Thousands of ballots remain to be tallied

More than 30,000 forms still must be counted and could shift some outcomes

tstrickland@thetribunenews.com clambert@thetribunenews.comNovember 8, 2012 

In some races, the candidates are tied. In others, the margin is too close to call.

Remaining ballots in a handful of close races in Tuesday’s general election will start being counted today.

A new batch of unaccounted for vote-by-mail ballots discovered Thursday on a bottom shelf in the San Luis Obispo County election office brought the local total to 30,109 ballots left to process.

And, with numerous county races with margins of fewer than 100 votes, according to unofficial election results, new tallies could ultimately shift several outcomes.

The Clerk-Recorder’s Office added 197 ballots to its count Thursday as election staff did a second check for ballots that morning, county Clerk-Recorder Julie Rodewald said.

The remaining ballots will begin to be tallied today, the county’s next scheduled counting day.

Rodewald hopes to get through most of the remaining 21,983 vote-by-mail ballots as well as 1,593 ballots that weren’t processed on election night.

New tallies will be posted on the clerk-recorder’s website, www.slovote.com.

Several thousand provisional ballots for close contests won’t be processed until next week.

Elections staff is now checking signatures and preparing the leftover vote-by-mail ballots for counting Friday. They are also working on ballots that need duplication for contests that have close races, according to the news release.

Here’s a look at the county’s closest races as of Thursday:

• The Grover Beach measure to change the city from general law to a charter city is ahead by 11 votes with all precincts reporting. But 1,289 ballots still remain to be counted.

• Only a few votes separate the four candidates running for three seats in the California Valley Community Services District race. Third-place finisher Lisa Marrone is only two votes ahead of fourth-place contender Prince Frazier, with 31 ballots left to be counted.

• A mere seven votes separate Chris Bausch and Tim Gearhart on the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District board. There are 4,109 ballots outstanding.

• In the Heritage Ranch services district, 38 votes separate second-place finisher Daniel Burgess from David Fretwell, who finished third. Only two seats were open. There are 303 ballots outstanding.

• In Oceano, 36 votes separate the two contenders for one seat. Karen White leads Rick Searcy; 582 ballots must still be counted.

• In Paso Robles, 44 votes separate incumbent Fred Strong and challenger Jim Reed for a second seat on the City Council. There are 2,772 ballots outstanding.

• In the Templeton district race, 48 votes separate third-place finisher Geoff English from Branda Gray, who finished fourth. Three seats are open. Seven hundred ballots remain.

In two unusual instances, candidates are tied for a seat:

• Five candidates ran for three seats on the Independence Ranch Community Services District board.

Mary Kalvans and William Mulcahy garnered 58 votes each, putting them both five votes behind second-place finisher Carol Noe. Seventy-one ballots remain to be counted.

• A similar situation happened in the San Miguel Community Services District race, which also had three open seats. John Green led with 206 votes, followed by Anthony Kalvans with 170 votes.

Richard Harrison and Larry Reuck each garnered 120 votes. There are 170 ballots outstanding.

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