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Voter turnout pitiful

June 07, 2006|By Tania Chatila

BURBANK ? Dellie Hahn went out to the polls on Tuesday to bring back leadership to the governor's office, she said.

"I've never missed an election in my life and I'm 86 years old," the Burbank resident said. "And I want very much to see [Arnold] Schwarzenegger out."

But Hahn was one of few exercising her right to vote Tuesday, as business was slow at many of the city's designated polling spots for Tuesday's primary election.

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"We've had some spurts here and there, but it's been a pretty low voter turnout," said Yvette Laduke, an voting inspector at Burbank City Hall.

That did not come as a surprise to voting officials in Burbank or Glendale, where the turnout was also low.

"I believe it's going to be low, the primaries usually are," Devonne Peterson, a voting inspector at Bright Cleaners on North Pacific Avenue, said of the turnout.

This was the first time the cleaners was host to a polling place, business owner Sung Chung said.

"I'm a citizen, that's why I wanted to do it," she said.

But by about 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, only 36 people had showed up to vote at the four booths set up at the cleaners, Peterson said.

Though she expected things to pick up between 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. ? when voters were getting off of work ? Peterson said there would likely be only a few hundred total voters for that spot.

"This is just the primary," she said. Among the candidates and issues on the ballot Tuesday was the primary for governor, a locally hot race between democratic candidates for the 43rd Assembly District and two state bond measures.

Proposition 81 would issue a bond of no more than $600 million to fund the construction and renovation of public libraries across the state, and Proposition 82 would establish a volunteer preschool education system for all four-year olds, funded through a 1.7% tax on individuals with income more than $400,000 and couples with income more than $800,000.

"I think the primary election attracts less voter interest," said Tony Pearson, a voting inspector at St. Gregory Armenian Church, where two precincts were represented.

The two precincts ? each representing about 800 active voters ? had less than 100 voters each by 1 p.m. Tuesday.

"I think there hasn't been a lot of intra-party contention, only that between [democratic gubernatorial candidates Steve] Westly and [Phil] Angelides," Pearson said.

Low voter turnout disappointed Glendale resident Manuel Ramirez, who exercised his voting rights on Tuesday.

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