Boyle Heights residents cast their votes at Pico Gardens Community Cultural Center. / Photo by Jonathan Olivares

As voters throughout California prepare to vote in the upcoming presidential primary, qualified residents of Los Angeles County will get to decide on a number of initiatives and –in some sections of the city of Los Angeles– on who will get to represent them in local government.

For residents of City Council District 14, that means electing who will represent people living in Boyle Heights, as well as sections of downtown Los Angeles and neighboring Northeast communities such as El Sereno and Eagle Rock.

Five candidates have qualified to have their names printed on the March 3 ballot. They are teacher and former state senator Kevin De León, LAUSD board member Mónica García, nonprofit organization executive John Jiménez, organizer and businesswoman Cyndi Otteson and educator and businesswoman Raquel Zamora.

While all candidates are required by law to live within the council district, only one of the five is a Boyle Heights resident. Raquel Zamora’s family owns Zamora Bros., a popular carnitas restaurant in Boyle Heights.  Candidate Jiménez was born in Boyle Heights; he has said he is a resident of Eagle Rock, as is Ottenson.

Two other women have been certified as write-in candidates – Jamie Tijerina and Maria Janossy. Their names do not appear on the ballot but their names are supposed to be available on a list viewable to voters at polling places. (Voters may also choose to “write in” a different candidate).

The race is unique because of the number of women running. A woman has never represented the district in the City Council.

The leader in the race is De León, who as of February had raised over $835,000 in donations, far outnumbering his nearest contender, raising more than three times as much money as Mónica García. De León also leads in major endorsements, including stated support from major labor unions, such as the Los Angeles Federation of Labor. In January, the former State Senate president pro tem received endorsements from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and La Opinion, the nation’s largest Spanish-language newspaper. In February he was endorsed by California Governor Gavin Newsom, an unusual step in a local election.

Besides voting for City Council, Boyle Heights voters will have to decide on a number of other candidates and measures at the city, county and state level. Most notable at the county level is the race for District Attorney, in which incumbent Jackie Lacey faces challenges from former San Francisco D.A. George Gascón and former public defender Rachel Rossi.

In the 53rd district for the State Assembly, incumbent Miguel Santiago faces opposition from a single candidate, Godfrey Santos Plata. In the 34th District of the House of Representatives, Democratic incumbent Jimmy Gómez is running against three other Democrats –David Kim, Keanakay Scott and Frances Yasmeen Motiwalla– and one Republican, Joanne L. Wright.

Among the measures facing voters, state measure 13 proposes a $15 billion bond for schools and college facilities and county measure R looks to revise the duties and powers of the Sheriff’s Civilian Oversight Commission.

At the national level, California’s March 3 primary take place on so-called Super Tuesday –a day where similar primaries take place in 13 other states and in the U.S. Pacific territory of American Samoa.

Voters in the Democratic primary will get to choose from a wide field of candidates, including several who have dropped out of the race but are still on the ballot. Only four candidates are officially still on the race: Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Michael Bloomberg.

There will also be primaries for the Republican party –with incumbent Donald Trump expected to win– as well as in the Libertarian, Green, American Independent and Peace and Freedom parties. 

The Democratic, Libertarian and American Independent parties allow unaffiliated voters to vote in their primaries –all they need to do is request a crossover ballot when they show up to vote. Those who vote by mail, however, need to request a crossover ballot by Feb. 25.

The Republican, Green and Peace and Freedom parties do not allow crossover voting; those registered as having “no party preference” may change their affiliation to vote in the primaries of one of these three parties, but they must do so by Feb. 18. That’s also the last day to register online or by mail for the elections, but recent changes in state law make it possible for voters to register up to March 3 at county elections offices or any voting site.

In Los Angeles County, one-day, neighborhood polling places are a thing of the past. Through this year’s implementation of the 2016 Voter’s Choice Act, Los Angeles voters will be able to execute their ballots beginning Feb. 22 –10 full days ahead of March 3– at a number of voting centers throughout the County.

For this election, seven voting centers will be available in Boyle Heights (though half of them will only be available for four consecutive days, beginning on Feb, 29. The local voting centers will be: Evergreen Recreation Club, Hazard Recreation Center and Alma Family Services (starting Feb. 22) and Church of Assumption, Boyle Heights City Hall, Tenrikyo Mission and the Weingart East LA YMCA (starting Feb. 29). 

Detailed voter and election information is available at

Boyle Heights Voting Places

Evergreen Recreational Center
2844 E 2nd St, Los Angeles CA 90033
Hours: February 22 – March 2: 8am – 5pm; March 3: 7am – 8pm

Hazard Recreational Center
2230 Norfolk St, Los Angeles CA 90033
Hours: February 22 – March 2: 8am – 5pm; March 3: 7am – 8pm

Alma Family Services
3218 Wabash Ave, Los Angeles CA 90063
Hours: February 22 – March 2: 8am – 5pmMarch 3: 7am – 8pm

Boyle Heights City Hall
2130 E 1st St,
Los Angeles CA 90033
Hours: February 29 – March 2: 8am – 5pm; March 3: 7am – 8pm

Tenrikyo Mission
117 N Saratoga St, Los Angeles CA 90033
Hours: February 29 – March 2: 8am – 5pm; March 3: 7am – 8pm

Assumption Church
2832 Blanchard St, Los Angeles CA 90033
Hours: February 29 – March 2: 8am – 5pm; March 3: 7am – 8pm

Weingart East LA YMCA
2900 Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90023
Hours: February 29- March 2: 8am-5pm
March 3: 7am-8pm

For a complete guide to candidates and other voting issues, go to

#Vote2020 – The March 3 elections

This story was updated on March 2.

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Valentina Guevara-Hernández

Valentina Guevara-Hernández is a senior at Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School. She passes her time watching documentaries, making music playlists, and editing for her school’s newspaper. After...

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