Home | Opinion | Understanding Armenian Voter Consistency in Glendale

Understanding Armenian Voter Consistency in Glendale

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Alen Shirvanyan

 Voting in Glendale is a very peculiar subject to examine. Glendale voting functions on a slightly different system than its neighboring cities, and voting habits fluctuate wildly. Voting for Armenians is a particularly unique situation in Glendale, as it is one of the very few cities in the U.S. that contains such a high concentration of Armenians-Americans. As a result, the Armenian vote becomes very significant in deciding representatives for City elections. Glendale City Council, Glendale Unified School District Board of Education and the Glendale Community College Board of Trustee district seats are essentially dependent on the Armenian vote. Because Armenians are the majority population, making up around 30% of Glendale’s estimated 200,000 resident population, a unified Armenian vote towards a candidate or candidates gives an extremely powerful advantage. This is why outreach programs such as the ANCA-WR’s “Hye Votes” initiative and “Get Out the Vote” have been created to rally Armenians behind candidates that serve in their best interests.

 Even with such unifying tools, voting in Glendale is inconsistent in its numbers. The recent 2015 election selected Vartan Gharpetian as the Armenian candidate with the highest number of votes, totaling around 7,500. The Armenian candidate with the highest vote count in 2013, however, was Ara Najarian, with a vote count of over 10,000. Thus the question arises: what factors do voters in Glendale, particularly Armenian voters, consider when making their decision on whether or not to vote for a particular election.

To understand why Armenians in Glendale decide to go out and vote in the first place, one must understand what it is they look to gain from voting. One hypothesis is that voting allows them to directly address issues they find important by going out to vote when they see candidates tackling the issues they struggle with. Armenians face a multitude of problems in the Glendale area, but some are prioritized over others and they look for candidates that stand with them on these issues. For instance, water usage, excessive urban development and constantly increasing housing costs are all issues in Glendale today, but some of these issues affect Armenians more than others do. While Armenians may be indifferent towards water usage, for example, they might have a large interest in the increasing housing costs and therefore their incentive to support candidates that plan to tackle such issues increases. Therefore, it becomes the task of the candidate, and by extension the organizations backing the candidate, to pinpoint what issues Armenian voters find significant.

 

One thing to keep in mind is that not all Armenians find the same issues important as one another. Age, political party, gender, and wealth are key points to keep in mind when deciding what issues to tackle. Younger Armenians may have radically different viewpoints than their older counterparts, as they face different issues and observe things from a different perspective. Also, the level of understanding of local politics is important to analyze as different thresholds of understanding lead to different views of how to handle issues. Someone with a lower level of understanding on politics may not see why there are limits on water usage, whereas more informed individuals may see the reasoning behind the limits and look to other problems as more important issues to solve. In this case, it becomes not only a problem of understanding the Armenian voter base and their concerns, but also informing them about issues they may not be aware of and educating them on current issues. Analyzing what Armenian voters in Glendale look for in political candidates may be the key to increasing voter turnout among Armenians and the broader Glendale voter spectrum as a whole.

 

*Alen Shirvanyan is a participant of the Armenian National Committee of America- Glendale chapter 2015 summer internship program. The views expressed in this article are based on individual observation and are not representative of the opinions directly upheld by the ANCA-Glendale or oragark.com. For more information about internship program please contact ANCA-Glendale Community Outreach Coordinator Tigranna Zakaryan: tigranna@ancaglendale.org

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Kabiru 11/09/2015 20:09:32
Yay for getting the essay done, hehe~ I can't wait until Wednesday, too.. so lionokg forward to my 4-day weekend. ^^ I hope you have fun in SB and have a safe trip.I've been really bad and not going to the gym 4x's a week like I was and am suppose to. I keep telling myself, this week I'll start up again and then the week goes and I only go once, haha~ I go to 24hr, too. O____o;[] http://rjctapazou.com staahc [link=http://ndijdihi.com]ndijdihi[/link]
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