The back-and-forth race between incumbents Ed Maring and Jeannette Kessler for the final spot on the Del Puerto Health Care District board took another turn late last week, when Maring’s 11-vote deficit turned into a 13-vote lead thanks to vote-by-mail ballots.
According to the Stanislaus County Elections Office, more than 28,000 late-arriving vote-by-mail ballots — roughly 20 percent of the total votes in the county — still had to be counted after the Nov. 4 election.
Anne Stokman easily won the first of two available spots on the board. Maring led Kessler throughout Election Night as votes were counted, but when the final precinct totals came in, Kessler took a 1,924 to 1,913 lead. When results of the final vote-by-mail ballots were added in Friday night, though, Maring led 2,391 to 2,378.
And it’s not over yet.
There are still nearly 8,500 provisional ballots and 1,900 other ballots left to be verified and counted, county clerk Lee Lundrigan said Monday.
Only a small percentage of the remaining ballots are likely to come from Patterson, but there will certainly be enough to affect the outcome of the health care district race.
It is uncertain when the ballot counting will be complete, but state law requires that the final vote be certified by Dec. 2.
Also still in limbo is Measure S, which would impose a half-cent sales tax to fund transportation projects countywide. The measure requires a two-thirds vote to pass, and after the vote-by-mail ballots were counted, it remained just short of passing.
The “Yes” votes on Measure S did increase by nearly one-tenth of a percent, from 65.88 percent to 65.96 percent. But the provisional ballots represent only about 5 percent of the total vote, and the measure would likely need “Yes” votes on about 75 percent of the remaining ballots to pass.
Patterson Mayor Becky Campo increased her lead over challenger Luis Molina and now appears to be assured a victory. At last count, Campo led 2,536 to 1,907, or 56.7 percent to 42.6 percent.
Totals in the City Council race, in which incumbents Dominic Farinha and Annette Smith easily held onto their seats, remained mostly unchanged.
The nearly 4,500 votes for mayor far surpassed the previous high for a Patterson mayoral election. A few more than 3,300 people voted in 2004, when David Keller defeated Kathy Wright.
Despite Patterson having a higher population, turnout in 2006 was lower than in 2004 mostly because the mayoral race was not as hotly contested and there was no presidential election that year.
Contact James Leonard at 892-6187 or email@example.com