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Thousands of ballots already cast in Santa Clarita City Council election

Posted: April 1, 2014 6:55 p.m.
Updated: April 1, 2014 6:55 p.m.

The Santa Clarita City Council election is a week away, but almost 8,000 people have already cast ballots, city officials said Tuesday.

This means that, if recent history is any indication, many — if not most — of the people who are planning to vote in the 2014 race for Santa Clarita City Council have already done so.

As of Monday, the city had received 7,916 vote-by-mail ballots, according to Santa Clarita Interim City Clerk Armine Chaparyan.

“As of yesterday, the vote-by-mail ballot board has also started the process of opening, sorting, and organizing the ballots per precinct to be counted on election night,” Chaparyan wrote in an email Tuesday. “This process is also open to the public along with the voter signature verification process.

“Both of these processes are taking place in City Hall,” she continued.

The voter pool for this year’s City Council election has swelled dramatically compared to the one two years ago, in large part due to a number of recent city annexations.

In 2012, the city had 118,524 total voters, compared to 142,924 in this election, according to Chaparyan. That’s a growth of more than 24,000 in just two years.

But the increased number of voters has not yet translated into an increased number of early ballots. At this time in the 2012 election process, the city had received 8,620 vote-by-mail ballots.

Traditionally, most of the ballots cast in City Council elections are cast via mail.

Voters cast 10,052 ballots by mail in the 2010 election and 11,607 by mail in 2012.

That means 67.3 percent of the 14,947 votes received in 2010 and 75.4 percent of the 15,390 votes in 2012 were cast by mail, not at the polls, according to city records.

Once cast, ballots are placed in a locked room in Santa Clarita City Hall, according to city officials.

In that room, ballots are placed into cabinets, each of which is secured by two different locks requiring different keys to open. Different people hold those two keys, according to city officials.

Another security feature this year is video surveillance of the rooms where ballots are kept. The surveillance is recorded and the video stream is available online at

There are 13 candidates who are running in this year’s election — Dante Acosta, Sandra Bull, Moazzem Chowdhury, Dennis Conn, Stephen Daniels, Alan Ferdman, Berta Gonzalez-Harper, Maria Gutzeit, Duane Harte, incumbent Marsha McLean, Gloria Mercado-Fortine, incumbent Laurene Weste and Paul Wieczorek.

Three seats are up for grabs in the election April 8.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney




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