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Election 2015: Ryu, Rodriguez poised to upset challengers in low-turnout vote (update)

Voters headed to the polls Tuesday to elect three board members of the Los Angeles Unified School District and one member of the Los Angeles City Council. Check back here for updates as the results come in.

11:41 p.m.: Tough night for incumbents in low-turnout race 

L.A. teachers unions may have lost one of their biggest advocates on the LAUSD school board, as incumbent Bennet Kayser appears poised to lose his seat in the 5th district to charter advocate Ref Rodriguez. 

Meanwhile, L.A. City Council candidate David Ryu appeared to have upset Carolyn Ramsay, former chief of staff to outgoing councilman Tom LaBonge in district 4. Ryu had run as a political outsider against Ramsay, whose endorsements included a number of influential Democrats, including Mayor Garcetti and California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom. Ryu would become the first Korean-American to hold a seat on the council. 

Tweet: David Ryu

2-term incumbent Tamar Galatzan will likely lose her seat on LAUSD's board to Scott Schmerelson, a union-backed candidate who ran against Galatzan's support for the controversial iPad program currently under scrutiny by the FBI

Of the three LAUSD board members who faced elections this year, only Richard Vladovic — an early supporter of the iPad program who raised concerns about its rollout, and eventually pulled his backing for the project — looked sure to hold on to his seat. 

As of 11:41 p.m., with 100 percent of votes tallied, only 8.6 percent of registered votes had taken part in Tuesday's election. 

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10:54 p.m.: At halfway point, few changes 

With 60 percent of votes in, community health center director David Ryu continued to hold an advantage over Carolyn Ramsay, the chief of staff of former councilman Tom LaBonge. 

Tweet: David Ryu

Dogged by the iPad scandal at LAUSD, board incumbents were having difficulty holding off their opponents. Union-backed boardmember Bennet Kayser held 47 percent of the vote to his opponent, charter school administrator Ref Rodriguez's 53 percent.

2-term LAUSD boardmember Tamar Galatzan gained some ground on opponent Scott Schmerelson, who leads with 53 percent of the vote to Galatzan's 47 percent. Incumbent Richard Vladovic led Lydia Gutierrez with 55 percent of the vote. 

As of 10:54 p.m.: 

  • About 74,197 ballots had been counted, just 7.45 percent of voters registered for the election
  • 56,729 votes had been counted in all LAUSD races
  • 17,468 votes had been counted in the City Council District 4 race

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10:06 p.m.: Early poll returns mirror mail-in results

The first returns from precincts around L.A. have come in, but the numbers haven't changed: City council candidate David Ryu held a lead of 54 percent of the vote over challenger Carolyn Ramsay.

LAUSD board race returns were similarly unchanged, with Scott Mark Schmerelson leading incumbent Tamar Galatzan 52 to 48 percent, and Ref Rodriguez leading incumbent Bennett Kayser 56 to 44 percent.

Meanwhile, board incumbent Richard Vladovic, an initial supporter of the iPad project who went on to push for an investigation into its rollout, kept his lead of 54 percent of the vote over Lydia Gutierrez. 

As of 10:06 p.m.:

  • 61,294 votes had been counted, or 6.16 percent of all registered voters
  • 47,142 votes had been cast in the three LAUSD races
  • 14,152 votes had been cast for the City Council District 4 seat

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8:35 p.m.: Ryu, Rodriguez lead in early returns

David Ryu picked up an early lead in the race for L.A. City Council District 4 Tuesday night. In early returns, Ryu had 6,623 votes; Ramsay had 5,728. 

Ryu is running as an outsider in the race against Carolyn Ramsay and was able to pick up endorsements from Democratic heavy-hitters including Gavin Newsom and Sandra Fluke

A total of 55,501 mail-in ballots, representing about 6 percent of registered voters, had been counted as of 8:30 p.m. in races for three LAUSD board seats and one city council seat, according to the Los Angeles City Clerk's office.

In perhaps the most watched of the LAUSD board races, charter school administrator Ref Rodriguez leads incumbent Bennett Kayser in mail-in balloting.

Incumbent Tamar Galatzan was trailing opponent Scott Schmerelson. Galatzan, an early supporter of former Superintent John Deasy's plan to provide iPads to every LAUSD student, found herself fending off criticism of the program from her rival's supporters. 

Of the three LAUSD board incumbents, only Richard Vladovic maintained an early lead in the race over his opponent, Lydia Gutierrez. 

As of 8:30 p.m., officials were still counting ballots from polling stations and had reported no results.

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​8 p.m.: Polls close

Officials were expected to begin counting votes in Tuesday's citywide general election to fill three seats on the Los Angeles Unified School District and one on the L.A. City Council.

KPCC will be updating this story with results as soon as we have them.

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Previously: Citywide runoff election expected to draw few voters

Voters head to the polls Tuesday to choose three Los Angeles Unified school board members and one City Council member in an election with high stakes but a likely low turnout.

Lacking a high profile race, such as a mayoral contest, the general municipal election is expected to draw less than 10 percent of registered voters.

Yet the election will have significant impact: three new or re-elected LAUSD board members could change the ideological direction of the country's second largest school district. The winner of the City Council District 4 race will expand the number of women on the council or add an Asian American to its makeup.

LAUSD school board election 

Voters will fill three school board seats representing the following districts:

• District 3 (West San Fernando Valley) - Incumbent Tamar Galatzan faces challenger Scott Schmerelson. The issues that divide them include the iPad program.

• District 5 (East Los Angeles) - Incumbent Bennett Kayser and challenger Ref Rodriguez are on the ballot. Kayser is backed by the teachers union and Rodriguez has the support of the charter school association.

• District 7 (Los Angeles Harbor) - Incumbent Richard Vladovic is up against Lydia A. Gutiérrez. Vladovic has drawn the support of both the teachers union and charter school interests but also criticism from Gutiérrez for his support of the iPad program.

City Council District 4

The district covers the San Fernando Valley to parts of Koreatown. Voters will choose between David Ryu and Carolyn Ramsay. Either would add to the diversity on the council

They have differed over how to address the district's aging infrastructure, including broken streets.

The polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. To locate your polling place and look up a sample ballot, visit the Los Angeles County voter website.

For information on the candidates and their positions on key issues, visit KPCC's election guide

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