Staff Editorial: Lazy, apathetic voters

It is not surprising that voters could not care less about the Los Angeles mayoral elections, especially when Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is more associated with the tabloids than with effective governance.

The recent elections, held on March 5, had less of a voter turnout than elections in the nation’s leading apathy capitals, Chicago and New York. Maybe voters were more focused on the photos of Villaraigosa surrounded by alcohol, women, porn stars and Charlie Sheen, according to a press released distributed by the PR News Channel.

Of the six running, no candidate received a majority of the primary votes to be elected outright. Top hopefuls, Democrats Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel, have advanced to a runoff vote on May 21.

According to preliminary numbers, only 16 percent of LA residents went to the polls or mailed in ballots. That is an awfully small group of residents deciding the leadership of our cities and schools.

Blowing off an election is just plain lazy. On the other hand, we have not seen a real dedication to campaigning from the candidates — there are relatively few campaign signs or political ads, not much in the way of door-to-door campaigns, and no letters or calls about the candidates to the Los Angeles Times, the newspaper reports.

But the roots of apathy are present at Santa Monica College as the Associated Students campaign this week.

The on-campus polling locations were desolate Tuesday, despite signs that read "free cookie if you vote." Even when asked to vote by candidate Alex Abramoff, many passing students responded with indifference.

According to Sharon Smith, a private consultant manning the polling location in the cafeteria, no more than 20 people have voted in the cafeteria since the booth has been open as of Tuesday afternoon.

The AS should not have to bribe voters with treats. These are our elected students representatives who appropriate our funds. Elections should matter to us.