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What Issues Matter To You In The 2016 Election?

Alex Lopez of Chula Vista holds up a sign showing the most important issue to him in the 2016 election, Jan. 22, 2016.
Brooke Ruth
Alex Lopez of Chula Vista holds up a sign showing the most important issue to him in the 2016 election, Jan. 22, 2016.
Raise your hand, California
What Issues Matter To You In The 2016 Election?
What Issues Matter To You In The 2016 Election? GUESTS: Laura Wingard, news and digital editor, KPBS Megan Burks, reporter, Speak City Heights

Voters can't imagine why anyone would not exercise the hard run right to vote. KPBS and the other media stations are launching a project called telephone accounts. To find out why some people do not vote and what issues are driving others to the polls. There's been a very large divide in educational system and how it works in the inner-city versus more affluent neighborhoods. We need to change that. And those are some the issues that do drive people to the polls. Joining me right now is Laura Wingard news and digital editor. And KPBS reporter Megan Burks. Why is California public media collaborating on this project? It began this past summer when KPBS joined with three other large public media stations in California. We decided that we should try to work together to give really a broad based attack basically to the selection to delve into why do people vote and why don't they both. To give them information on the US Senate race, the state propositions -- we know that California sometimes get ignored of the national scale because we are so democratic they know whoever the Democratic nominee is that is probably how the state is going to go. So the presidential candidates only come here to get money. And then they leave. We want to really show something by joining forces that we can be a powerhouse. Your offering all of the content we produce to this to the public media stations in the state. How many eligible voters in California don't vote? We have 17.7 million in the state who are registered to vote. But 7 million eligible and don't even register. What do we know about them? When it comes to demographics? We know the people who do both tend to be older, white and wealthy. And contrast the people who don't show up at the polls tend to be younger, the millennial's are not it out to both kind of group. They tend to be immigrants, minorities and people who have a harder time making a living. As part of the KPBS outreach on telephone accounts, we are honing in on a couple of neighborhoods in San Diego. One of them being city Heights. I'm wondering what are the voting statistics for the neighborhood that you are concentrating on? We polled the statistics for the 2014 general election. There are lots of little small precincts within the larger area so it averages around 26% turnout. In some of the area where there is more concentrated poverty, a lot more dense housing it gets down to it about 20%. Less high-profile elections -- even down to about 14%. That is in contrast to San Bernardino -- and even right next door in Kensington the turnout is about 70% per Basically what it is when people don't vote, the places where people do turn out to vote actually get their representation because they are the ones who are voting for who gets elected. So Laura, how is KPBS getting involved in this? We're focusing on city Heights for one thing -- where else? Megan is teaming up with reporter [Indiscernible] -- Megan is doing city Heights where we know they have a lower turnout. We are using Kensington -- the way the two arrived at this is that they are in the same city Council District that will be a Heidi -- highly competitive race. The people of Kensington are deciding who will be the next city Council person because they show up to vote. We want to hear from people why is this -- we want to track the people who are out registering people to vote and then getting people out on election day. There's a social media component in this isn't their? Yes -- before stations involved in this have launched something. We call it California accounts. Have our web producer has gone out to various neighborhoods. We are asking people what is your issue? Would you want to hear about from politicians of all levels this year? To let us know one thing we are encouraging his HootSuite at us using #what is my issue -- for #California accounts. It is really interesting the broad range of topics that people care about. From jobs to education, to Obama care -- one man we spoke to once more religious principles. Addressed by the politicians. So it is a right -- wide range of things. Those of the things that people care about per Have you talked to people about why they don't vote? I just started talking to people in city Heights about this. The first thing that jumps out is the demographics of city Heights. I think the latest estimate is that about 10% of the residents there are here in the country illegally and cannot vote. Is also a really young community. People said that about half of the community with Latino. When you take age into account, citizenship status, that really drops down to about half to 26%. So it is young immigration is that play and also just a personal feeling that I don't have time to get to the polls. I work multiple jobs and have to pick up my kids. This community is also really diverse and so there are a lot of refugees that came from places where they were not encouraged to speak out or have any discourse. So people feel a little weird and afraid to vote. And then there is also distilling that your vote might be overshadowed by Kensington. And by other voters in the area. I talked with somebody who is working to get people to get to the polls and overcome these issues keeping them from the polls. Debra Samuels -- at that we have a clip from her. From Matthew Knowles, Vietnamese, and African -- also, when they just get naturalized they are very excited. Because they can vote, they can vote for what they want. When they see things not changing that is what brings them down and they get disinterested. So how can San Diegans get involved in the California accounts project? They can join the social media campaign and follow us and look at our stories in common. Stories that were published last week on this and that aired have generated a lot of comments. People are weighing in and going to our Facebook page. KPBS news -- they are saying this is what matters to me. This is what is going to have to happen to get me to the polls per I've been speaking with Laura Wingard -- digital editor. And also Megan Burks. Thanks for coming in and talking to us. Thank you

Reporters from four California public media newsrooms — KPBS, KPCC in Pasadena, KQED in San Francisco and Capital Public Radio in Sacramento — are teaming up this election year to ask why some people don't cast their ballots and why others make it a priority.

The project is called California Counts.

In an interview with KQED, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said there are 6.7 million eligible California voters who are not registered to vote, and that they are disproportionally minorities, young and from working-class families.

Padilla said immigrants and young people may not come from a family with a tradition of voting, and so he talks to high school and community college students about voting.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla

"My parents were immigrants to this country, and they didn't take me to vote, not because they didn't want to, but because they weren't eligible," he said. "I can imagine the millions of California children who were growing up without that experience. We have to get out there and increase civic education in our schools."

To start the California Counts project, the stations asked voters what issues are most important to them this election. People wrote the issues on their hands or held up signs with the issues, and posted them on Twitter using the hashtags #CACounts and #whatsmyissue.

At Cool Down Coffee in Chula Vista, Alex Lopez said his issue is education.

At All The Perks in La Mesa, Whitney Bautista singled out the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, a bipartisan job training bill President Barack Obama signed into law.

Whitney Bautista of La Mesa holds up a sign showing the most important issue to her in the 2016 election, Jan. 22, 2016.
Brooke Ruth
Whitney Bautista of La Mesa holds up a sign showing the most important issue to her in the 2016 election, Jan. 22, 2016.

Steven Belchamber of Santee said his issue is adherence to biblical principles.

Steven Belchamber of Santee holds up a sign showing the most important issue to him in the 2016 election, Jan. 22, 2016.
Brooke Ruth
Steven Belchamber of Santee holds up a sign showing the most important issue to him in the 2016 election, Jan. 22, 2016.

And Hannah Fletcher of Santee said she's most concerned with the Affordable Care Act.

Hannah Fletcher of Santee holds up a sign showing the most important issue to her in the 2016 election, Jan. 22, 2016.
Brooke Ruth
Hannah Fletcher of Santee holds up a sign showing the most important issue to her in the 2016 election, Jan. 22, 2016.

These issues and others are helping people decide who they’ll vote for in the presidential race on down, as well as on local and state ballot measures.

During the California Counts project, KPBS wants to hear what issues will influence your voting decisions. Take this survey to give us your answer.

We will also be bringing you stories about efforts to increase voter turnout in San Diego, including profiles of voters who never miss an election. And we’ll ask people who never vote why that is.

What Issues Do San Diego Voters Care About?