LOS ANGELES -- With voters perhaps suffering from election overload after the protracted presidential campaign, turnout appeared to be reaching historic low levels in Tuesday's Los Angeles city election.
Election Results: City Results Page
Officials from the City Clerk's Office said they do not make election turnout predictions, but polling places around the city were marked by short -- in many cases, non-existent -- lines of voters.
"You guys should really put a sign out back so people know where this is," one voter told a politely smiling poll worker at a church in Silver Lake.
What people? Two lines stretched out the door and to the sidewalk during the November 2008 election at the location. This time, poll workers outnumbered voters at noon.
During the hotly contested 2005 mayoral primary, 24.49 percent of registered Los Angeles voters showed up to the polls, according to Arti Panjwani with the Los Angeles City Clerk's Office. Only two mayoral primaries since 1977 had lower turnouts at that time. In 1989, 24 percent of voters cast ballots in Mayor Tom Bradley's re-election primary against Councilman Nate
Holden. During Mayor Richard Riordan's 1997 re-election primary against Tom Hayden, 26 percent of voters went to the polls.
At the Bonaventure hotel in downtown Los Angeles, a sparse crowd of supporters gathered for election-night parties for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, city attorney candidate and Councilman Jack Weiss and backers of Measure B, a proposal that would allow the Department of Water and Power to install solar panels on city rooftops.
The ballroom, which was empty except for hotel staff and journalists just 10 minutes before the polls closed, had sparse decorations aside from two bars and a popcorn machine. A stage was decorated with an archway of red, white and blue balloons, and large screens that will show election returns for Villaraigosa, Weiss and Measure B were positioned on each side of the room.
As of 8:45 p.m., the ballroom began filling with supporters, including Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge.
About 30 minutes later, Deputy Mayor Larry Frank announced the results of mail-in balloting, but he received a lackluster response from the crowd, which by then included City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, Councilman Tony Cardenas and City Hall staffers.