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L.A. elections: Join the conversation

March 5, 2013 |  7:43 pm

Times reporters will join L.A. Now Live at 9 p.m. for a live election update and to answer readers’ questions about the Los Angeles primary.

Lines at polling places were short Tuesday, though the election will result in significant changes in city leadership, with residents selecting a mayor, city attorney, city controller, and eight City Council members

LIVE RESULTS: Los Angeles primary election

As voters headed to the polls, former City Council President Eric Garcetti was locked in a tight race with City Controller Wendy Greuel. In last week’s USC Price/Los Angeles Times poll, Garcetti had support from 27% of those surveyed and Greuel had 25% — a statistical tie because of the margin of error — while the three other major candidates were bunched behind. Former prosecutor and radio host Kevin James was at 15%, City Councilwoman Jan Perry was at 14% and former technology executive Emanuel Pleitez was fifth with 5%.

If no candidate breaks 50%, the top two vote-getters will enter a May runoff.

FULL COVERAGE: L.A.'s race for mayor

Turnout by the 1.8 million registered voters in the city is expected by some political observers to be below the 34% seen in 2005 general election, when Antonio Villaraigosa won office to become Los Angeles' first Latino mayor in modern times. The city clerk has issued 663,065 vote-by-mail ballots — about a fifth had been returned by Monday.

The median Los Angeles turnout is 26%, compared to 48% in Chicago, 44% in Philadelphia and 41% in San Francisco, according to a 2007 study by a University of Michigan professor.