Los Angeles City Council

Vote Counting Underway in Special Election to Replace Ex-LA City Council President Nury Martinez

Nury Martinez resigned after the release of a recording that included racial slurs referring to a colleague's adopted Black son. Voters are deciding will replace her in LA Council District 6.

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Voters faced a Tuesday deadline to decide who will fill the Los Angeles City Council seat vacated by Nury Martinez, the former council president who resigned following the release of a leaked recording that included racist slurs.

The Sixth District special election comes six months after Martinez stepped down, meaning residents in the district have not had a voting representative on the city council since mid-October. A non-voting caretaker was appointed in the wake of Martinez's resignation. Sharon Tso, the city's chief legislative analyst, doesn't hold a seat on the council, but oversees the council office to ensure the district provided constituent services and other basic functions.

Tuesday was the last day to vote in the election with a field of seven candidates. Polls closed at 8 p.m.

As of a little before 11 p.m. Tuesday, 9,085 ballots were processed and counted, with 7.67% of registered voters casting ballots, the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk's office said in a press release. However, many votes had not yet been counted.

The first post-Election Day ballot count update was scheduled for Friday, April 7.

Here's what to know about the special election.

LA City Council Special Election Results

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You can check here for updated election results from the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk.

The winner of the special election, which could go to a runoff, will complete what's left of Martinez's term that ends in December 2024. If no one receives a majority of the vote Tuesday, there will be a runoff between the top two vote getters, with the deadline to cast ballots June 27.

What to Know About Voting

Eligible District 6 voters can find a voting center or a ballot drop-box location here. Voting locations opened at 7 a.m. closes at 8 p.m. Tuesday. You are eligible to vote if you're in line before 8 p.m.

Early voting began March 25, with registered voters receiving a vote-by-mail ballot and in-person voting made available as well. Voters can cast their ballots in several ways including at three vote centers within the district, at a ballot drop-off box, and by mail if postmarked by Election Day and received within seven days.

Eligible District 6 residents who missed the registration deadline can still vote at any vote center, per California's election law. Conditional voter registration allows a prospective voter to register and cast a ballot.

Candidates on the Ballot

Below are the seven candidates appearing on the ballot.

  • Marisa Alcaraz: An environmental policy director and deputy chief of staff and environmental policy director to Ninth District Councilman Curren Price. She is 38.
  • Rose Grigoryan: A social activist and journalist who emigrated from Armenia a decade ago. She is 37.
  • Issac Kim: A 34-year-old small business owner.
  • Imelda Padilla: A community relations manager. She is 35.
  • Marco Santana: The director of a housing nonprofit who has worked for former state Sen. Bob Hertzberg and Rep. Tony Cardenas. He is 32.
  • Antoinette Scully: A 38-year-old community organizer.
  • Douglas Sierra: A 37-year-old business consultant.

The district includes a large portion of the San Fernando Valley, including Arleta, Lake Balboa, North Hills, North Hollywood, Panorama City, Sun Valley and Van Nuys.

Why LA Is Having a Special Election

The special election has its origins in the release of an October 2021 leaked conversation about city redistricting that includes Martinez and two council colleagues. The conversation provided a disturbing glimpse of a closed-door session that primarily focused on redrawing district boundaries and veered wildly into insults and racist remarks, including slurs referring to the 2-year-old adopted Black son of Councilmember Mike Bonin.

The leaked recording led to protests at several City Council meetings that followed with calls for the three members of the panel to resign.

The other two council members involved in the leaked conversation, Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo, defied calls to resign. Cedillo lost his re-election bid to Eunessis Hernandez in June. De León's term also expires in December 2024.

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