When polls open in Los Angeles next week, turnout is expected to be low. In fact, the city has charted some of the lowest rates of participation of U.S. major cities in recent years.
That's a troubling trend, according to Jessica Levinson, professor at Loyola Law School and vice president of the L.A. Ethics Commission, especially when it comes to the small number of people who cast votes.
"In a word: pathetic," said Levinson, of the voter turnout. "We had 23 percent last time when we had an open seat for mayor."
But there's lots of reasons to get involved, said Levinson.
City council seats, school board positions and influential measures that could alter how elections take place are all up for grabs. Without participation, much of this could be determined by a fraction of the eligible electorate.
"It ultimately comes down to [whether] you want a role in shaping the government that you live in," said the Loyola law professor.