Monthly Archives: July 2012

Who Votes in California? (Hint: it’s not the majority)

Includes interactive map of voting rates and party affiliation throughout California
Click each county on the map below for stats on California’s eligible and registered voters, as well as a breakdown of political party affiliation (but keep in mind there’s a big difference between registered and “likely” voters). The darker the shade, the higher the percentage of registered voters.

(Source: California Secretary of State, May 2012 data)

President Lyndon B. Johnson, who signed the Voting Rights Act into law in 1965, called voting “the basic right, without which all others are meaningless.”

But in California – where nearly 24 million adults are eligible to vote – the number of people who actually take advantage of this right is surprisingly small.

Consider these California voting stats (approximated):

                  • 24 million: People who are eligible to vote
                  • 17 million: People registered to vote (about 72% of those who are eligible)
                  • 6 million: “Likely voters” (those who regularly vote)
                  • 5.3 million: The number of votes cast in the June 2012 primary election

Public Policy Institute of California survey also found that California’s “likely voters” are not  representative of the state’s racial and economic diversity. About 65 percent of them are white (even though whites make up only 44 percent of the state’s adult population) and only 17 percent Latino (who make up about one-third of the state’s population). Likely voters are also generally older, more educated, more affluent, and far more likely to own a home than the average Californian. And more than 80 percent were born in the U.S.

For more on how to register to vote and who is eligible, go here.

Why Do So Many Californians Choose NOT to Vote?

Guest post by Jennifer A. Waggoner
President, League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

kristin_a/Flickr

Voting is essential to the democratic process; it allows citizens to participate in shaping the role and scope of government. And it remains one of the most powerful and interactive forms of civic engagement.

In most Democratic nations throughout the world, universal suffrage is a right that’s been fought hard for. And in some democracies, voting among the adult population is actually mandatory.

Yet in America, it’s a right that’s grown strikingly underutilized. Continue reading

The Deal with the Delta (California’s big watering hole)

Includes: map and video


View Larger Map

About two-thirds of Californians drink, bathe, brush their teeth, and flush their toilets with water that comes from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. That’s roughly 25 million people who get at least some portion of their hydration from one big triangular watering hole.

But ask most folks what the Delta is, and you’re guaranteed to get a lot of blank stares. One recent poll found that about 4 out 5 people in California had pretty much no idea about it.

 

It’s pretty easy to take for granted that water magically pours out of the tap when you turn your faucet on. But chances are, that H20 has gone through a pretty serious journey to reach you – and it’s probably worth knowing where it comes from, and how safe the supply is. Continue reading

The Cost of California’s Public Universities

Includes: interactive map

Click on each marker for undergraduate cost and debt information. California State University’s 23 undergraduate campuses are in blue. University of California’s nine campuses (excluding UCSF) are in red.

Sources: The California State University; University of California; Collegedata.com

The cost of knowledge at California’s public universities ain’t what it used to be.

About 600,000 college students attend one of the 32 California State University and University of California schools (UC San Francisco is the 33rd, but doesn’t have an undergraduate program). The state has, by far, the largest network of public four-year colleges in the country. And until fairly recently, going to school at a public school in California was a really good deal for in-state students.
But recent steep cuts in higher education funding have led to major spikes in the tuition tab. Just last year, California’s public universities enacted a tuition hike of 21 percent, the steepest increase of any state, according to the College Board.
The average in-state tuition and fees for a CSU school – at about $6,500 – is still relatively affordable compared to public universities in other states, but just ten years ago it was just about a third of the cost. Tuition increases in the UC system have followed suit; undergrads can now expect to shell out more than $13,000 a year. And of course, that’s before you even begin to consider books, supplies, and room and board, which more than doubles the cost. The result: fewer options for lower-income students and more loans and debt for graduates to pay off.

10 Resources To Help Make Sense of the Health Care Decision

Includes: resource links

In the week since the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling upholding key parts of President Obama’s health care law (“Obamacare”) – namely, the individual mandate that everyone buy insurance –  Americans have been inundated by an endless deluge of analysis and commentary. Making sense of it all is challenging, so here are 10 good resources that help connect the dots. Continue reading