By Stan Lynch
It was an incredibly close finish to an election that saw the lead change several times before Burbank City Council candidate Emily Gabel-Luddy just barely edged out Robert Frutos by a mere 84 votes.
The two candidates were never very far apart as the results of the vote counting started coming out Tuesday night. Gabel-Luddy took the lead when results from the first of the City’s 42 precincts were posted on the government access channel (Burbank TV 6). She was ahead of Frutos by 62 votes with 5 precincts reporting. However, when the next posting with 8 precincts reporting went up, Frutos had taken a 95 vote lead.
And so it went the entire evening. It was a real “nail biter” as the tally seesawed back and forth between the two candidates. It was a real “cliff hanger” as the votes came down to the wire. Gabel-Luddy won by a razor-thin margin of 84 votes, 4,400 to Fruto’s 4,314 votes. The other item on the ballot, Measure U, passed with 5,264 votes for it, and 2,555 against.
A total of 8,853 ballots were cast in the election. Roughly 15% of the approximate 58,000 registered voters in Burbank cast ballots. Of the votes cast, a total of 7,819 were over Measure U, while 8,714 were for the council candidate. That left 139 votes unaccounted for.
City Clerk Margarita Campos explained the discrepancy in the numbers. “There were some ballots that were blank, while some people didn’t vote for either of the council candidates.” Campos noted that they even received some ballots from the primary election. They were not counted.
With such a close race, the difference between the two candidates being less than 1%, some at City Hall on election night wondered if there might be a recount. Campos noted that the machinery used to count the ballots is tested before the actual ballots are counted, and again afterwards to make sure the count is accurate.
“Of course a candidate can ask for a recount,” Campos said, adding, “But they would have to pay for the cost of it.”
Perhaps it is the “all mail ballot” which really is akin to everyone voting by absentee ballot, but the excitement of election night just wasn’t there at City Hall this election. A “crowd” of maybe 10 people showed up. Police Commissioner Jim Etter, his wife, and two of his adult children were among the first to show up to watch the results. Councilman David Gordon joined them for awhile. Both candidates were noticeably absent, with Gabel-Luddy only showing up well after all the votes had been counted and she was the unofficial winner. The election should be certified by Friday and the newest council member sworn into office on May 2 along with incumbent Gary Bric who won re-election in the primary.
Those who watch the votes live saw the following results:
Election Results as posted by the City Clerk during the vote counting
Precincts Frutos Gabel-Luddy Measure U: Yes No
1 172 217 231 110
5 552 613 716 325
8 878 783 955 419
11 1,349 1,267 1,552 704
14 1,579 1,622 1,914 859
17 1,930 2003 2,305 1,128
20 2,102 2,160 – –
23 2,495 2,498 2,935 1,469
26 2,817 2,791 3,315 1,664
32 3,389 3,339 3,955 2019
35 3,670 3,736 4,429 2,176
38 3,951 4,090 4,823 2,362
42 4,314 4,400 5,264 2,555
42 out of 42 precincts counted. Total Votes Cast: 8,853