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SOURCES: Montebello City Council will approve all vote by mail ballot for the March 5, 2019 special election



Vanessa Delgado

Hews Media Group-Los Cerritos Community News has learned through sources that the lame duck Montebello City Council will exercise its power and change the City’s voting method for the March 5, 2019 special election to fill the vacancy left by Vanessa Delgado.

Delgado, who received over $1.5 million from special interests, won an August 7 special election over Rita Topalian by just over 1,700 votes, resigned as Mayor of Montebello in mid-August; that move will cost the City at least $228,000.

The sources told HMG-LCCN that, at next week’s meeting, the council will vote to hold a mail-in ballot only election, forgoing a combination of mail-in ballots and polling places throughout the City.

The Council could save the City hundreds of thousands of dollars by appointing a temporary City Council person, but Jack Hadjinian and lame duck Council members Art Barajas, Vivian Romero, and Bill Molinari cannot muster three votes between them.

The “choice” was presented to council at this past Nov. 14 meeting; either approve a regular election or go all mail-in ballot.

The staff report indicated, “the Council could vote to authorize the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder to perform its full services in conducting a traditional stand- alone election, (i.e. an election with polling places within the City of Montebello) or vote to authorize an all-mail ballot election and requesting services associated with such election.”

The estimated cost of the stand-alone election from the Registrar would be $366,000; the cost for the all mail-in ballot election would be $228,000, a difference of $138,000.

According to the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission vote by mail does not increase turnout in presidential and gubernatorial general elections.

“In fact, turnout was 2.6 to 2.9 percentage points lower in mail ballot precincts, according to our analysis of two general elections held in representative samples of 18 and 9 counties.”

However, in local special elections, the Commission found that when all vote-by-mail was used, turnout increased 7.6 percent. The sample was only three counties.

One resident told HMG-LCCN,” I like seeing my neighbors at the polling place, I like getting my ‘I voted!’ sticker and talking to the people at the voting table. Don’t take that old-fashioned civic feeling away, that’s wrong.”

The winning candidate on March 5, 2018 will serve until November 3, 2020.