When Glendale passed campaign finance rules in 2008 that limited the amount of individual contributions, some politicos said the new rules would quash the ability of candidates to get out the vote.
Those fears were compounded during this campaign season, which got off to a slow start. Without burgeoning campaign war chests ready for the candidates’ use, many in the political establishment fretted over their inability to pay for the usual barrage of mailers and advertising, which, they argued, was key in driving voters to the polls.
But as the latest election on April 5 — the first to fall entirely within the new campaign finance rules — showed, the $1,000-per individual limit had a negligible impact on voter participation, which so far stands at roughly 22%. In 2009, the rate was about 25.7%.
Surely, without a $270-million bond measure on the ballot, the turnout could have been lower, but the preliminary figures are impressive nonetheless. And approximately 3,100 provisional and mail-in ballots have yet to be counted.
Compare our performance to that of Burbank, where primary election participation hit a new low — 14.4%.
And for the first time in recent election season memory, voters weren’t pummeled with yard signs, billboards and mailers — a direct result of comparatively paltry fundraising accounts. That alone should leave residents in better spirits, and candidates with less of a post-election hangover.