A few early birds beat Wendy Greuel to her polling place Tuesday morning at Unitarian-Universalist Church of Studio City, but the mayoral candidate was there just 30 minutes after the polls opened for today's municipal elections.
Accompanied by her husband, Dean Schramm, and the couple's 9-year-old son, Thomas, Greuel tried to cast her ballot in one of the voting stalls. But the machine malfunctioned and she moved to the next stall, with Thomas by her side wearing a red hoodie and blue jeans and watching intently.
"Sorry, we brought a few people,'' she said to the poll workers as a scrum of cameras moved in to record her every move.
She and Thomas dropped her ballot into the locked box together. Then she and Schramm walked out to take Thomas to school, where he had a test, Greuel said.
Outside the polling place, she admitted to both excitement and nerves as Los Angeles voters go to the polls today to decide who will be the next mayor of Los Angeles. After a long campaign, voters will finally choose from among Gruel, the city controller; Eric Garcetti and Jan Perry, both City Council members; former radio talk show host Kevin James; former technology executive Emanuel Pleitez; and three little-known candidates, VJ Draiman, Addie Miller and Norton Sandler.
If no one wins a majority, the top two finishers will face off in a May runoff election. After a bruising final few days, Greuel had a simple message for Los Angeles residents.
"Please go out and vote,'' she said. "It's important to your every day life ... and this is your civic duty and responsibility."
Then she was off for a day filled with get-out-the-vote events followed by a nighttime party with family, friends and supporters to watch the returns come in.
John Kelleher, a UPS driver who was out walking his dog, watched the lighted TV cameras follow Greuel down the street like fireflies in the cool gray morning skies.
He had just voted for Greuel, and told her so, Kelleher said.
"This city needs a clean-up person,'' he said. "I think she'll do that."