Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Legislators discuss declining voter turnout

Julia Croteau of Rescue, drops her mail ballot in a drop box outside of the El Dorado County Elections Department on Election Day, in November 2008.
Julia Croteau of Rescue, drops her mail ballot in a drop box outside of the El Dorado County Elections Department on Election Day, in November 2008. lsterling@sacbee.com

A record-low 42.2 percent of California voters participated in last November’s statewide general election, five months after a mere 25 percent of them voted in the June 2014 primary.

Lawmakers, political consultants and other experts will discuss the reasons for the growing election apathy and possible solutions at “Understanding California’s Voter Turnout Crisis: The Decline of Civic Participation,” an event hosted by the Leadership California Institute. So far this year, lawmakers have put forward proposals for automatic voter registration and other efforts to help reverse the voter drought.

The lineup of speakers includes state Sen. Ben Allen D-Santa Monica, and Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang R-Diamond Bar. Kim Alexander, president and founder of the California Voter Foundation, and Anthony York, editor and publisher of the Grizzly Bear Project, will also contribute to the forum.

The event is at 11 a.m. at the Citizen Hotel, 926 J Street.

FRACKING: Two years ago, Gov. Jerry Brown signed California’s most comprehensive legislation on the controversial oil and gas drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing. The measure mandates permits and groundwater monitoring for energy companies seeking to begin new fracking wells, as well as requiring the state to conduct an independent scientific assessment of well stimulation in California. The second set of those reports is set to be released today. The California Council on Science and Technology will present its findings, including how well stimulation could affect water, atmosphere, seismic activity, wildlife and vegetation, and human health, 3 p.m. at the California Environmental Protection Agency on I Street.

BREAST CANCER SEMINAR: Recent research suggests that women with dense breast tissue may not need the additional cancer screenings often recommended by physicians – well-intentioned caution that can lead to false positives and burdensome costs. Joy Melkinow, director for the Center of Health Policy and Research at UC Davis, will discuss the changing evidence on cancer screenings and prevention, and its effect on public health guidelines, noon at the UC Center Sacramento on K Street.

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