The polls are long closed in Santa Clarita’s City Council election, and city officials plan to tally the remaining results Tuesday, after proper verifications are made.
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Unofficial election results show a turnout of 14,870 voters, who cast 38,837 votes — however, the results of the last 965 ballots are likely to decide the election.
Santa Clarita officials had all of the verified votes counted as of about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday night, will all precincts reported. These preliminary, unofficial results show Mayor Laurene Weste garnered 5,822 votes and Mayor Pro Tem Marsha McLean had 5,363 votes.
And then the margins narrow significantly.
Related article: UPDATE: Santa Clarita Election: Weste, McLean, Acosta Ahead
“The City Clerk’s Office is verifying the remaining 679 vote-by-mail ballots and 286 provisional ballots, said Jessica Jackson, communications specialist for the city of Santa Clarita.
There are several dozen ballots in need of signature verification, which requires city officials to send the ballots to officials at the Los Angeles County Registrar Recorder’s Office, who verify the validity of the votes, and then send the ballots back to Santa Clarita City Hall.
“We’ve requested an expedited process,” Jackson said, “but (the ability to tally the remaining votes) is contingent on when those come back.”
Based on the precincts reporting, and not counting the outstanding votes, Dante Acosta had the third most votes, with 4,562, which was 11.7 percent of the vote.
However, Alan Ferdman is 46 votes behind Acosta, and Gloria Mercado-Fortine is 161 votes behind Ferdman.
Here are the remaining totals: Alan Ferdman, garnered 4,516 (11.6); Gloria Mercado-Fortine, 4,355 (11.2); Duane Harte, 4,198 (10.8); Maria Gutzeit, 4,156(10.7); Sandra Bull, 1,252 (3.2); Moazzem H. Chowdhury, 1,177 (3); Stephen Daniels, 1,080 (2.8); Paul J. Wieczorek, 1,046 (2.7); Berta Gonzalez-Harper, 878 (2.3); and Dennis Conn, 432 (1.1).
The City Clerk’s Office laid out a timeline for on the processing of the remaining votes on the city of Santa Clarita’s website, although city officials are reliant upon Los Angeles County officials in order to meet the following schedule.
Officials with the City Clerk’s Office hope to receive vote-by-mail and provisional-ballot verification from the county Friday, in which case the ballot board resumes in the Century Room to sort and prepare items received from county for the final count. The city clerk would then post a 48-hour notice of second count.
On Monday, officials with the City Clerk’s Office plan to begin the canvassing process, which includes reconciling the numbers in the voter roster with the precinct sheets provided by poll inspectors. The Ballot Board would then resume counting in the Century Room to finalize vote by mail and provisional ballots, including sealing boxes.
By 10 a.m. Tuesday, the City Clerk’s Office is planning to administer a second, public count of verified provisional and vote by mail ballots that were turned in at the polls on Election Day and subsequently verified. The second count will take place in the Council Chambers at City Hall.
On April 22, Santa Clarita City Council members are planning to ratify the results, and the City Council members will take their oath of office.
Based on past results reported at the city’s website, there are at least 23,447 more votes cast in the 2014 election than in the 2012 race in which TimBen Boydston and Bob Kellar were elected.
That figure doesn’t include the 965 yet-to-be tallied votes, which could bring the total to 41,732.
However, the city of Santa Clarita added about 25,000 more residents to the equation with a pair of annexations since that election.
There were 111,732 registered voters in the Santa Clarita City Council electoral district, which means including the yet-to-be-counted ballots, about 14.2 percent of eligible voters showed up at the polls. This is a slight drop-off from 2012, when a little less than 17 percent of eligible voters cast ballots.
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Source: Santa Clarita News