KPBS: San Diego Group Works To Boost Voter Turnout

KPBS: San Diego Group Works To Boost Voter Turnout

By Susan Murphy

Just 20 percent of registered voters in San Diego cast a ballot in the June primary. Some experts blamed a lack of heated races combined with voter fatigue.

San Diegans had voted for a new mayor, a city councilwoman, a state senator and an assemblywoman — mostly in separate special elections and all within 18 months.

Andrea Guerrero, executive director of Alliance San Diego, has another reason: she says people were unaware there was an election.

"In July, Alliance San Diego surveyed 1,000 voters in low-voting communities to ask them if they knew when the next election was and only a quarter knew," Guerrero said.

Low-frequency voters don't receive campaign literature or learn about elections through news sources, added Guerrero.

To get the word out about the upcoming November election, the civic group launched a non-partisan campaign, hiring a team of 70 people to reach 50,000 infrequent voters over the next six weeks.

"Our work has shown that when we engage voters in a peer-to-peer model... community-to-community, and we do it in the language of that voter, that we have a better success rate for converting that infrequent voter into an active voter," Guerrero said.

The advocacy group plans to talk to voters door-to-door and over the phone. They've also launched an online campaign at

"We believe that our democracy matters and we can’t move forward in addressing the problems of the day — whether that’s an environmental problem, jobs problem, or a civil rights problem — if the affected communities are not engaged in the policy-making that effects us all," Guerrero said.

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