals to generate much public enthusiasm.

Both Greuel and Garcetti have suggested that the city might stimulate turnout by shifting mayoral contests to November. With the right confluence of circumstances, elections still can draw high interest regardless of the calendar. California’s gubernatorial recall in October 2003 had a 61% voter turnout.

Many of the communities with the lowest turnout are poor and also have large numbers of residents ineligible to vote, such as immigrants, further diminishing the clout of those neighborhoods at City Hall, experts say.