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There was a pretty big election in Los Angeles yesterday, but residents in the area didn’t really show up to vote. Mostly because they didn’t know about it, and also because they didn’t really care.

Primary elections to replace Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa made for an extremely low voter turnout among Angelenos. Los Angeles Times writer, Jim Rainey laid out the reasons behind the lack of interest in choosing a mayor, during an interview with the Huffington Post. “If you don’t have an opinion or don’t even know who the mayor is, you can go out and there’s no social stigma attached to knowing nothing,” Rainey said. “It’s part of the local culture”

Rainey’s findings are in line with the norm among voters in the area.

From the Long Beach Press Telegram:

In 2005, when then-Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa challenged incumbent Mayor James Hahn, voter turnout was nearly 29 percent. In 2009, when he sought re-election against an underfunded challenger, about 17 percent of the 1.6 million registered voters cast a ballot.

Villaraigosa noticed the low turnout Tuesday when he walked into the church’s auditorium and found himself nearly alone inside while filling out his ballot.

Afterward, he told reporters he was disappointed with stories of near-empty polling places.

“I keep hearing about low voter turnout,” the outgoing mayor said. “Everyone should vote. LA deserves better than this.”

As of yesterday, Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel emerged as frontrunners, in a neck-and-neck race. Garcetti was leading the race with 33 percent of the vote, just ahead of Greuel at 29.3 percent.

Aside from low participation numbers, Tuesday’s election resulted in a shooting at an elementary school in Watts, Calif. A polling worker was shot in an apparent argument over a love triangle. He is expected to survive.

Photo: U-T San Diego/

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