Human Voter Guide: It's the last day to register online to vote in March 7 election

FILE PHOTO: Local residents register to vote during the 5th annual Power Fest Music and Art Festival at Martin Luther King Jr. Park on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016.
FILE PHOTO: Local residents register to vote during the 5th annual Power Fest Music and Art Festival at Martin Luther King Jr. Park on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016.
Susanica Tam for KPCC

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Today marks the two-week countdown to local elections for voters across Los Angeles County and the last day for residents who want to participate to register online to vote

Voters in the March 7 primary election will cast ballots on a countywide sales tax measure to fund homeless services. And, depending on where they live, they will vote on mayorships, City Council seats and school board seats, among others. 

In the city of Los Angeles, voters will decide whether to re-elect Mayor Eric Garcetti; eight City Council seats, including the open District 7 seat; three L.A. Unified School District posts, three L.A. Community College trustee posts and four measures.

Any mayoral or council candidate could win their race outright in the primary with more than 50 percent of the votes. Otherwise, the top two candidates will advance to the May 16 general election. A full list of mayoral candidates can be found online

To help you get ready for the primary, we are back with our the Human Voter Guide Q & A feature here online and on KPCC's Take Two.

If you have a question about voting or choices on the ballot, call or text our Human Voter Guide hotline at 323-538-5722. You can also reach out via email: humanvoterguide@gmail.com. 

Now, let's turn to your questions:

Q: Today is the last day to register to vote for this election. Remind us where to do that?

The fastest way to register to vote is to go online. You have until midnight tonight to get registered. 

Q: If I registered to vote last summer, do I have to register again to vote in the March 7 elections?

In most cases, no. If you’ve registered to vote, and voted recently, you should be all set. But there are a few things here to consider:

Q: We’ve talked a lot about vote by mail in past Human Voter Guide segments. If a voter submits a permanent vote by mail application, will they get their ballot in time to vote on March 7?

If you’ve looked at the L.A. County Registrar’s website, you'll see that it's a bit confusing because they have two separate types of vote by mail applications. 

One is for people who want to vote by mail on a one-time basis. The other is for people who want to switch over permanently and get their vote by mail ballots automatically for future elections.

A spokesperson for the L.A. County Registrar’s Office confirmed that those who submit permanent vote by mail applications will also receive a ballot for this election. 

As a reminder, the deadline to request a vote by mail ballot is Feb. 28. But, of course, the sooner you request a mail ballot the better. There can be mail delays.

Q: Let's talk about some of those election materials that have been arriving in the mail. Voters will see that some of the measures are named differently, what’s going on there?

Election information pamphlets can be tough to read because they have a lot of jargon. One thing you’ll notice is the city of Los Angeles' Voter Information Pamphlet that comes in the mail lists the formal names for the four measures on the ballot.

Measure S is called “Initiative Ordinance S,” for example, or Measure M is listed as “Proposition M.” Don’t let these terms confuse you, they’re all referring to ballot measures.

When you’re getting campaign mailers or hearing about these items in the news, you’ll typically hear the shorthand names: Measure S, Measure M, Measure N and Measure P.

Q: Any other tips?

A couple of weeks back, we talked about the City Council race for District 7. That’s the open seat in Northern Los Angeles covering communities like Shadow Hills and Pacoima. There are 20 candidates running for that race. To help voters sort their way through a crowded field, we visited the district to talk with residents and also conducted a candidate survey.

KPCC also surveyed LAUSD school board candidates.

If you haven't yet decided who to vote for, these are great resources for getting a quick snapshot of who’s running and where the candidates stand on the issues.

We have our Voter's Edge guide, which allows you to enter your zip code and research your district's candidates and measures. You can then print out or email your selections to take with you to the polls.

And to plan out your Election Day, our Voter Game Plan is back with information on this year's election.


Series: Human Voter Guide

Municipal elections will be held across Los Angeles County on March 7. To help you navigate the way, we revive KPCC's Human Voter Guide, a series of questions-and-answers about California elections.

Have a question? Email our senior political reporter Mary Plummer, tweet her @maryplummer or leave a voice mail or text at 323-538-5722.