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Voter turnout on par with past elections

With 3,000 ballots still uncounted, one incumbent could face defeat.

April 06, 2011|By Melanie Hicken, melanie.hicken@latimes.com

CITY HALL — Voter turnout in Tuesday’s election was about 21.6%, with the frontrunner in the City Council race, Rafi Manoukian, taking 22 of the 57 precincts and a formidable lead that could push one of two incumbents — either Dave Weaver or John Drayman — out of office.

The city clerk’s office on Wednesday reported that 3,153 provisional and vote-by-mail ballots still need to be counted. With just 162 votes separating Manoukian and Drayman, whose vote total currently places him in third place, the outcome for the two available seats on the City Council is likely to remain unclear for days.

Regardless, an analysis of unofficial vote tallies showed Manoukian earned strong backing from absentee voters, much of Northwest Glendale and all but two of the 17 precincts south of the Ventura (134) Freeway.

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The results were strikingly different to a similar breakdown from the 2007 race, when Drayman saw overwhelming support citywide, surpassing both Weaver and Manoukian by more than 2,000 votes, according to the city clerk’s office.

Drayman still saw strong support in the most northern parts of the city on Tuesday, as well as most hillside neighborhoods, according to preliminary voter returns.

Weaver received nearly as many votes as Drayman in the hillside communities, but fared better in areas where Manoukian was the top vote-getter.

Not including the outstanding ballots, voter turnout came in at 22,416, or about 21.6% of registered voters, said City Clerk Ardy Kassakhian.

Once the additional ballots are counted, the turnout will be about on par with voter turnouts in previous elections, he said.

“We stepped up our advertising and promotions, reached out to all segments of the community — ethnic, geographic, age, etc. — and we were able to get over 21% and possibly even higher,” he said. “That's a great success, but still not as good as we can do if we really made voter education and outreach a year-round project and priority.”

With just 27 votes separating Weaver and Drayman, one of the incumbents would appear to be at risk of losing his seat when all the votes have been tallied, possibly as soon as late next week.

Manoukian could regain a spot on the council dais four years after losing his seat there, and two years after making an unsuccessful bid for city treasurer.

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