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What Issues Matter To You In The 2016 Election?

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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.

Photo caption: Alex Lopez of Chula Vista holds up a sign showing the most important issue to...

Photo by 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.

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.

Photo caption: Whitney Bautista of La Mesa holds up a sign showing the most important issue ...

Photo by 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.

Photo caption: Steven Belchamber of Santee holds up a sign showing the most important issue ...

Photo by 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.

Photo caption: Hannah Fletcher of Santee holds up a sign showing the most important issue to...

Photo by 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.

KPBS Reporter Claire Trageser asks San Diegans what issues they're prioritizing this election season.

California Counts is a collaboration of KPBS, KPCC, KQED and Capital Public Radio. Our coverage focuses on major issues and solicits diverse voices on what's important to the future of California.

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