HomeCity NewsGlendale Election Turnout Bests County; City’s Vote by Mail Soars

Glendale Election Turnout Bests County; City’s Vote by Mail Soars

More Glendale residents turned out to vote in the March 2024 primary election than in the 2022 statewide primary, garnering a higher turnout than L.A. County as a whole, but a lower turnout than adjacent cities, according to the final ballot count from the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk.
The recent data revealed that about 36.3% of Glendale’s registered voters cast ballots in March, with about 83.4% of residents choosing mail-in ballots over voting in person, a sharp rise compared to the 56.5% who used the mail-in method in the March 2020 primary election.
Of the 111,709 registered Glendale voters in 2024, about 2.1% more turned out to vote this year than in the June 2022 election. However, that tally shows a drop of 5% compared to the March 2020 presidential primary election, according to the final count of ballots processed on April 9.
City Clerk Suzie Abajian shared that she was “pleased” to see the “noteworthy increase” in participation compared to 2022, emphasizing the importance of local government elections.
“Municipal elections serve as a vital platform for our residents to voice their concerns, shape policies and contribute to the betterment of our community,” Abajian told the News-Press.
Glendale’s voter turnout was higher than the collective turnout of L.A. County, which recorded 28.9% of all eligible voters casting ballots, but lower than some of its neighboring cities such as Burbank (37.2%), Pasadena (40.2%) and La Cañada Flintridge (47.9%).
Cameron Hastings, chair of Glendale Community College’s political science department, discussed possible factors leading to varying turnout among different communities.
“Turnout is often higher among older, wealthier, more educated voters so that would explain why Glendale had higher turnout than L.A. County in general,” Hastings told the News-Press, adding that more demographic analysis would be required to understand why neighboring cities exceeded Glendale’s turnout.
Regarding voter turnout in a more general sense, Hastings also shared some analysis on participation fluctuation.
“It is not unusual to have very low turnout in primary elections in comparison to general elections,” Hastings said. “This is especially true in nonpresidential election years like 2022 but even this presidential election year, the primary is not competitive because you basically have two incumbents on the ballot with no real challengers.”
Hastings suggested the higher turnout both in Glendale and nationwide in 2020 was because the Democratic primary for the presidential race was more competitive than it is for this election.
The top vote earners in the City Council race were incumbent Ardy Kassakhian, with 14,176 votes, and Vartan Gharpetian, with 10,241. Both officially took their oaths of office to serve on the Council at the April 16 meeting.
Because both the Glendale Unified School District and Glendale Community College host by-district elections for their board seats, turnout for these elections is specific to each district area.
In the race to represent GUSD Trustee Area A, which consists of North Glendale, 44.1% of registered voters living in Area A cast votes. Meanwhile, 30.2% of registered voters living in Area E, which is southwest Glendale, voted. Sworn into office earlier this month, Telly Tse won the election for Area A with 6,934 votes and Neda Farid won in Area E with 2,930.
As for GCC, in Trustee Area No. 1, which is made up of North Glendale and part of the Verdugo Woodlands, turnout was 43.4%, compared to a turnout of 30.8% in Area No. 5, which is south of the 134 freeway, covering the City Center, Citrus Grove and Vineyard-Moorpark area. With a margin of less than 300 votes, Desirée P. Rabinov won Area No.1, earning 5,269 votes, while Sevan Benlian won Area No. 5 with 3,185 votes, or about two-thirds of the total votes.
Hastings suggested the large range in turnout for the different geographic areas in both the GUSD and GCC board races could have resulted from the competitiveness of the races, suggesting the races with higher turnouts and vote counts were more competitive than those with lower turnout.
While turnout for municipal elections is often low, Hastings sees a shift on the horizon.
“Local elections are often overlooked but I think that is changing with school boards, at least in the current climate of debates over things such as curriculum and books,” Hastings said. “One good change has been to align local elections with federal and state election cycles because that has increased turnout for voting on local offices and local changes like bonds or measures.”

First published in the April 27 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.

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