Update, March 10, 3:45 p.m. With a 27% turnout, the margins haven’t changed much in Berkeley’s election for its new downtown City Council representative. As of 3:31 p.m. Friday, Kate Harrison now has 1,607 votes (62%), while Ben Gould has 992 (38%). According to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters office, the district has 9,453 registered voters, and at least 2,620 ballots were cast. The latest results include about 600 additional votes counted since Tuesday night. A 1% manual tally, to check the electronic equipment as required by state law, is slated to be done Monday, with certified results expected to follow next week.
Original story, March 7, 8:33 p.m. Early results in the special vote-by-mail election in District 4, to fill the vacant seat once held by Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín, strongly suggest Kate Harrison will be the likely new council member. The early results, just posted by the Alameda County Registrar of Voters, show Harrison leading Ben Gould 1,278 to 728.
The early results do not include ballots mailed Monday or today. The registrar has said updated tallies, with ballots from the latest mail-in voters, will be available on Friday.
Harrison was endorsed by Mayor Jesse Arreguín, had represented District 4 before he won the mayor’s seat. Gould, a UC Berkeley graduate student, had run in the November mayor’s race, finishing fourth. Harrison’s likely victory should cement a majority on many City Council votes for Arreguín and his allies.
Harrison could not immediately be reached for comment on Tuesday night.
There are 9,453 registered voters in the district, so there may be many more votes to count.
However, it is unlikely that late voters will vary dramatically from earlier voters. Harrison’s 63.7% to Gould’s 36.3% is sufficiently commanding that only anomalous results in the late counts would swing the result.
On Tuesday night, Gould said he agreed it was unlikely late votes would alter the result, but that he was pleased with his campaign.
“I’m really proud of everything my team achieved,” he said. “I’m looking forward to working with my community and making Berkeley a better place. I always said my campaign was about solving problems in Berkeley and my community. I may have to contribute in a different way.”