By Jason KUROSU
Glendale is holding a special election this June in order to fill a vacancy on the Glendale City Council. When former city council member Rafi Manoukian left the council after being elected City of Glendale treasurer in early 2013, a seat was left open. Five candidates are seeking to fill Manoukian’s seat.
The candidates are Rick Barnes, Paula Devine, Vartan Gharpetian, Chahe Keuroghelian and Mike Mohill. Glendale will be holding the election on June 3 in consolidation with the County of Los Angeles.
Voter turnout has been in low in recent Glendale municipal elections, and could prove to be lower in the event of a special June election.
Glendale City Clerk Ardashes Kassakhian explained how the timing of the election may lead to a lower than usual turnout.
“This is a mid-term election year when there isn’t a presidential primary to draw people to the polls. Very few of the local or statewide offices are contested for and it has been a relatively quiet election cycle by way of television advertisements, mailers, etc.,” said Kassakhian.
Kassakhian said that the city has worked through different strategies in order to spur voter participation.
“We’ve done our part to make sure voters are aware of the Special Election through putting banners around the city in all parts and centers where people shop, work and congregate. We have also produced and shared the County of Los Angeles’ videos instructing people on how to vote in this election and translated it to four languages (Korean, Armenian, Spanish and Tagalog) as well as producing and sharing with the public two minute candidate statements which also have the official candidate statements translated to the aforementioned languages. All of this is done to help the general public better understand when to vote, where to vote and how to vote.”
Kassakhian also said that a door-hanger project will result in 50,000 households contacted before June 3. The door hangers indicate “the specific polling location of that household clearly labeled on this important ‘save-the-date’ reminder.”
Exactly what the estimated turnout will be is uncertain and subject to many factors.
“Traditionally we have appreciated a turnout for local elections that is above 20%,” said Kassakhian. “That is not spectacular but it is better than some of our neighboring cities and above Los Angeles’ turnout for their elections.
“We hope that all of this will contribute to a robust voter turnout but the one thing we can’t control is the issues that people care about and that drive them to the polls.”