Low Voter Turn Out at the Polls


Voter turn out was low – again – for Tuesday’s local election.

“It was a little disappointing,” said Glendale City Clerk Ardashes “Ardy” Kassakhian.

Around 20% of Glendale’s registered voters have participated in city elections over the past decade, a number that holds fairly steady when considering just the La Crescenta/Montrose/North Glendale area saw 25.2% of voters participating in the 2014 Special Election.

Of the 22,611 registered voters located in zip codes 91214, 91210 and 91208, 5,689 ballots were cast, 2,759 by mail and 2,930 at the polls.

The June 2014 Special Election was to determine who would fill the seat of departing Glendale City Councilmember Rafi Manoukian and thus did not include voters from unincorporated La Crescenta, unlike typical municipal elections which include Glendale Unified School District candidates. Of registered Glendale voters, 22.3% participated in 2014 overall and 21.4% of Glendale’s voters living outside of the Crescenta Valley participated.

The numbers are fairly consistent with the turnout in previous elections. Of Glendale voters participating in 2013, 21.6% voted and 24.4% voted in 2011. Kassakhian said Glendale has fared better than other neighboring cities in terms of voter turnout and has generally trended upwards in participation with each election year, but conceded that “nobody brags about 20%.”

The city has instituted a variety of efforts to boost voter interest, with everything from door-to-door voter information to promotional banners across Glendale to online sources such as the city of Glendale’s election website, glendalevotes.org, which features step-by-step instructional videos on how to vote in five languages (English, Spanish, Armenian, Korean and Tagalog.)

However, low voter turnout has become the norm.

Los Angeles County’s 31% voter turnout in the November 2014 election was low enough that officials are considering an automatic voter registration system, which would bypass the registration process by automatically registering all eligible California citizens to vote. Oregon, which had 35% of voters participating in the 2014 election, signed a statewide automatic registration bill into law this March, the first state to do so in the country.

Glendale’s April 7 election saw about 18,600 people who voted.

For more information on how a specific precinct voted, visit www.glendalevotes.org.