Update: Devine in the lead to take open Glendale council seat

Special election determined Devine will take open seat on City Council for 10 months.

Paula Devine

Paula Devine, a longtime community activist, is in the lead for a seat on the Glendale City Council in the June 3 special elections to fill the seat vacated when former Councilman Rafi Manoukian was elected city treasurer. (Courtesy of Richard Williams / June 4, 2014)

[Update 8:50 a.m.: Paula Devine is in the lead to fill the open Glendale City Council seat, according to Wednesday morning election poll results from Los Angeles County Registrar/Recorder's website.]

As of 8:45 a.m., all 86 precincts were reporting. Devine tallied 5,111 votes or 33.69% of the votes.

Vartan Gharpetian had 3,338 votes or 22%; Rick Barnes had 3,141 or 20.70%; Chahe Keuroghelian had 2,074 votes or 13.67%; Mike Mohill had 1,508 or 9.94%.

Glendale City Council candidates knocked on doors, wrote Facebook messages and made phone calls as they gave one final push to convince voters to head to the polls on Tuesday, despite forecasts of low turnout during the statewide primary election and confusion among Glendale voters about the special local race.

"Today we worked the hardest," candidate Vartan Gharpetian said, adding that he believed the results for the single open seat would be a close one.

As of 11:20 p.m., Paula Devine, a retired teacher, led the pack with about 32% of the vote with 46 out of 86 precincts in Glendale reporting, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar/Recorder's website. The top candidate was followed by Vartan Gharpetian with 25%, Rick Barnes with 18%, Chahe Keuroghelian with about 16%, and Mike Mohill with 9%.

The tally from Tuesday isn't expected to be released until early Wednesday morning, but even then, the final count is scheduled to be certified June 30 as provisional, last-minute vote-by-mail and damaged ballots must still be counted.

Despite the election-day thrust, candidates said they were seeing low turnout into the late afternoon, with some noting that running in a special-election race — municipal elections are usually held in April during odd-numbered years — has been an uphill battle.

"That's been a theme all the way through as we've been making phone calls. People are saying 'Wait a minute, isn't it in April?'" said Barnes, a Realtor.

The winner of the special election will sit on the council for 10 months, but they will also receive the boost of incumbent status if they run for a full four-year term in April. The shorter term was prompted by the appointment of Councilman Frank Quintero to 14 months in office after former Councilman Rafi Manoukian stepped down to become City Treasurer.

Glendale voters also had a city charter amendment on their ballots, Measure G, which would undo the rule forcing special elections like this one in the first place by allowing appointees to serve the remainder of the open term, rather than be replaced during a special election, if the term ends at the next general municipal election.

As of 11:20 p.m., 69% had voted in support of the measure.

Jessica Levinson, a professor at Loyola Law School who focuses on election law, said although she expects "dismal turnout" during the statewide primary, it could have been worse if it was a city-only special election.

"It's a very good idea to make sure a special election coincides with a statewide election. Even if we hit 18% or 20% turnout, that still is better than turnout would be for a special election just for a local issue," she said. "Those elections have really, really dismal turnout."

Some candidates complained polling-location issues added stress to the day. Barnes sent volunteers to help people with disabilities at a non-handicap-accessible location, and Keuroghelian, a small-business manager, said he was fielding calls from people assigned to a Burbank church to vote that had a closed front door but an open rear door. About half a dozen of his supporters ended up voting provisionally at another polling location because of it, he said.

Unlike the others, Mohill, a retired businessman, didn't campaign Tuesday. Instead, he spent his afternoon at a pizza party with well-wishers.

All but Devine, who did not return requests for comment Tuesday, hosted evening events to follow the vote count.

Gharpetian greeted about 100 people, including Mayor Zareh Sinanyan and Quintero, at Phoenicia Restaurant, while both Barnes and Keuroghelian had under 20 people at their gatherings at the Elks Lodge and campaign headquarters, respectively.

Despite waking up at 6 a.m., several candidates said they didn't plan to sleep until the Tuesday tally was posted online, which took until about 1 a.m. in 2012 and about 4 a.m. in 2010, according to Los Angeles County Registrar/Recorder's data.

"I worked too hard for the last months to go to sleep," Gharpetian said.

Web Editor Nicole Charky contributed to this report.

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Follow Brittany Levine on Google+ and on Twitter: @brittanylevine.

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