This is your Afternoon Report.
Today is Election Day and everyone was scurrying to the polls to cast their votes. I was looking for the black sheep in our midst – the Missionites who don’t vote.
My informal quest turned up only a few, but showed that the young residents I ran into are making an effort to be informed while older voters already have a habit of voting but might not be completely informed about the propositions. Interestingly, there were also a lot of ineligible voters – lack of citizenship – who clearly knew their politics. Few out today however, turned out to be non-voters or at least were willing to acknowledge it.
Next to a polling place at Back to the Picture on Valencia Street, the manager Derek Hargrove concluded, “the neighborhood is upwardly mobile and they vote because it affects their money. They vote here because they are educated,” he said.
At Mission Thrift, Marilyn Fernando, 24, will be casting her vote later today in an effort to be more responsible this year. “It affects me more, I’m serious about school and props can help me about saving money,” she said. How they can help her save money was unclear, but I moved on to the next engaged young person who turned out to be one who could not vote.
René Fernandez, 23 works at Elite Sports on Mission and 23rd Streets, says that he is not a citizen and can’t vote, but he stays informed. “I go online,” he said “I don’t take the advertisement seriously, I can see through it.”
It appears from my random interviews that he is not alone.
At Diju Jewelry on 24th and Mission Streets, Diana Medina, 50, also said her citizenship status means she cannot vote. However, she said, she is active in the community and belongs to Mission Small Businesses Association where she has acquired a political awareness.
“I hear about everything,” she said adding that she pays no attention to political advertisements.
At Perfumes Paris, on 24th, Gracia Ávila, 38, said “I am a mom and a renter, so at least I pay attention to those issues,” she said referring to propositions G, F and E. Ávila said she gets her news from reading the papers, disregards political advertisements and goes online to keep up. She maintains a keen interest despite her inability to vote because of her citizenship status.
At Adobe Books, Kate, 29, plans to vote later today although she hasn’t been voting in the past because she was basically “self-absorbed” and busy with school.
Although she is now in a position to be more aware of what happens at a local level, she never casts a vote in federal elections because she feels “California votes my way, anyway.”
The goal, she said, was to educate herself on the propositions and how each might affect her. This time around she discarded the political propaganda and read the voters guide with her roommate.
Not all voters are the ideal voter, although they do have the habit of going to the polls and many vote early by mail. Dora Lacayo, who works at an optometry in the Mission Medical Building, said that she mails her ballot in early and has voted for Democratic Party candidates for the past 15 years. At the local level, the propositions are overwhelming. “It’s complicated,” she said as to how she sorts them out.
This has been your Afternoon Report—a new series we’re trying out in which we offer a quickie post-meridian rundown of some minor developments in the always-happening streets of the Mission District. Got ideas or suggestions? Let us know what you think by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.