Remaining Berkeley votes could change close contests

Measure T, which calls for the rezoning of West Berkeley, narrowly failed but uncounted votes may change the outcome. Photo: Tracey Taylor

Update, 11:45 a.m.: According to election law, the remaining votes must be counted and reported within 31 days of the election, so by Dec. 7. Councilman Gordon Wozniak, writing in our Comments section, says it will likely take about one week: “It takes about a week to count all the absentee ballots that arrived on Election Day or were dropped off at a polling place, plus provisionals,” he says.

From the Secretary of State website: “In close contests, a clear winner may not be apparent for many days, as county officials verify and count millions of unprocessed ballots that include vote-by-mail ballots, provisional ballots cast at polling places, and others. By law, counties have 31 days to complete their official canvass and certify final election results to the Secretary of State, and they often need that full month to finish the work.”  [Hat-tip Alina.]

Original story: The vote tallies announced by the Registrar of Voters last night are probably missing at least 20,000 Berkeley votes, which means some of the close Berkeley races could be affected.

The vote on Measure T, the West Berkeley zoning changes, is particularly close. Only 123 votes separate the two sides. Measure S, the sit ordinance, is also close, with 1,055 votes between the sides.

Last night, 32,661 votes were recorded in the mayoral contest. Four years ago, over 56,000 Berkeleyans voted for mayor. Given the high turnouts observed in Berkeley yesterday, it’s clear there are plenty of votes remaining to be counted.

According to Alameda Registrar Dave Macdonald, the majority of remaining ballots are vote by mail. Mail ballots had to be delivered to a polling station or the registrar by 8:00 p.m. last night. Further uncounted votes are in the provisional ballots. Provisional ballots are required for voters who are not on the voting roster at their polling station, who bring absentee ballots without an envelope, who register late to vote, or who applied to vote by mail, but go to the polls instead.

This morning, the registrar could not confirm how many Berkeley ballots remain to be counted. An update of both the count and the likely number is expected later today.

Other than Measures T and S, the other race likely to be affected by the further counts is the Rent Stabilization Board. Only 1,075 votes separates current third place finisher Asa Dodsworth from current sixth place finisher Nicole Drake. The top four candidates are selected for the Rent Board.

Live blogging the Berkeley elections: all the final results [11.06.12]

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  • Alina

    They released a new count. Measure T is now trailing by 26 votes.  16564 to 16590 :)  

  • Rob Wrenn

    For what it’s worth, new batch of absentees just released Weds p.m. are breaking 51.7% to 48.3% for Yes on S, which is less than the early absentees. But without knowing in detail where these votes were cast, it’s difficult to make anything of these numbers beyond the fact that margin by which S is losing fell a bit with this first update. There will be more updates; probably several.

  • Guest

    Contest# of Votes% of TotalNo1659050.04Yes1656449.96

    T seems to have tightened up a bit

  • Nick Taylor

     Yes, agreed. But what about Bates’ theft of newspapers from a news stand when that paper ran an editorial endorsing his opponent? That was pretty L O W.

  • Rob Wrenn

    I  calculated it from early absentee returns released about 8:30 last night and from returns at the end of night when they stopped counting, which include those early votes plus everything cast at the polls except provisionals. They resumed counting today so the numbers are now out of date

  • Wanderer

    Don’t forget that Berkeley’s votes affect larger and countywide contests. Right now, Measure B1, the transportation sales tax measure has 65.6% of the vote, it needs 66.7%. To pass, the yet to be counted votes would have to run at least 70% for Measure B1. By population alone, if there are 140,000 votes outstanding countywide, only some 10,000 would come from Berkeley. But if there’s a higher percentage from Berkeley, which supported B1 strongly, it improves the chances of B1 getting over the 2/3 threshold.

  • Haselstein

    Sharkey, I have a funny feeling there were NO yes on T signs , but we were hit several times with real estate PAC flyers.

    Hoping that no on S and T sustain.

  • Berkeleyan

    So is it all over?  

  • Guest

    Stealing signs is A-OK, but stealing papers is LOW?

    Cognitive dissonance.

  • PragmaticProgressive

    If your prediction proves accurate, I think that will give voters a very clear picture of which council members are against progress in our city.  

    The only question in my mind is whether we have alternate candidates who are willing to run against these guys, and run hard.  I think it’s going to require extensive door-to-door campaigning — lots of face time out in the neighborhoods. 

  • PragmaticProgressive

    Nobody knowns nothin’ yet.

  • Susan

    Turnout was lower than in 2008. This year in Alameda County 49% of registered voters cast a ballot. In 2008 it was 78%. 20,000 outstanding seems to be a tad high for Berkeley.

  • The Sharkey

    If there were no Yes on T signs, then where did the No on T campaign get the Yes on T signs that they stole, defaced, and then put back up?

    You can see pictures of some of them in this Berkeleyside article about Measure T. You commented on that article, so I imagine you already saw the pictures.

  • Berkeleyan

    Hey Pragmatic … Pretty quiet out there.  

  • PragmaticProgressive

    It’s not over until the official tally is complete and certified. Quick returns are great where the result is clear — Bates plainly won — but in close races, we should be patient and count every vote.

  • EBGuy

     So you want to gerrymander a district of predominately transient residents.

  • David D.

    I don’t think you understand the meaning of gerrymander. In any case, I look forward to you putting an initiative on the next ballot to have an independent committee conduct redistricting. I’ll happily vote for it.