Why Los Angeles residents don’t vote

Los Angeles voter Amanda Sutton casts a ballot in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. Photo by Avishay Artsy
Los Angeles voter Amanda Sutton casts a ballot in the Silver Lake neighborhood in April. Photo by Avishay Artsy

Voters will head to the polls on Tuesday to vote for the next mayor of Los Angeles and several other key offices. But will there be a flood of ballots, or merely a trickle?

Used to be, a lot more votes were cast in L.A. during big city elections. Here we are on the cusp of selecting a new mayor for the second most populous city in the country and no one is really optimistic that the people will show up.

L.A. has more than 2 million eligible voters. But about 1.6 million of them are expected to skip the election on Tuesday. In other words, 80 percent of the eligible voters will let the remaining 20 percent choose the next city leader for them.

To find out why, KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis spoke with Ben Welsh, digital editor of data for the Los Angeles Times. He co-wrote an article with Michael Finnegan about the decreasing voter turnout in Los Angeles over the years.