By Mary O’KEEFE
April 5 is Election Day for Glendale residents and for Crescenta Valley residents that are part of the Glendale Unified School District. This includes La Crescenta, Montrose and the west area of La Cañada.
“Our average is 25% [of the population] votes,” said Ardashes “Ardy” Kassakhian, Glendale City Clerk.
Kassakhian said that Glendale has seen a steady increase of voters. In 2007, 25.3% turned out for the local election and in 2009 it rose to 25.8%. He added that local election turnouts are historically low but hoped the get out to vote push the city has been doing will help build the numbers.
“The turn out was alarming low in Pasadena and Burbank,” he added.
In Pasadena’s March 8 election the turn out was 19.7%, according to the Pasadena city clerk’s website.
Burbank saw even lower numbers for their election for seats on the city council and school board. Out of the 56,499 eligible voters in Burbank, 8,106 ballots were cast, according to the Burbank city clerk’s website. That is a 14.3% turn out.
“We have reached out to high schools and encouraged them to put the April 5 date on their marquees to promote the election,” Kassakhian said.
The city clerk’s office has also contacted local high school government classes to ask for volunteers at polling places.
“[Retired teacher] Lynn McGinnis has been the force for that,” Kassakhian added.
Time to vote by mail has passed however if there are registered voters that find they will not be in the area on April 5 and therefore will be unable to vote there is still an emergency option open to them.
“They can fill out an emergency [application]. They will have to sign that they will be unable to go to their polling place due to sickness or maybe they have an [unscheduled] business trip or other [unforeseen reasons they cannot make it to the polling place],” he said.
For those voters it is advised to come to the election center at Glendale City Hall, fill out a form and turn in their ballots at the office to make certain their vote is received.
Banners and posters can be seen around Glendale and in Montrose that also remind people of Election Day.
“One thing I would remind voters is that [California State Assemblymember] Anthony Portantino lost an election by two votes, “ Kassakhian said.
Portantino is a popular state assemblymember who in his early career ran for a seat on the La Cañada City Council only to lose by two votes. He was later elected to the council.
Kassakhian added that people may be blasé about voting and not think their vote counts but pointed out the Portantino election as an example that every vote counts.
The election season this April will ask Glendale residents to choose two city council members. Incumbents John Drayman and Dave Weaver are facing challengers former councilmember Rafi Manoukian and Garen Mailyan, Mike Mohill and Chahe Keuroghelian.
Glendale and Crescenta Valley residents will be asked to vote for two seats for Glendale Unified School District governing board those candidates include incumbents Mary Boger and Nayiri Nahabedian and challengers Vahik Satoorian, Todd Hunt, Daniel Cabrera, Ingrid Gunnell, Jennifer Freemon and Ami Fox. In addition there are two seats for Glendale Community College Board of Trustees including incumbents Tony Tartaglia and Vahe Peroomian and challenger Vartan Gharpetian.
Voters will also be asked to say yes or no to Measure “S.” The bond will extend a tax already in place through earlier approved Measure “K.” Those in favor of the new measure contend the funds will continue to help improve school campuses within the Glendale district. Measure “K” which was passed several years ago to remodel and improve schools including building new classrooms is running out. Measure “S” will continue the tax and is geared toward science and technology to help schools stay competitive in a global educational field. Those against Measure “S” are concerned the money is not being spent for other programs like class size reduction and didn’t like the way Measure “K” money was spent. For more information on Measure “S” go to page 8 for a full story.
To find a polling place or for more information visit the website at www.glendalevotes.org or contact (818) 548-4000. The election center is at the Glendale Police Department Community Room, 131 N. Isabel Street, Glendale, 91206.