By Ted AYALA
Election Day in Glendale was over a week ago, but some candidates aren’t quite ready to uncork the victory champagne or concede defeat just yet. Holding the balance of a number of key races are nearly 3,500 ballots that could not be counted on Election Day for various reasons. The processing of these votes will occur at the Glendale Police Community Room today. The canvassing of the vote-by-mail and provisional ballots begins at 9 a.m.; the count of those ballots will take place at 2 p.m. The process will be open to the public.
Of these ballots, 984 were vote-by-mail ballots that were not received at the city’s Election Day headquarters until after the noon cut-off time; 869 were provisional ballots submitted at the polls; 1,538 were vote-by-mail ballots submitted in the same manner. Fifty-five were correctional ballots. These were ballots submitted to correct a voter’s prior submission.
The preliminary numbers for the percentage of registered voters turning out in last week’s election currently stand at 18.2%. That would indicate a dip of over three percentage points from the 2011 election, which registered a turnout of 21.6%.
“The reasons for this [drop] are two-fold,” said City Clerk Ardashes Kassakhian. “The 2012 presidential election was of huge interest to the public, which caused a surge in the amount of registered voters. A lot of these same registered voters tend to overlook municipal elections. That partially accounts for the percentage drop.”
Another reason that Kassakhian said may have contributed to the lower turnout was this year’s heated election cycle, which can cause some potential voters to react with apathy.
“It can depress voter participation. Things of that sort can affect the turnout.”
While the results of some campaigns will likely be unaltered after today’s count, there are a few where the tallying will prove to be crucial.
In the Glendale City Council race, the numbers between the second, third, and fourth place finishers is slim enough to be affected by this week’s count. Between incumbent Councilmember Laura Friedman and challenger Zareh Sinanyan are 766 votes. The margin between Sinanyan and Chahe Keuroghelian is even slimmer: only 262 votes. The front-runner in the city council race, incumbent Councilmember Ara Najarian, has a comfortable lead over his rivals. Nearly 2,200 votes separate him from Friedman.
Greg Krikorian in the Glendale Unified School District (GUSD) school board race also enjoys a strong lead over his rivals, with close to 2,500 votes separating him from the second place finisher, Christine L. Walters. In the fight for the second and third place slots, the gap separating the contenders is considerably narrower. Between Walters and challenger Armine Gharapetian are 475 votes, 192 votes separate Gharapetian from Jennifer Freemon, and 309 votes are wedged between Freemon and incumbent Joylene K. Wagner.
Measure A was dealt a decisive defeat last week, as the 11,602 “no” votes topped the “yes” by 7,601. Measure B faces a tougher fight with the “yes” votes eking by the “no” votes by only 43 ballots cast. The split between those favoring and opposing Measure C is wider: 1,711 votes with the “no” in the lead.
And the Winner Is…
Provisional and vote-by-mail ballots from North Glendale may help tip balance in tight election races.
By Ted AYALA
As the city prepares to count the remaining provisional and vote-by-mail ballots that will decide several races from last week’s municipal election, it may be the ballots from North Glendale that help to tip the balance.
Last week’s election was hard-fought, with some races marred by allegations of misdeeds or checkered pasts. Some candidates like Ara Najarian and Greg Krikorian – incumbents for the city council and the Glendale Unified School District (GUSD) governing board – have taken commanding leads in their respective races. But the number of votes standing in between other candidates is much thinner.
Especially narrow is the gap that separates GUSD candidates Armine Gharpetian and Jennifer Freemon. Only 196 votes divide the two candidates.
Among the close to 3,500 remaining ballots waiting to be tallied today are 389 from the North Glendale area. Of those, 65 are provisional ballots, 323 are vote-by-mail ballots that arrived at the city’s Election Day headquarters after the noontime cut-off point or were delivered in person at the polls, and a single one is a correctional ballot. The last named are used by voters to correct errors that were entered in their previously submitted ballots.
Though the number of votes from North Glendale account for approximately 11.3% of the total remaining ballots, the razor-thin margins could ensure that the area will be an important factor in deciding the outcome.
A glimpse of how these ballots could potentially sway the race is found in the numbers compiled by the City Clerk Office from last week’s elections.
Glendale City Council incumbents Najarian and Laura Friedman made strong showings in the region, with the former coming out ahead at 1,089 votes. Najarian placed second with 918 votes gathered.
Though Zareh Sinanyan and Chahe Keuroghelian, both of them vying with Friedman for second and third place in the polls, made very strong showings in the city overall, in North Glendale they failed to make a dent. Each of them gathered 349 and 280 votes respectively, less than fellow challengers Mike Mohill and Herbert Molano. Though ranking near the bottom in the city’s overall numbers, both Mohill and Molano ranked considerably higher than their fellow challengers. Sam Engel, Jr. and Rick Barnes, who so far rank fifth and sixth in the general tabulation of ballots, placed third and fourth in the North Glendale area.
Likewise, numbers were revealing in the GUSD race.
In the neighborhoods surrounding Ocean View Boulevard, which stretch across the Foothill (210) Freeway, incumbent Greg Krikorian lags behind in fourth place, with Christine L. Walters, Jennifer Freemon, and fellow incumbent Joylene K. Wagner in the lead. Gharpetian and Ali Sadri close out at the bottom.