By Ted AYALA
The final results are in, but the results are largely unchanged.
The Glendale City Clerk’s Office announced the final tally from the April 15 election yesterday afternoon. The count was held in the community room of Glendale Police Dept. headquarters (GPD).
Over 14,600 absentee votes had yet to be counted before Wednesday – about twice the amount that came from precincts on April 7.
Previous years had seen moments of great tension and anticipation over at the GPD community room, with residents and local movers and shakers crowding the area, sometimes anxiously peering over the cordons and desks separating them from the ballot counters and the loud clacking of their tallying machines. But this time around the folks from Martin & Chapman Co. of Anaheim, which oversaw the tally, largely counted their votes in silence.
“I came because I wanted to see it for myself,” said resident Olivia Webber who was for much of the count the sole person watching the process.
“Because we’re displaying the results in real time on the Internet now,” said City Clerk Ardashes Kassakhian, “we have less and less people actually coming down here.
It was a mixed result for incumbents on the city council.
Councilmember Paula Devine, who was elected into office last year during the special election held to fill the seat that Rafi Manoukian had vacated, pulled ahead with 28.4% of all votes.
For Dave Weaver, however, it was a bruising defeat. The longtime councilmember, who had pledged that this election would be his last, was left trailing in distant fifth place – well behind Vartan Gharapetian who led Weaver by over 3,000 votes.
Likewise, the overall results for the ballot measures that had been included this year were unchanged.
Meanwhile in the Glendale Unified Board of Education race, incumbent Nayiri Nahabedian held on to her seat, and led challenger and now board member-elect Jennifer Freemon by a fraction of a percent. Freemon, who had previously placed fourth in the 2013 election, surged well past her fellow challengers by nearly 15%. Combined, Nahabedian and Freemon accumulated nearly 60% of the total votes.
Supporters of Measure O, which would increase the hotel tax by 2%, maintained their edge, winning with 59.6% over the “no” votes.
But its companion ballot measures all went down into defeat.
Most notable among these was Measure D which, had it passed, would have scrapped the city’s at-large electoral system in favor of a by-district system. The initiative was added on to the ballot by the city as a precautionary move to eliminate the threat of possible lawsuits alleging discriminatory voting practices.
Voter turnout totaled at 21,432 ballots submitted, or 19.1%.
Kassakhian attributed the low turnout to “voter fatigue.” Last year’s special election took place a mere eight months before the 2015 one.
The votes will now go to the Rose Institute of State and Local Governments to convert the voting results into an interactive map that will display how the votes break down by area.
“You can see what the voter turnout was and how each candidate did by precinct,” Kassakhian said. “This is information that could be helpful for voters and future candidates.”