Voting Is Important– Even In Primaries

You need to vote today. I know, it’s ‘just a primary’ – who cares? Well, as we learned in the 2016 elections – it matters. Primaries matter.

Voting is a tremendous benefit of being an American and we should all vote, every chance we get. Even if you hate all the choices (not like that ever happens!) you need to be involved in the system and expressing an opinion.

Because there is more on the ballot, and more at risk than simply the headliners like Gavin versus Antonio. This year there are issues on the ballot that need your attention, there are tax issues for homeowners, a water bond that is a precursor to another one we’re slated to have in November. There is a whole slew of judges to be approved for an overburdened, underfunded judiciary.

And there’s the Governor’s battle between Antonio, Gavin, John and Jeffrey. Pick one, or one of the other choices, but we need to have votes counted to decide who’ll be the candidate.

In the most interesting race this time current Senator Feinstein is being opposed by state Sen. Kevin De Leon – so yes it is possible that we could have an exciting Senate race if De Leon manages to grab the nomination.

Primaries are generally boring, and usually not big draws for the voters – and I grant you that there is not a lot of sexy on this year’s ballot except for the Governor’s race which has several well-qualified individuals running in what is pretty much a North/South matchup between former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and for San Francisco Mayor and current Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, there are others in the race but those are the two big draws this year.

I don’t have recommendations for anything this election – other than you should vote. Thousands of men and women have fought and died for the right to go stand in a box with maybe a flimsy curtain to state their choice for the government leadership – and I don’t think it’s proper that we throw away that right.

We live in a state where there is little to no voter suppression, in other states it clearly happens – mostly to suppress a minority (read: African-American) vote. We are lucky in Santa Monica to have access to safe polls, to a system that allows our voices to be heard. Speak up.

In our little burg, we have some issues that are making the rounds for the November ballot: Term Limits is a big one and it could have a huge effect on the future of the city. Much like the issue of whether or not we have at-large voting for our councilmembers. That’s to be decided in a pending court case, but how we elect people is crucial to how long we allow them to stay in office.

Term limits are important for a rotation of power and leadership. Personally, I am a big believer in changing leaders after a reasonable amount of time for them to feather nests. There is no greater argument in favor of this to me than the current President. Much as he may like the idea of being President for Life – I’m not. We need to nourish new ideas, let others have a shot at leading and shake things up. I don’t agree with the idea of being a blind party voter. I’ve voted on both sides of the aisle because I believe that we need to have ideas from all quarters. The power of voting is not that you will always be on the winning side, it’s that you participated, and the rest of the community participated to come to a consensus.

The system only works if you participate, otherwise, the other guy wins by default. And we see where that got us.

David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at or 310/664-9969. You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra