A final tally for the March 5 primary in Los Angeles, released Tuesday night, found that nearly 21% of registered voters in the city cast ballots. All of the preliminary results were confirmed in contests for mayor, City Council seats and other offices.
The city clerk’s office reported that 377,881 voters cast ballots in the city -- 20.8% of the 1.8 million registered voters.
Many civic leaders have lamented the low turnout. City officials are considering switching its elections to the same day as state or federal elections in an effort to draw more voter participation.
In the final count, turnout fell below the mayoral primaries in 2001, when 34% of voters cast ballots, and 2005, when 29% took part. Both of those elections featured a high-profile battle between James Hahn, who was elected mayor in 2001, and Antonio Villaraigosa, who ousted him four years later in a rematch that made him the first Latino mayor of Los Angeles since 1872.
Still, turnout in this year’s primary exceeded the 18% who cast ballots in 2009, when Villaraigosa faced no well-known challengers in his run for reelection.
In the mayor’s race this year, the final tally added 82,583 votes to the initial election-night count -- many of them provisional ballots or absentee ballots dropped off on election day at polling places -- but the results were essentially unchanged.
City Councilman Eric Garcetti finished first in the mayoral contest, with 33%, followed by Controller Wendy Greuel at 29%, radio personality Kevin James with 16%, Councilwoman Jan Perry just behind, also with 16%, and former technology executive Emanuel Pleitez at 4%.
Garcetti and Greuel are competing in a May 21 runoff.
The final results also confirmed that former state Sen. Gil Cedillo fell 115 votes shy of the 50% threshold needed to avoid a runoff for an Eastside seat on the City Council. Cedillo, who won 49.3% in the primary, will face Jose Gardea, chief of staff to Councilman Ed Reyes, in the May runoff.