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City Heights Voter Turnout Likely Increased, Along With Rest of San Diego County

Poll workers set up for the start of in-person voting at the Mid-City Gym in ...

Photo by Zoë Meyers / inewsource

Above: Poll workers set up for the start of in-person voting at the Mid-City Gym in City Heights, Oct. 30, 2020.

Voter turnout in this week’s general election reached 68.1% as of Friday afternoon -- but ballots will still be counted for days to come.

Based on the numbers of ballots left to be counted, the county’s registrar estimates that projected voter turnout will be between 80 percent and 85 percent. This would surpass the 66% turnout in 2018’s gubernatorial race, and possibly surpass 2016’s presidential election turnout.

Listen to this story by Max Rivlin-Nadler.

Communities like City Heights have been targeting this election as a chance to boost their voter turnout and wield more political power. In 2014, the neighborhood had the lowest turnout in the county. Since then, community organizers have led a deliberate march towards higher voter participation.

Griselda Ramirez, the director of civic engagement at Mid-City Community Action Network, said this turnout effort has been a success, even with the pandemic putting a halt on in-person canvassing.

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“It looks good, I think people in City Heights turned out,” Ramirez told KPBS.

Right now, voting precincts in the neighborhood are at around 50 percent turnout but Ramirez thinks they’ll be higher when all the votes are counted.

“I’m hopeful that we can get to 68-70 percent, that will be ideal.”

Ramirez also thinks that the increased use of vote-by-mail, necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, will outlast stay-at-home orders.

“I think that with the experience our community had this time around, it might be a possibility where more people will be voting by mail, avoiding the lines and submitting their votes early,” she said.

In the future, Ramirez believes that the key to higher turnout will be better language access for this diverse, majority-immigrant community.

“Just the access, I think that making sure there’s in-language information. The City Heights community, it’s not only English and Spanish, we’re talking about 80 different dialects here. So how do we reach the community in the right language to the entire population of City Heights?”

This year's vote count must be certified by December 3rd, 30 days after the election.

Election 2020 news coverage

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Photo of Max Rivlin-Nadler

Max Rivlin-Nadler
Speak City Heights Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover City Heights, a neighborhood at the intersection of immigration, gentrification, and neighborhood-led health care initiatives. I'm interested in how this unique neighborhood deals with economic inequality during an unprecedented global health crisis.

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