Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Los Angeles to tackle voter apathy in city elections

Eric Garcetti DWP City Hall

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Five months ago, just 23 percent of the city's registered voters bothered to make it to the polls. Now, the president of the Los Angeles City Council, Herb Wesson, wants a commission to look at radical changes to the city's election process.

This past spring, just one in four Angelenos bothered to show up for a major city election. Now, the president of the Los Angeles City Council wants to create a commission to consider significant changes to the way L.A. votes. 

Councilman Herb Wesson introduced a resolution Wednesday that would create the L.A. Municipal Elections Reform Commission. Members would consider radical changes to the system such as changing the dates of the election cycle, allowing same-day registration, and moving special elections exclusively to vote-by-mail ballots. 

The nine-member commission would be chaired by an appointee selected by both Wesson and Mayor Eric Garcetti. The mayor and council president would then each nominate four members with expertise in elections, marketing, polling and neighborhood councils. 

The commission's report would be due on May 14, 2014. 

"It’s important that we explore ways to make it easier for people to make their voices heard and to expand voting options," Wesson said. " The commission will take a comprehensive look at all of this and make recommendations."

The council's Rules, Elections and Intergovernmental Elections Committee is expected to take up the resolution on Friday. 

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