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LA County Board of Supervisors
The winners of Districts 2, 4 and 5 will join a five-member board that oversees a county of about 10 million residents, more than the population of most states.
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What does the L.A. County Board of Supervisors do?

The L.A. County supervisors are some of the most powerful local government officials in the country. The five board members oversee a county of about 10 million residents, a number that exceeds the population of most U.S. states. The supervisors also hire the powerful county chief executive.

The Board of Supervisors can pass local laws with a three-fifths vote. Unlike at the city level, where the elected mayor can veto a law passed by the city council, the county CEO cannot veto a Board of Supervisors decision.

County supervisors are paid a little more than $232,000 a year.

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Many people run for supervisor after holding state and federal positions; for example, District 1 Supervisor Hilda Solis was the U.S. Secretary of Labor under President Barack Obama. Like all local offices in L.A. County, these are nonpartisan seats. That said, L.A. voters have been solidly electing Democrats and the Board of Supervisors has become increasingly progressive, although there is one Republican on the board: Kathryn Barger, who is up for reelection.

The board has limited influence over the 88 incorporated cities within L.A. County, such as Santa Monica and Inglewood and yes, the city of Los Angeles. But if you live in an unincorporated part of Los Angeles County, such as Altadena, Castaic, East L.A., Ladera Heights, Rowland Heights, South San Gabriel or Willowbrook, the Board of Supervisors is basically your city council.

You can find a list of all 125 unincorporated communities here. There are some areas where supervisors set policy for the entire county, including in the incorporated cities. They include:

  • Jails and juvenile detention 
  • Foster care
  • Social services
  • Mental health 
  • Public health, particularly the pandemic response (although Pasadena and Long Beach have their own health departments)
  • Sheriff’s Department (although some cities, such as Los Angeles, have their own police force, 40 municipalities contract with the Sheriff’s Department for law enforcement services)

More Voter Guides

How to evaluate judges

  • L.A. Superior Court: There are more than two dozen judges up for election or reelection.
  • Judge ratings: Understanding how the L.A. County Bar Association evaluates judicial candidates — and how it can help you cast your vote.

Head to LAist's Voter Game Plan for guides to the rest of your ballot including:

  • L.A. County Board of Supervisors: Three of the five seats are on the ballot.
  • L.A. City Council: There are seven seats up for grabs.
  • L.A. District Attorney: Meet the 12 candidates running to be the county's prosecutor.
  • LAUSD: Four seats are open for a seat at the table.
  • Prop. 1: Here's a closer look at the proposal at the center of a debate over how to best help people struggling with mental health, drug and alcohol issues.

Their role in transportation, housing

All five members of the Board of Supervisors also sit on the 14-member L.A. Metro Board of Directors.

At other times, L.A. County and individual cities make policies and decisions that layer on top of each other, such as efforts to address the homelessness crisis. The Board of Supervisors and L.A. City Council have a complicated relationship. Sometimes they coordinate successfully — for example, by passing Proposition H at the county level to allocate more funding for social services for unhoused residents, and Proposition HHH at the city level to build more transitional housing. The county and city passed similar eviction protections on roughly similar schedules. But the county and city also diverge and even clash — and when something is not going well, there’s a lot of finger pointing.

The Board of Supervisors also appoints the county superintendent of schools and county Board of Education (unlike L.A. Unified School District, whose board is elected by voters). The Board of Education provides a range of programs to the county's 80 independent school districts and 13 community college districts, including Head Start programs and classroom instruction to specialized student populations. It also oversees two high schools — the L.A. County High School for the Arts and International Polytechnic High School.

District boundaries

Supervisors are elected to four-year terms and can hold office for a maximum of 12 consecutive years — meaning they can run again after taking a break.

The district lines were updated in 2021.

You might recognize the supervisors’ work from …

Mental health: Los Angeles County supervisors voted in December 2023 to delay implementation of new legislation that expands the definitions of people living with mental illness or substance use issues who can be held against their will. Supervisors voted 4-1 to delay implementation until January 2026. Senate Bill 43, which was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in October 2023, changed state law to allow people living with a serious mental illness or a severe substance use disorder who are unable to provide for their personal safety or medical care to be deemed “gravely disabled” and held against their will. But supervisors raised concerns about whether the county would be ready to implement the expanded criteria by 2024.

Tenant protections: During the pandemic, the county increased eviction protections for renters affected by COVID-19 and froze rent hikes in many apartment buildings within unincorporated L.A. County. Those protections kept tens of thousands of renters in their homes after they fell behind on rent because of COVID-19. But the rules elicited protests from landlords who said missed rent payments caused them financial distress.

Sheriff oversight: The supervisors do not make policy for the Sheriff’s Department. Their power is financial: They approve its annual budget (although the sheriff determines how to spend the money). In 2016, the board created the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission, a nine-member body whose members are appointed by the supervisors. It’s an advisory panel, although county voters gave it subpoena power in March 2020, an authority that was enshrined in state law later that year. In 2014, the supervisors also created the position of Inspector General, whose role is to “promote constitutional policing and the fair and impartial administration  of justice.” The Inspector General serves, in part, as the Oversight Commission’s investigative arm.

What's on the agenda for the next term?

