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Start the Presses: Mail-in ballots and election overtime

April 08, 2011|By Dan Evans

As a reporter and, later, editor, I have covered about a dozen elections on the local, county and state levels. Despite the differences in the issues, the candidates and the offices sought, one thing has remained steadfastly the same: Elections are hard on everyone.

They are hard on the candidates, who spend day after day knocking on doors, passing out flyers and endlessly repeating stump speeches. They are hard on us in the media, with partisans of one candidate or another shouting allegations of bias — allegations often made without proof, or even a basic understanding of the term.

And, of course, they are hard on the public, members of which can hardly be blamed for casting a jaundiced eye at the pat answers, political maneuvering and mudslinging.

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In Glendale’s most recent election, politicos and journalists — two groups who seem to agree on little — engaged in a bit of mutual handwringing. Election rules, put in place in 2008, limit contributions to candidates to $1,000. Conventional wisdom held that those rules, combined with the weak economy, would severely tamp down the ability of candidates to distinguish themselves — or extinguish their opponents. This, in turn, would result in a low turnout.

It didn’t happen. Turnout was on par with previous elections, and several candidates were still able to run brutal, scorched-earth campaigns with limited financing.

Voters reelected Nayiri Nahabedian and Mary Boger to the Glendale Unified School Governing Board and passed Measure S, the $270-million school bond.

But the results for two hotly contested seats on the Glendale City Council have yet to be determined. A mere 162 votes separate the top vote-getter, Rafi Manoukian, and Councilman John Drayman, currently in third place. Councilman Dave Weaver sits precariously in second place — 27 votes ahead of Drayman. Approximately 3,000 provisional and vote-by-mail ballots, which should nail down the final results, should be counted by the end of the week.

While we await the election results in Glendale, we can look west. The deadline for Burbank’s election is Tuesday, April 12, with voters there choosing between Bob Frutos and Emily Gabel-Luddy for the last open seat on the Burbank City Council. Voters also will be asked to vote on a utility tax ordinance, Measure U.

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