Today’s Echo Park neighborhood council election ended with Ari Bessendorf, a first-time council candidate running for president, holding only a two-vote lead over long-time council member Francisco Torrero, according to preliminary results. Bessendorf garnered 268 votes versus 266 for Torrero, according to a canvass of votes in the the Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council election. While Bessendorf was the top vote getter, four provisional ballots have yet to be tabulated, said Jay Handal, an independent election administrator. All the ballots will also be recounted since the race was so close, he said.
With four provisional ballots to be counted and two votes separating the leading presidential candidates, “anything can happen,” Handal said.
Handal said he does not know what information was missing or what are the issues with the four, uncounted provisional ballots. But those four voters will have probably until Wednesday to go to the election office in Van Nuys and provided the necessary information before their ballots can be counted, he said.
The position of Echo Park council president was left open as former President Jose Sigala runs to replace Eric Garcetti as representative of City Council District 13.
The results for Echo Park council president were among the closest in today’s elections by neighborhood councils in Atwater Village, Elysian Valley, Los Feliz and Silver Lake. Handal said he was not aware of any other “surprises” in those elections.
However, he noted turnout in Los Feliz was much lower than expected. According to preliminary results, 655 ballots were cast in the Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council election. The council had teamed up with neighborhood business to offer discounts to those who had voted in an effort to top the record-high 1,500 votes cast in the 2010 election.
The lack of contentious issues or district races might explain the lower than expected turn out, Handal said.
Click on the links below to find out who won based on the semi final results.