In Tulare County elections, the election night Final Summary usually tells the tale of the winners and losers. The totals for each candidate are based on absentee votes and walk-in voters on Election Day.
The eventual vote total rarely varies more than a few percentage points either way. But there are mitigating factors in this election that could affect the outcome and at least alter the order of finishers in the District 1 race for county supervisor.
In Tuesday’s Primary Election, 59 polling places scattered throughout Tulare County were open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. But some polling places, like Three Rivers, experienced several problems caused in part by many polling place voters being switched from walk-ins at the Three Rivers Memorial Building to permanent vote-by-mail.
When these voters asked for a ballot at the local precinct because they never received notification of the change or a ballot in the mail, this contingent had to fill out a provisional ballot.
According to Kristina Roper Graber, a polling place worker who lives in Three Rivers, there were 321 voters who came to the Memorial Building on June 7 and voted by a regular ballot. The Final Summary totals for Three Rivers in the District 1 race were as follows for those who voted by a walk-in ballot: Elliott, 153; Smith, 31; Macaulay, 29; Crocker, 21; Poochigian, 17; Sanchez, 10; Galvez, 2; Salinas, 1. Forty-five voters did not turn the ballot over or chose not to vote for county supervisor.
Provisional ballots and vote-by-mail ballots turned in at the polling place were not counted in the June 7 totals.
Districtwide, the Final Summary report lists Smith, 1,625 (22%); Crocker, 1,415 (19%); Elliott, 1,004 (14%); Poochigian, 981 (13%); Macaulay, 922 (12%); Sanchez, 566 (8%); Salinas, 469 (6%); and Galvez, 382 (5%).
Even with 2,000 to 3,000 more ballots remaining to be counted in District 1 it appears that Smith and Crocker have a wide enough lead to finish in first and second places, respectively, and will face off in the November 8 Presidential Election. There is likely to be some jockeying among the other candidates for position but improbable that anyone will gain enough to overtake them.
With 17,000 ballots yet to be counted countywide, the turnout for the June 7 election was 26 percent, but will top out at 30 percent, according to the county Registrar of Voters office. It is probable that the Three Rivers turnout will finish at approximately 60 percent; Three Rivers voters in the past have frequently have eclipsed 75 percent in the general election during a presidential year.
In other races of note, Trump and Clinton were their respective party winners. Hillary Clinton made history by being the first woman in the U.S. to secure a major party’s presidential nomination when she won the Primary Election over Bernie Sanders.
In the race for Barbara Boxer’s senate seat, there were two columns full of candidates, 34 to be exact. California voters made history in this race, too, by sending two Democrats to a November runoff and denying a Republican a spot on the fall ballot for the first time since the state’s first direct election of senators in 1914.
State Attorney General Kamala Harris won the largest share of the vote. By the end of the night, Harris led second-place Orange County Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez by more than 800,000 votes, a margin of 23 percentage points.
In the 23rd congressional district race that includes Three Rivers, Democrat Wendy Reed will challenge House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy in November.
Jim Patterson easily defeated his only challenger, Gwen Morris, in the State Assembly race for the 23rd District that also includes Three Rivers. Because there were only two candidates running, Patterson will be elected once all the ballots are counted and certified.
The lone statewide ballot measure was Proposition 50, which passed by 77 percent. The measure will give state lawmakers the ability to suspend their colleagues’ pay along with voting power when legislators are accused of wrongdoing while in office.
The Tulare County Elections Office will release another update Friday, June 10. The Registrar of Voters has 30 days to certify the election as final.