Men’s Central Jail: The Board of Supervisors has committed to closing the nearly 60-year-old "unsafe, crowded and crumbling" facility. A workgroup developed a plan in March 2021 to divert some 4,500 incarcerated people with mental health issues out of the county’s jails into treatment, creating room to transfer the remaining Men’s Central Jail population to other county facilities.

Juvenile justice: L.A. County's juvenile halls remain in crisis. The California Board of State and Community Corrections issued a report in 2023 that found inadequate health care and education programs, and a staffing crisis in which probation officers were refusing to show up to work because of deteriorating and violent conditions.

Homelessness crisis: The number of unhoused people continues to jump in L.A. County, despite years of effort and billions in spending. When will we start to see fewer people on the streets and in shelters? That’s a question on many minds in this year’s election. The county’s sales tax to address homelessness — Measure H — expires in 2027, and supervisors are looking at asking voters to extend it. The winners of this year’s supervisor elections will help shape what a possible ballot measure looks like — as well as how the county spends hundreds of millions a year to address the homelessness crisis.

Housing: Across Los Angeles County, more than half of tenants are paying rents considered unaffordable by the federal government. The county's severe lack of affordable housing continues to be a top concern for many voters. Local COVID-19 eviction protections ended in Spring 2023. Since then, L.A. County supervisors have voted to limit rent hikes in properties covered by the county's rent stabilization ordinance to 4%. Supervisors have also begun weighing proposals to require air conditioning in rental housing as temperatures rise due to climate change, and to provide low-income tenants facing eviction with free attorneys in court (the vast majority currently have no legal representation). Supervisor Lindsey Horvath, the board's only renter, has pushed for expanding tenant protections. Other supervisors, including Barger, have expressed concern about burdens on smaller landlords.

Vanlords: In 2024, the Board of Supervisors is expected to address the issue of "vanlords," who are people who rent out RVs for unhoused people to live in. Supervisors have asked for a plan from staff on how to crack down on “vanlords” and the encampments they create. (The number of people living in RVs across L.A. County has jumped 31% from 2020 to 2023, according to the annual homeless counts. About 11,500 people are estimated to live in roughly 6,800 RVs.)

District 2

Fast facts

  • State of the race: Incumbent Holly Mitchell, who was elected in 2020, is seeking re-election in a district that now combines historically Black enclaves with affluent Westside and coastal communities.
  • Number of candidates: 4
  • Where: The district includes the cities of El Segundo, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach along with the unincorporated community of Marina Del Rey and the Fairfax/Park La Brea and Larchmont Village neighborhoods of Los Angeles.

  • Key issues: housing affordability, homelessness, public safety, and transportation
  • Notable: The demographics of this district have changed significantly since Mitchell ran in 2020.
  • March outcome: If a candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, they’ll win the election outright.

Go deeper: Get our full guide to the District 2 candidates and their positions on key issues
Follow the money: Track campaign contributions in District 2

District 4

Fast facts

  • State of the race: Incumbent Janice Hahn, who was elected in 2016, faces two challengers, including former Sheriff Alex Villanueva who lost his own reelection bid two years ago.
  • Number of candidates: 3
  • Where: From Torrance and Rancho Palos Verdes east to Long Beach and north to the communities of Vernon, Downey and Whittier

  • Key issues: Housing affordability, homelessness, public safety, and transportation
  • Notable: Once-affordable communities in this district are rapidly gentrifying, making the cost of housing top of mind for many voters.
  • March outcome: If a candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, they’ll win the election outright.

Go deeper: Get our full guide to the District 4 candidates and their positions on key issues
Follow the money: Track campaign contributions in District 4

District 5

Fast facts

  • Key issues: Housing, homelessness, and transportation. The unhoused population has been growing in the Antelope Valley.
  • Notable: The district is geographically the county’s largest
  • March outcome: If a candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, they’ll win the election outright.

Go deeper: Get our full guide to the District 5 candidates and their positions on key issues
Follow the money: Track campaign contributions in District 5

Additional credits
  • Leslie Berestein Rojas, Nick Gerda, Dana Littlefield and David Wagner contributed to this guide.

What questions do you have about the March 5 primary election?
Whether it's about how to interpret the results or track your ballot, we're here to help you understand the 2024 primary election on March 5.

More Voter Guides

City of Los Angeles

  • City Council: There are seven districts seats on this ballot: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 14.
  • Healthy Streets LA: Take a closer look at Measure HLA, aimed at making streets safer for pedestrians and bicyclists — and holding the city accountable to do just that.

L.A. County

  • Board of Supervisors: There are three districts on this ballot: 2, 4 and 5.
  • District Attorney: Compare the 12 candidates running for District Attorney.
  • Los Angeles Unified School District: Here's an overview of the challenges facing the district. Plus: Meet the candidates vying to represent your child's education in districts 1, 3, 5 and 7.
  • The judiciary: There are more than two dozen judges up for election or reelection. Plus: Tips to make sure you're putting right person on the bench.
  • County Central Committees: There are nearly 200 seats up for election for these committees, which govern L.A.'s political parties.

Overwhelmed? We have some shortcuts for you.

Statewide races

  • Prop. 1: Evaluating a $6.38 billion bond proposition that aims to create more housing, treatment and support for people struggling with mental health, drug and alcohol issues. Plus: A guide to understanding California's Proposition system.

Federal races

Head to the Voter Game Plan homepage for the latest in election news.

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