Now, it’s election day. Turnout is expected to be low because of voter apathy and a distrust of city government.
City Council President Nury Martinez, who formerly represented District 6, resigned in October after leaked audio of a closed-door meeting she took part in captured her racist remarks.
Voting centers opened a week and a half ago, but just 108 people have used the centers, said L.A. County Registrar-Recorder spokesperson Mike Sanchez. Four additional voting centers will open in the district on Tuesday.
More than 8,000 vote-by-mail ballots have been returned to the county through Monday, Sanchez said. In all, more than 118,000 registered voters were sent a ballot.
The candidates include political newcomers, former and current aides to elected officials, and community volunteers.
Marisa Alcaraz is a top advisor to City Councilmember Curren Price; Rose Grigoryan runs a marketing company; Isaac Kim has a men’s hair and skincare company;, Imelda Padilla has worked as a community organizer; Marco Santana works at L.A. Family Housing; Antoinette Scully is a national organizer at the Unitarian Universalist Women’s Federation; and Douglas Sierra recently worked at management consulting firm Monitor Deloitte.
The race is nonpartisan, but all the candidates, except one, are registered Democrats. (Grigoryan’s voter registration is “no party preference.”)
Voters can find a vote center or drop box by visiting the county’s website. District 6 takes in all or part of the neighborhoods of Lake Balboa, Van Nuys, Panorama City, Arleta, North Hills, North Hollywood and Sun Valley.
The first batch of results will be announced shortly after the polls close Tuesday. That tally will include all or most of the ballots that were returned before election day.
Vote by mail ballots that are postmarked by election day will be accepted until April 11.
If no candidate gets more more than 50% of the vote in Tuesday’s election, a June runoff between the top two finishers is planned.
The winner will face another election for this seat in March 2024, when Martinez’s term was due to expire.
Homelessness became one of the top issues in the race. Some candidates have different opinions of 41.18, the law that allows council members to designate areas as off-limits to homeless camps.
Candidates Kim, Scully and Santana have all said they would vote to repeal the law. Alcaraz and Padilla approve of 41.18, arguing restrictions are needed around schools, parks and other areas.
The biggest drama in the race centered around campaign fliers. A door hanger sent by Santana’s campaign drew complaints from the L.A. County Democratic Party because the hanger stated the candidate was endorsed by the Democratic Party. (The county Democratic Party didn’t endorse in the race.)
Scott Mann, Santana’s communications director, defended the flier by saying that Santana has the support of several Democratic clubs, including the Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley.
A mailer sent by a committee associated with United Food & Commercial Workers Local 700 also drew criticism after the mailer inaccurately stated Alcaraz was endorsed by Spanish-language newspaper La Opinión. The paper hasn’t endorsed anyone and the union, which is supporting Alcaraz, issued an apology.