City Hall

Let's stop this '19 percent turnout' meme right now

The voter turnout in Tuesday's Los Angeles city election will be shamefully low by the time the ballots are all counted. But it won't be the 19 percent that some in the media are using (or the 15 percent that at least one national outlet went with today.) All the ballots aren't counted yet, folks. Something like 82,000 votes remain to be tabulated, and when they are added to the votes counted last night, the turnout will rise. That number of votes should push the total to about 24 percent of the pool of registered voters (not counting deceased people, the moved-away and other dead weight carried on the voter rolls in Los Angeles County.)

The 19 percent figure comes from the City Clerk's election bulletin, and as far as we know it's correct for what it is: the share of registered voters whose ballots were counted last night. In the primary election in March, the comparable 16 percent figure that was bandied about rose to over 20 percent when all the votes were finally counted several weeks later. some people still complain about the embarrassing 16 percent turnout of March, even though it didn't happen.

On KPCC this morning, Fernando Guerra of the Center for the Study of Los Angeles at LMU railed about the City Clerk's publication of the misleading 19 percent figure for yesterday's vote..Guerra seems quite frustrated generally with the clerk's efficiency at counting votes. If the mayoral election were close, he said, it could have taken weeks to know who won and made Florida look like it has its act together.

Photo of Eric Garcetti campaigning: Gary Leonard

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