Government / Politics

Election counting nearly complete

If all goes as planned, primary totals will be available at county website before deadline of June 29

Election Day was June 7, and since then the votes have been tallied by 20 county staff members and volunteers. They had until June 29 to get the job done and it looks like they’ve come really close to pulling it off, said Joe Paul Gonzalez, county clerk, auditor and recorder.

“It’s going as expect,” Gonzalez said. “We’re very methodical, making sure that each vote is properly counted and we leave a very detailed audit trail.”

On Tuesday, June 28, he said the final results would be posted on the county’s website that day around 5 p.m., or the next at the latest, which would meet the mandated deadline. He said the “canvas” or process in which the votes are counted was unusual because there were several hundred “provisional” voters, which are people who, for one reason or another, haven’t voted for a while, or it could not be determined whether the voter is eligible to vote or can vote at a particular polling place.

He said even if it could not be determined whether they were eligible to vote they were allowed to do so, by using a provisional ballot and envelope that had a voter registration card attached for the voter to fill out. These ballots will be assessed later to see if they were, in fact, eligible to vote and what contest they could vote in, which the parties control.

“Those provisional votes have to be counted after everything else has been processed,” Gonzalez said. “You have the polling place voters who are counted on the night of the election; then you have all the vote-by-mail voters who are processed (check signatures and scan names to check against the voter registration system) after the election if they’ve been turned in late. It’s all these little things that make elections very complicated, and that’s why the state authorizes us 29 days for the canvas of the vote.”

The canvas includes counting, auditing, and a 1 percent random recount.

Angela Curro, assistant registrar of voters, clarified that the official canvas period will run through the end of the week, and even though they had hoped to have the latest numbers up on the website by June 29, because of the requirement to count 1 percent by hand, it would most likely be June 30 before completion of the process. She said, though, that the current numbers on the website would not be significantly changed.

She said she had just run a report that told her the total vote-by-mail ballots issued, including some handed out over the counter to people who lost their first ballots, was 17,964.

“On election night we had a 15 to 16 percent turnout,” she said. “Vote-by-mail was 35 to 38 percent, totaling about 53 percent countywide. That’s not bad for this county. Historically, we have a really good voter turnout. This is right about where I thought it was going to be. It’s not the best I’ve seen during a primary. I’ve seen some primaries with a 60 percent turnout, which is really great.”

Compared to a general election, she said the number was much lower.

“We’re going to be seeing high 70s, low 80s percent turnout,” she said. “It kind of shows you the difference between voters who go to every election versus voters who just vote in general elections.”

As of June 28, the poll numbers on the county’s election website,, indicated that 25,646 people registered and 51.24 percent of them actually voted. Of those, 12,138 were Democrats, with 61.25 percent voting; there were 7,524 registered Republicans, with 58.4 percent voting; 4,191 non-partisans, who had the lowest turnout at just 18.79 percent. Other parties included: American Independent, 720 voters and 38.86 percent turnout; Green party had 108 registered voters and 32.41 percent turnout; Libertarian’s mustered 147 voters, with 36.73 percent turnout; and the Peace and Freedom party had 65 registered voters, with 23.08 percent showing up.

There were seven candidates for president candidates and an untold number of write-ins who managed to take 68 votes away from the front-runners. Five candidates never passed the 1 percent mark. Hillary Clinton pulled in 54.5 percent of the votes, while Bernie Sanders had 43.46 percent. On the Republican side, Donald Trump took the lion’s share of the votes at 74.7 percent. John R. Kasich came in a distant second, with 9.59 percent; Ted Cruz, 8.44 percent; and Ben Carson at 3.34 percent.

Thirty-four candidates competed for the U.S. Senate, with Democrat Kamala Devi Harris, California’s attorney general since 2011, far outdistancing all the others combined with 35.19 percent of the votes. The most votes for the local Congressional seat went to Jimmy Panetta, with 63.25 percent. Republican Casey Lucas came in a distant second at 30.37 percent. State Assembly candidate Anna Caballero, with 47.13 percent, had the most votes in that race. Mark T. Medina beat his sole opponent Mark Starritt 56.62 percent to 42.81 percent in the District 1 Board of Supervisors race. Supervisors Anthony Botelho and Jaime De La Cruz were unopposed in their campaigns, taking 96.5 percent and 94.49 percent respectively.

Next up, the general election, Tuesday, November 18.

John Chadwell

John Chadwell is a freelance photojournalist with additional experience as a copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter, and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer, having worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John worked as a scriptwriting consultant, and his own script, "God's Club," was produced and released in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime, which are sold on Amazon. To contact John Chadwell, send an email to: [email protected].