Outstanding ballot count could have big impact on Glendale election outcomes

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There are still roughly 3,500 ballots yet to be counted from the election on Tuesday, officials reported, leaving the outcome of several close races in limbo.

And it could take up to two weeks before the outcomes in question — races for City Council, school board and two Charter amendments — are settled after the late vote-by-mail and provisional ballots are tallied and verified, giving hope to some candidates who remain on the cusp of either failure or victory.

Incumbent Ara Najarian is comfortably in first in the council race, but there’s fewer than 800 votes separating incumbent Councilwoman Laura Friedman from the third top vote-getter, Zareh Sinanyan.

Meanwhile, just 262 votes separate Sinanyan from fourth place finisher Chahe Keuroghelian, according to unofficial election results reported early Wednesday morning.

“I am still hoping that the numbers will change,” Keuroghelian said, noting that several of his supporters turned in provisional ballots because they couldn’t find their polling location.

The city reduced the number of polling locations this year because of the high number of vote-by-mail voters.

Of the ballots yet to be counted, 68% are vote-by-mail. The remaining are provisional ballots.

The Glendale Unified school board race could also see changes after the extra ballots are totaled.

While incumbent Greg Krikorian far outpaced the others — and his colleague, incumbent Christine Walters, likely has enough votes to keep her seat — challengers Armina Gharpetian and Jennifer Freemon are virtually neck and neck.

Gharpetian held onto third place Wednesday morning after a well-financed campaign, but only by 192 votes.

Incumbent Joylene Wagner, first elected to the board in 2005, is currently in fifth, but even then, she was just 309 votes behind Freemon.

“With the large number of provisional ballots still out there, nearly anything could happen,” Freemon said.

Walters concurred, but welcomed a newcomer to the fold.

“While of course we welcome our new board member, the loss of Joylene from our board will be strongly felt,” Walters said.

Meanwhile, the remaining ballots were unlikely to shift the city clerk race, where incumbent Ardy Kassakhian was far ahead of Stephanie Landregan, making it her second unsuccessful challenge.

“It’s a pretty large gap,” Landregan said, referring to the 62%-38% split. “Vying against an incumbent is a very difficult job.”

Measure A, which sought to make the city treasurer an appointed position, failed by a wide margin, sealing Councilman Rafi Manoukian in the new position for which he ran unopposed. The City Council is set to discuss how to fill his open seat on April 16.

“I think that the citizens of Glendale have spoken loud and clear,” Manoukian said.

Measure C, which could have allowed officials to bypass the typical open-bidding process for bond issuances, also failed, according to Wednesday morning’s count, but the extra ballots could still shrink the roughly 1700-vote margin.

Far less certain is the outcome of Measure B, which would change how the city transfers millions of dollars from Glendale Water & Power each year to pay for police, parks and other city services. The measure is separated by just 43 votes in favor, the closest margin in all the races.

Initial overall voter turnout was pegged at 18.2% with 20,343 votes cast.

Staff writer Kelly Corrigan contributed to this report.

-- Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com

Follow on Google+ and on Twitter: @brittanylevine.

[For the Record, April 3, 3013: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the percentage of ballots yet to counted that are vote-by-mail.]

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