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Voter participation sees substantial surge

April 13, 2005

Mark R. Madler

Residents cast their votes in greater numbers for Tuesday's general

election after a disappointing showing in the February primary.

With all precincts reporting, 11,498 voters returned ballots in

the election for two seats on the City Council and two spots on the

Burbank Unified School District board.

That number easily eclipsed the 10,376 cast in the primary and the

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9,059 cast in the 2003 general election.

There were 48,792 ballots sent out to registered voters in the

city.

The primary and general elections this year were the first by the

city done via all-mail ballot. The City Council switched election

methods to increase voter participation.

For the general election, the number of election workers verifying

ballots went from seven to 14, and the number of workers canvassing

ballots -- sorting them by precinct and inspecting them for damage --

went from six to 12, City Clerk Margarita Campos said.

Also helping smoothen process this time around was that fewer

people were forgetting to sign the envelope that the ballot is

returned in, Campos said.

"They've been exceptionally good about that this time," she added.

Campos, a firm believer in the all-mail method because of its

safeguards against fraud, will discuss continuing the process at a

future meeting with the City Council.

Resident Robert Idavia, who was at City Hall waiting for returns,

said he likes the all-mail ballot for the ease and convenience and

hopes the city will continue using it.

"Burbank has a lot of senior citizens, and [the mail-in ballot] is

a lot more conducive to them," he said.

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