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Eight Days Out, L.A.’s Missing Voters in the Millions for the 2022 Primary

With just eight days left before the June 7th primary, as of Friday, May 27th, less than 139,000 ballots of 2.1 million mailed out to voters in the city of Los Angeles have been returned to the Registrar’s office, making for a gap of 2,010,187 ballots to find quickly over the next week. 66% of these returned ballots have come from voters aged 50 and upwards. Since these groups hold only 44% of all ballots, their early returns mark an increase of 22% over their registration rate. Voters aged 18 – 49 currently hold 55% of L.A. city’s ballots, but can only claim credit for 36% of ballots returned to the Registrar so far, marking a 19% gap with respect to their registration rate.

Additionally, white voters have returned 59% of L.A. City’s 2.1 million ballots so far, or approximately 82,000 ballots, a 10 point increase from their share of ballots overall (49%). Latinx voters have accounted for only 20% of returns so far, or roughly 28,000 ballots, despite their hold on 33% of ballots overall, making for a 13 point decrease or gap with respect to their registration. Ballots returned from Asian-American voters currently make for 12%, or 17,000 ballots, a 3 point increase from their hold on ballots overall. And ballots from African-American voters returned so far make for 9% of all returns, or about 12,500 ballots, consistent with their hold on ballots overall (9%).

It’s accurate to say, then, that the 13 point gap for ballots returned from younger, Latinx voters in particular relative to their hold on all ballots have so far opened a path for more returns from white and Asian-American voters, particularly those over the age of 50.

The trajectory so far is reminiscent of L.A.’s last major primary in 2017, when Eric Garcetti and Mitch O’Farrell were re-elected to their offices by only 17% of L.A.’s voters; ballots from white voters also surged then as those from Latinxs fell by nearly half. The 2017 primary also saw saw an uptick in ballots returned from Asian-Americans compared to their registration rates, while ballots from African-American decreased, albeit slightly, compared to their registration rates.

Data from Tableu Public by paulmitche11, 2017

Let’s now take a look at the numbers more locally. In Council District 13 (CD-13), at least 11,000 of approximately 148,000 ballots have been returned so far. 57% of these ballots are from voters aged 50 and upwards, compared to their share of 48% of the electorate in the district overall, an increase of 9 points. 43% of returned ballots in CD-13 so far hail from voters aged 18 – 49, compared to their share of 51% of the electorate overall, a decrease of 8 points compared to their registration. In terms of ethnic categories, white voters have accounted for 59% of these same returns so far, or 4 points up from their overall share (55%). Latinx voters, who account for 30% of the ballots in CD-13, have accounted for 22% of returned ballots so far, or a decrease of 8 points compared to their registration.

Asian-American voters, the third largest bloc in CD-13, have accounted for 17% of ballots returned in the area so far, an increase of 4 percentage points, while African-American voters, the fourth largest bloc in the area, have accounted for 2% of returns, consistent with their share of ballots in CD-13 overall.

In Council District 1, at least 7,300 of roughly 106,500 ballots have been returned so far. 62% of these ballots are from voters over the age of 50, compared to their 47% share of the electorate in the area overall, an increase of 15 points. Along ethnic categories, ballots returned from Latinx voters have made for 36% of returns so far, making for a gap of 12% with respect to their share of the electorate in CD-1 overall (48%), which is also the largest voting bloc in the area. White voters, who make up for the second largest voting bloc in the area (34%), have returned 35% of CD-1’s ballots, an increase of 1 point with respect to their share of the area’s eligible voters. Asian-American voters, who represent the third largest bloc of voters in CD-1, have returned 27% of the area’s ballots, an increase of 11 points from their registration rates in CD-1 (16%). African-American voters, the fourth largest bloc in the area (3%), have returned about 2% of ballots there, a slight decrease of 1% with respect to their registration in CD-1.

While so far L.A. City’s numbers aren’t exactly reassuring, they’re also not far removed from trends for the Golden State as a whole at the moment. Consider that across California, there are roughly more than 22 million voters on the rolls; of this number, those over the age of 50 represent up to 10.8 million voters (slightly more than the size of all of L.A. County before 2020, or 49%). However, as of May 27th, these voters accounted for more than 75% of ballots returned so far, an increase of 26 points with respect to their overall share. Inversely, voters aged 18 – 49 represent 51% of California’s electorate, but only made for 25% of votes back to the state registrar as of May 27th.

