The final election results for the March 3, 2009 City Council elections are in and challengers Vincent Yu and Edward “Tom” Chavez are officially the winners.
“A total of 226 remaining provisional and vote-by-mail ballots were counted” said City Clerk Mary Flandrick in an e-mail to the Temple City Voice on Tuesday, March 10.
Yu, a Planning commissioner, and Chavez, a Parks and Recreation commissioner, received 1944 and 1474 votes, respectively.
Former city councilman Chuck Souder, who came in third place, got 1135 votes. Incumbent councilman Ken Gillanders and Mayor Cathé Wilson garnered 729 and 705 votes. Political newcomer Silenus Ong came in last at 422 votes.
There were six candidates running for two positions on the City Council.
On Election night, both Yu and Chavez received the most support from the vote-by-mail ballots. The outcome of the vote-by-mail ballot count is often an early indicator of a candidate’s strength.
The original number of provisional and vote-by-mail ballots stood at 235 on March 3. They were sent to the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters for signature verification. Only 9 ballots were disqualified.
According to City Clerk Flandrick, voter turnout for the local election was 20.2%, excluding the ballots counted on Tuesday, March 10. In the 2007 City Council elections, turnout was around 18.7%.
“While voter turnout improved from two years ago, it is still disappointing to see so few residents participate in the election” said Matthew Wong, founder of the Temple City Voice.
“Local elections usually receive lower turnout, but what voters need to understand is that every vote really does count and can change the outcome of the election” added Wong.
Yu and Chavez will be sworn in at the March 17 City Council meeting. Mayor Wilson and councilman Gillanders will also then vacate their seats.
Both Yu and Chavez will serve through 2013. Two vacancies will need to be filled on the Planning and Parks and Recreation commissions.
This article was written by Melanie Thi. It was published in the Temple City Voice on March 13, 2009.