My LA2050


Grants Challenge


$1,000,000 to make LA the best place to learn, create, play, connect, and live.

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LA Votes

Center for the Study of Los Angeles

LA Votes

About Your Proposal

In one sentence, please describe what your organization does.

The Center for the Study of Los Angeles is a leading undergraduate research center, conducting public opinion surveys, exit polling, and leadership and community studies.

In one to three sentences, please describe your project proposal.

This grant would guarantee another successful LA Votes Project during the LA Primary Election on March 7, 2017. The LA Votes Project consists of two parts: an exit poll in the City of LA and an election day reception titled Election Central. Over 15 years, LMUStudyLA has organized 10 exit polls, mobilized 1,000+ LMU students as field researchers, collected 12,000+ exit surveys, fostered dozens of media hits, and hosted hundreds of guests at past Election Central celebrations.

How much are you applying for?

$50,000

How will your proposal impact the following CONNECT metrics?

  • Social & emotional support
  • Cultural events
  • Public/open streets gatherings
  • Government responsiveness to residents’ needs
  • Participation in neighborhood councils
  • Rates of volunteerism
  • Residential segregation
  • Voting rates

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

Central LA, East LA, San Gabriel Valley, San Fernando Valley, South LA, Westside, South Bay, Gateway Cities, Antelope Valley, County of Los Angeles (please select only if your project has a countywide benefit), City of Los Angeles (please select only if your project has a citywide benefit), LAUSD

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to CONNECT?

Who are voters in Los Angeles? What are their priorities? Why are they engaged? How can we grow this level of engagement? How can we turn their priorities into realities? In a city as large, complex, and diverse as Los Angeles answering these questions is a real challenge. Organized and executed over the last fifteen years by the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University (LMUStudyLA), the LA Votes project seeks the answers to these questions by interweaving research, civic engagement, service, and dialogue to network, empower, and inform Angelenos about their electoral landscape, civic decisions, and self-identity.

LMUstudyLA has amassed valuable insight into voter patterns, identity, and priorities through its fifteen years of research. Concurrently, it has advocated for reform successfully with the following two examples serving as highlights:

LMUstudyLA's reporting of inequities in polling place conditions during LA Votes prompted the late California State legislator Jenny Oropeza into passing AB177: Voter Bill of Rights legislation in to law in 2003, which sought to 'protect all voters so that they may understand and defend their rights.'

LMUstudyLA's Director chaired the City of Los Angeles Municipal Elections Reform Commission in 2014 which ultimately led to Charter Amendments 1 & 2. These amendments were approved by Angeleno voters in 2015 and addressed the issue of low voter turnout in LA Municipal Elections by moving them to the election days with the highest turnout, June and November of the even years, alongside gubernatorial and presidential contests.

The LA Votes Project researching the Municipal Primary Election held on March 7, 2017 will continue to build on this legacy through an exit poll of LA voters and an election reception titled Election Central.

The LA Votes' Municipal Primary Election Exit Poll will engage 150 undergraduate students at LMU during their spring break. Through the field research they'll be conducting in their community they will learn to become engaged citizens invested in their civic processes. In addition to conducting field research all eligible students will be casting absentee ballots given their commitment to research on Election Day.

With LA Votes' Election Central, hundreds of Angelenos will be given the opportunity to celebrate and observe their electoral process in a centralized, convenient, location free of charge. In addition, Election Central attendees will be given the opportunity to interact with and engage with various civic stakeholders and leaders including city officials, county officials, elected officials, staff, academics, journalists, and activists.

The ultimate goal of LA Votes is to foster a stronger sense of Angeleno identity that goes beyond labels and focuses on tangible results, commitment to the local community, and most importantly true civic dialogue.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

Given the nature of the LA Votes project there are three very clear measures of success. These include the accuracy of our Municipal Primary Election Exit Poll, the attendance figures for Election Central, and the number of media hits we receive before, during, and after the election. In addition, the 15 years of experience we have with this project give us the opportunity to compare against previous iterations of the project and seek out improvements.

For the Municipal Primary Election Exit Poll, we will unofficially know how accurate we are by 8 pm on Election Day and officially as soon as the LA City Clerk certifies the election results. Our high watermark for accuracy was during the May 2013 Mayoral General Election Exit Poll when we were within three tenths of a percent (0.3%) of the official results. We hope to improve on that record in 2017.

Regarding Election Central, we will know the level of success of the event unofficially by the RSVP list one day prior to the event and officially the day after when we look through our list of confirmed attendees and sort through the hundreds of images we’ll take at the event.

Lastly, counting the number of media hits and increases in followers to our various social networks in the days following the election will serve as the final metric for the success of our project.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money
  • Publicity/awareness
  • Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles etc.)
  • Technical infrastructure (computers etc.)
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support