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KPBS Evening Edition

Get-Out-The-Vote Mural Goes Up In City Heights

Photographer Rafael Rios discusses a mural he helped create, June 13, 2016.
Matthew Bowler
Photographer Rafael Rios discusses a mural he helped create, June 13, 2016.
Get-Out-The-Vote Mural Goes Up In City Heights
Get-Out-The-Vote Mural Goes Up In City Heights
KPBS has teamed up with The AjA Project and the Copley-Price Family YMCA to draw attention to the issue of voter turnout using the public mural that lets people share why they vote.

This month’s election is over. But for community nonprofits in San Diego City Council District 9, the effort to get out the vote has just begun.

The council district is home to one of San Diego’s lowest turnout precincts in City Heights and one of its highest in Kensington. KPBS, as part of its California Counts election coverage, has been focusing on this area and what it would take to get more people to go to the polls.

California Counts is a collaboration of KPBS, KPCC, KQED and Capital Public Radio to report on the 2016 election. The coverage focuses on major issues and solicits diverse voices on what's important to the future of California.

A mural created by the arts nonprofit AjA Project on the Copley-Price Family YMCA, June 15, 2016.
Katie Schoolov
A mural created by the arts nonprofit AjA Project on the Copley-Price Family YMCA, June 15, 2016.

We’ve teamed up with arts nonprofit The AjA Project and the Copley-Price Family YMCA to draw attention to the issue with a public mural.

The banner went up this week on the facade of the YMCA on the border of City Heights and Kensington. In it, District 9 residents hold signs saying why they vote. “Because I love City Heights and want to make it better,” says one. “Because it affects the whole world,” says another.

Photographer Rafael Rios volunteered his time for the project. He described a Vietnamese immigrant whose sign reads, “I vote because I am an American citizen.”

“Beyond the language and beyond the culture, she feels like she belongs to this place and this community, and that’s why she wants to vote,” Rios said.

Beneath the portraits, KPBS will track voter registration in the district through November — a reminder to pedestrians passing by and motorists idling at a nearby stoplight to register to vote.

Less than half of those eligible to vote in the district are currently registered.

“They can have the message that the people wrote on their papers and bring it home and have at least a discussion in their mind about their vote and how important it is for their community,” Rios said.

The photos were taken at the City Heights Farmers Market, where residents from throughout the district shop on Saturdays.

Tell us why you vote by using #cacounts on Twitter and Instagram.