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Do your Sacramento neighbors vote? Check out the map

When it comes to voting in Sacramento, choosing whether or not to head to polls on election day is largely predicted by neighborhood.
When it comes to voting in Sacramento, choosing whether or not to head to polls on election day is largely predicted by neighborhood. AP

Land Park does it. Oak Park, not so much.

When it comes to voting in Sacramento, choosing whether or not to head to polls on Election Day is largely predicted by neighborhood.

Wealthier parts of the city tend to have higher voter turnout than those that struggle socio-economically, according to UC Davis researcher Mindy Romero.

Romero runs the California Civic Engagement Project at UC Davis and examines the way politics and race collide.

She looked at local voter data from the 2014 election and found “shocking” disparities between high-income areas like the Pocket area, where about 59 percent of residents cast a ballot, and lower-income areas like Meadowview, where 32.5 percent of people voted.

The 30-point gap was similar between the close-by areas of Land Park, where nearly 63 percent voted and the median home value is about $578,000, and Oak Park, where the number plunged to about 31 percent and averages houses sell for about $288,500, according to Zillow Home Value Index.

The worst voter turnout in Sacramento was in the Hagginwood area, where only 27 percent of eligible residents made it to polls.

Highest turnout was in River Park and Wilhaggin, where 69 to 70 percent of people voted.

Across the county, voters age 18-24 on average made up less than 30 percent of registered voters who made it to their polling places.

The only bright spot for young voters was in the northwest county, where more than 40 percent of young adults performed their civic duty.

Those disparities have “real consequence,” Romero said. She said the low-income, low-vote areas often have poorer outcomes for education, health and economics.

“The communities that have the lowest turnout rates are also the communities that are in greatest need for change,” she said.

Voter turnout in Sacramento County

In the 2014 general election, some of the lowest rates of voter turnout were in Del Paso Heights and Fruitridge.

Source: California Civic Engagement Project
 

Councilman Eric Guerra, who represents ethnically diverse areas around Tahoe Park, said some low-income voters may shun polls because they don’t see an effect on their circumstances from voting.

“In some situations, I will tell you that many people feel. … They’ve been forgotten by their government. It’s not working for me, so why do I even care?” he said.

Romero said Asian Americans and Latinos in challenged neighborhoods vote even less than the already-low area averages.

In Sacramento County, about 33 percent of eligible voters turned out in 2014, but only 18 percent of eligible Asian American voters turned out, and about 20 percent of Latino voters.

Guerra has been working with nonprofit NextGen in past weeks to register voters. Working with Latino veterans, he’s helped sign up more than 3,000 Latino voters in four weeks.

Guerra said one of his proudest moments was standing on stage at the Crest Theatre when he took his oath of citizenship, and he feels a strong pull to get more immigrants engaged in civics.

“To have that dialogue is important,” he said. “As government, we have to do a better job to engage the public.”

Romero said that in this contentious election year, voting numbers may rise. Early ballots are showing strong returns and turnout may be higher than in 2014.

“It’s a weird dynamic,” she said. “People are feeling turned off, but it looks like they are going to vote … because there is a sense that there are high stakes.”

Anita Chabria: 916-321-1049, @chabriaa

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