Mixer: Pulling lever or pulling teeth?

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friday mixer bannerExercising is tough. Voting is (relatively) easy. So why don’t Americans work that out?

Judging by meager turnout, Americans aren’t the most engaged people when it comes to voting… especially in off-year elections.

For last year’s mayoral election in Los Angeles, only about 23 percent of voters turned out at the polls.

Americans over 18-years old and registered to vote, and who haven’t had that right taken away, have the legal right to cast their ballot. But for whatever reasons, a large percentage of the population doesn’t do that.

And that often means some important races are decided by a select few.

For the Mixer this week, Joe Mathews, California columnist for Zocalo Public Square, offered his thoughts.

And, for a more worldly perspective, we also were joined by Bruno Kaufman, Northern European correspondent for Swiss National Radio.

There are a number of proposals to get more people to the polls. Including a lottery that would pay lucky winners, making voting more convenient, and others. An idea that’s been tried in other countries as well, including Kaufman’s Sweden.

Even the Los Angeles City Council is getting into the act by trying to coordinate mayoral and city council elections with other big, even-year elections. City officials say not only would that generate more interest, but it would also save money on polling costs.

Toward that end, the council voted today to allow voters to decide in a March referendum.