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 (but voters may still choose to “write in” a different candidate). The race is unique in that three of the five candidates are women. A woman has never represented the district in the City Council. 

The qualified five 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. 

The Boyle Heights Beat has not independently verified published reports that candidate Jiménez was born in Boyle Heights; he has said he is a resident of Eagle Rock, as is Ottenson.

The leader in the race is De León, who as of January 18 had raised $640,000 in donations, far outnumbering his nearest contender, raising almost 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. This week 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.

Among the measures facing voters, state measure 13 proposes a $15 billion bond for schools and college facilities.  

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: Bernie Sanders, Ellizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Andrew Yang and Julián Castro (who is still on the ballot, despite officially dropping from the race).

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

4-day sites11-day sites
Boyle Heights City Hall
2130 E 1st St,
Los Angeles CA 90033
Hours: February 29 – March 2: 8am – 5pmMarch 3: 7am – 8pm

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

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

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

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

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

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