On November 3, 2015, over 66 jurisdictions in Los Angeles County held elections representing 156 seats for the positions of mayor, city council, or school board across the County.
Local elections are of significant importance since these elected officials are able to influence cultural policy, allocate funds to the arts, and lead their communities in ensuring comprehensive art education. Despite the importance of these elections in Los Angeles County, results place the voter turnout at around 11% - far below the 25% voter turnout in 2014 elections (according to semi-final election results posted by the LA Registrar Recorder/County Clerk on 11/13/15.)
In order to provide both candidates and constituents with a starting point for discussion on issues surrounding arts, culture, and arts education, Arts for LA once again conducted its nonpartisan Arts and Culture Candidate Survey for the 8th year in a row. All candidates running for elected city and school board positions in LA County were invited to take the survey.
Out of the 348 candidates across Los Angeles County, 61 of them, or 17.5% responded to our survey. Their responses are available online here.
Of the 61 respondents, 27 of them, or 44.3%, were elected into office. In addition, this response rate is higher than the response rate of 16.4% from the last LA County election of this size and scope in 2012.
This data suggests that school board candidates participate at a higher rate than municipal candidates. Out of 214 school board candidates in school districts across Los Angeles County, 41 of them, or 19.2%, responded to our survey. Out of these 41 respondents, 21 of them, or 51.2% were elected. In city elections within Los Angeles County, out of 134 candidates, 20 of them, or 14.9%, responded to our survey. Out of these 20 respondents, 6 of them, or 30% were elected.
To increase the response rate, we invite arts organizations and individuals who are passionate about securing the future for the arts to participate in our #ArtsVote Campaign.
We are looking for volunteers and/or organizations who, in the spring 2016 elections, would be available to do one or more of the following:
• help us increase the participation rate in our nonpartisan Arts and Culture Candidate Surveys through email and phone calls to candidates
• can volunteer time or space for candidate forums
• can volunteer time or space as a polling center for future elections.
Interested art organizations and volunteers can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how to participate in our #ArtsVote Campaign.
Together, we can ensure that Los Angeles County cultivates an informed, civically engaged population, securing the future of Los Angeles as both a cultural home and artistic destination for its residents and visitors.