Ballots returned by Age and Ethnicity in California overall as of May 27th, 2022; Political Data, Inc.

Additionally, white voters maintain the largest bloc in California, representing 57% of the electorate, but have returned at least 69% of the state’s ballots so far, or an increase of 8 points. Latinx voters, who make for the second largest bloc at 27%, have returned 15% of the state’s ballots, or a decrease of 12 points with respect to their rate of registration. Asian-American voters, who are the third largest group of voters at 12% of the state’s electorate, have returned 12% of ballots, consistent with their registration rate; and African-American voters, the fourth largest voting bloc at 4%, have returned 3% of the state’s ballots, a slight decrease of one point compared to their registration rates.

The numbers are obviously poised to change over the next week, but it’s clear that it will take more from the state and voting proponents across our cities to dislodge the historic trends. As the California Public Policy Institute noted as early as 2000: “At present, California’s electorate does not accurately reflect the state’s diversity. Despite being only about half of the state’s population, whites make up 68 percent of the voters. Latinos are well behind with only 19 percent of the electorate, and blacks and Asian Americans follow with 6 and 7 percent, respectively.”

According to the U.S. Census in 2000, Latinxs made for 32% of the state’s population then, while Asian-Americans accounted for 11% and 7%, respectively. As recently as 2020, white residents made for roughly 41% of the state’s population, while Latinxs, Asian-Americans, and African-Americans accounted for about 39%, 15%, and 6%, respectively.

Statistics cited for the June 2022 primary are from Political Data, Inc.’s Tracker, a well-crafted data engine. Keep up with more updates over the next week via this page and wherever else you follow JIMBO TIMES. And if you’re still doing research for your ballot, the L.A. Times can lead you to a useful guide HERE.


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The Twenty Largest Nations and their Populations (by millions): 1950 – 2100

1China554.81China1 275.2
2India357.62India1 016.9
4Russian Federation102.74Indonesia211.6
6Indonesia79.56Russian Federation145.6
9United Kingdom49.89Japan127
13Pakistan39.713Viet Nam78.1
18Viet Nam27.418Ethiopia65.6
1India1 531.41India1 458.4
2China1 395.22China1 181.5
10Congo, DR151.610Congo, DR203.3
14Viet Nam117.714Philippines128.8
16Iran105.516Viet Nam110.2
18Russian Federation101.518Iran98.2
Source: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs/Population Division, World Population to 2300, 2002
Source: Wikimedia Commons

It truly hasn’t been long since the days of Manifest Destiny in the mid-19th century led to an expansion project that violently spread from some 26 states in North America to the west coast’s former Mexican territories. But for a child born in the United States today, before they turn 30 years old, the world and their country will look much different than it did for their parents at that age, and entirely other-worldly from the time of their grandparents or great grandparents.

Consider that in 1950, just after the end of World War II, seven European nations occupied a place among the top 20 most populated states. By 2000, only three would remain in the top 20; by 205o, only the Russian Federation will remain on the list (and will be out of the list by 2100). The rest of the list will be occupied by Asian, African, and a handful of American nations, including the U.S., Brazil, and Mexico. But consider as well that by 2050 the U.S. will be a majority-minority” nation (the first of its kind), where although whites will likely remain the largest single group (47%), there will be more Black, Native, Latinx, Asian and other citizens (53%) in the country altogether.

It’s also fascinating that by 2100, the people and culture of nations such as Pakistan and Afghanistan, which have occupied the mind of many U.S. citizens as war-torn nations, will nonetheless continue expanding to outsize most other nations across the world. Just as well, it’s mind-boggling that the Philippines, which maintains a total area of some 115,800 square miles, is projected to count more people in its boundaries than Mexico, which holds a total area of some 761,600 square miles by 2100. Similarly, Yemen, which is one of the poorest nations in the Middle East–and which since 2015 has been locked in a war with Saudi Arabia, or one of the richest countries in the region–will also climb the ranks over the next 30 years to make the top 20 list; and Yemen will be 13th on the list by the end of the century.

The world is thus on track, or “destined,” to become only more diverse as the 21st century unfolds, making the development of peace and understanding between diversities more important with each day. In the spirit of friendly competition, however, the Californians–or Californianxs–in the vicinity need not to worry: The Golden State will remain the largest in the U.S. by 2050, when 48% of the state’s population is projected to be Latinx compared to the group’s current rate of 39%.

Source: Animated Stats Channel on YouTube.

So many numbers, and such little time, but we still make the time in Los Angeles.