Just 15 Percent of L.A. Voters Turned Out to Elect a New Mayor

Low voter turnout is something of a trend in America's second largest city.

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Reuters

Eric Garcetti will be the new mayor of Los Angeles after only parts of the city went to the polls last night. The turnout was depressingly low for America's second largest metropolis.

The victorious city councilman Garcettii earned 181,995 votes, while his competitor, the city comptroller Wendy Greuel, earned 155,497 votes. That's a 15 percent turnout for a city with around 2.5 million registered voters. Sure, expectations were low going in for a mayoral vote in May, but a 20 percent turnout would have at least been a respectable low on target with predictions. L.A.'s voter turnout disappointed the disappointing expectations. Which is never a good thing for, you know, democracy. 

But low voter turnout is something of a trend in Los Angeles. The city used to boast high voter turnouts in the 1960s, but the last two mayoral races haven't boded well. The turnout in the 2009 election, when now-outgoing L.A. mayor Antonio Villaraigosa won his second term against an array of nobodies, was only 17 percent. But those are huge drops from the last contested mayoral race in 2005, when Villaraigosa won his first term, and the city saw a 33 percent voter turnout. The city is now struggling to figure out why no one will go to the polls anymore. L.A. is home to around 4 million residents, but not everyone is willing, or able, to do the paper work to become a registered voter.

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic Wire.

About the Author

  • Connor Simpson is a former staff writer for The Wire. His work has appeared in Business Insider and City Lab.