Councilman Andrews (Running Write-In) Now On Verge Of Avoiding Runoff; Add'l Ballots Tallied Saturday Night (April 16) Show Him With 49.86% And He's Requested Hand-Tally -- Applying 2012 Statutory Change On Counting Write-Ins -- That Could Put Him Over 50%
|(April 17, 2016, 5:45 a.m., text added/updated 9:15 a.m. and 1:05 p.m.) -- LBREPORT.com has learned that additional ballots -- including a number of provisional ballots -- were tallied on Saturday night (April 16) by the City Clerk in Council districts 2, 6 and 8...and 6th district incumbent Dee Andrews -- who ran a write-in campaign for a third term (using LB's term limits bypass procedure) -- is now on the verge of avoiding a June runoff with 49.86% of the vote as currently tallied.
LBREPORT.com has learned that Councilman Andrews' campaign is invoking a Sacramento statutory change (effective 2012) that allows a write-in candidate to a request a hand tally of write-in ballots in which ballots initially not included in the count can be legally counted. On the initial tally, the City Clerk's office applied CA write-in rules that reject ballots unless the voter darkens a "bubble" next to the write-in line and properly spells the write-in candidate's name. However, Sacramento's statutory change (enacted after a San Diego election in which a candidate lost under strict application of the write-in rule) lets a write-in candidate request a hand tally of ballots in which those ballots can be counted under these circumstances:
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[Elections Code section 15342(F)(1)(A)] In the case of a primary election or a special election, the sum of the total number of votes cast for the write-in candidate and the total number of undervotes cast for the office but not examined pursuant to a hand tally is equal to or greater than the total number of votes cast for the candidate receiving the second highest number of votes for that office.
Saturday night's tally brought Andrews to 1,038 votes...and his three ballot challengers had a total of 1,044 votes; only six votes separate them. In an quick Sunday morning (April 17) email reply to LBREPORT.com, City Clerk Maria de la Luz Garcia indicated that Saturday night's tally added Provisional Ballots cast to the count (see email reply below.)
The 2012 statutory changes enable a number of ballots previously rejected for failing to darken the write-in bubble or mangling the spelling of Councilman Andrews name on the initial count to be counted for Andrews...and Saturday night's tally has brought Andrews to within seven votes of exceeding the 50% margin necessary to avoid a runoff. (Our admittedly unofficial reckoning: Current ballot total is 1038 + 1044 = 2082; adding seven previously uncounted but newly counted write-in ballots for Andrews = 2089 ballots; divide by 2 = 1044.5; if Andrews were to receive 1038 + 7 newly counted write-ins he'd have 1045; our unofficial reckoning presumes the vote totals for the other ballot-listed candidates would remain unchanged.)
If the hand tally puts Andrews over 50%, he'd be re-elected to a third four-year City Council term until mid-July 2020. Andrews took office following a May 2007 "winner-take-all" special election in which he received 27.25% of the vote in a multi-candidate field.
Amnesia file: the second place finisher in the May 2007 6th district special election was Al Austin (with 24.30%), who was backed by organized labor and, among others, then-Mayor Bob Foster. The difference between Andrews and Austin in the May 1, 2007 election was 74 votes out of 2,506 counted. Austin went on to run and win election in the 8th Council district in April 2012; four years later in the April 12, 2016 election, Austin avoided a runoff with 50.97% of ballots cast against two challengers (see below.)
Saturday night's vote tally of additional ballots comes after a Friday afternoon April 15 tally [that we had been under the impression included all outstanding ballots] in which Andrews had 48.97% (949 votes) and second place finisher Erik Miller had 27.24% (528 votes.)
However at the end of Saturday night's vote tally, Andrews had 49.86% (1,038 votes) when applying the strict reading of the write-in rule. Saturday night's vote count -- which added 89 votes to Andrews' total -- put him on the verge of going over the 50% threshhold and avoiding a runoff.
LBREPORT.com presumes the hand tally will take place early in the coming week, perhaps as early as Monday.
In the 8th Council district, Saturday's (April 16) vote tally gave incumbent 8th district Councilman Al Austin a wider voter margin for his re-election, now with 50.97% of the vote (2,059 votes), 78 votes ahead of the total of Turnbow (1,314 / 32.52%) plus Angel (662 / 16.51%). [Amnesia file: In April 2014, candidate (now 7th district Councilman) Roberto Uranga avoided a runoff against two other challengers by pulling 50.90% of the vote.]
In a Saturday afternoon (April 16) mass emailing before the Saturday night vote count -- and apparently assuming Friday's (April 15) total (in which he fell short of a runoff by roughly 20 votes) was the final vote count -- second place finisher Turnbow stated:
We fought the good fight, but now it's time to look toward the future...It is with a heavy heart that I am writing to let you know that we have conceded.
Vote totals reflecting Saturday night's (April 16) vote count are at this link.
[UPDATE] At predawn Sunday (April 17), LBREPORT.com was unclear on the reasons why all remaining ballots weren't tallied on Friday afternoon (April 15), prompting the Saturday night (April 16) vote count...and we asked City Clerk Garcia about this via email. City Clerk Garcia replied as follows:
[City Clerk Garcia] The update of the Unofficial Election Results Bulletin released on Friday, April 15, 2016 only included the vote by mail ballots received at-polls on Election Day and those received via mail between April 13, 2016 to April 15, 2016 (but postmarked no later than April 12, 2016, pursuant to CA Elections Code 3020). The update of the Unofficial Election Results Bulletin released yesterday, April 16, 2016 folded in the Provisional Ballots cast to the count.
The Provisional Ballots we now know were added on Saturday's count were in all three Council districts.
LBREPORT.com will have further on the 6th district vote count as we learn it.
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