No big changes with latest Berkeley ballot tallies; many more to count

A voting display on Claremont Crescent in Berkeley on Nov. 5, 2018. Photo: Pete Rosos

The standings haven’t changed in two City Council races in Berkeley that may still be too early to call, according to new results posted Thursday evening by the Alameda County registrar of voters.

At the end of Election Day, tallies for most Berkeley races were clear, with wide margins between frontrunners and challengers. In City Council districts 1 and 4, however, with tens of thousands of votes likely still to be counted in Berkeley, there was still the possibility of change.

Rashi Kesarwani in District 1 and Kate Harrison in District 4 are still in front of the pack, according to the newest results, which added about 700 votes in District 1 and 450 votes in District 4. The registrar of voters updated its results just before 5 p.m. for the first time since 2 a.m. Wednesday when it finished its Election Day ballot counts.

City Council, District 1Tally (%) [RCV]# of Votes
Precincts reported14 of 143,863
Rashi Kesarwani46%1,767
Igor A. Tregub34%1,332
Margo Schueler15%581
Mary Behm-Steinberg5%183
City Council, District 4Tally (%)# of Votes
Precincts reported12 of 122,690
Kate Harrison52%1,394
Ben Gould35%956
Gregory Magofna13%340

Because Kesarwani’s support in northwest Berkeley’s District 1 is shy of 50%, the race requires the ranked-choice voting process. Candidates are eliminated from the bottom, and their votes shift to the next choice on the ballot. The ranked-choice tabulation Thursday gave her 56% to Igor Tregub’s 44%. That hadn’t changed from the prior report.


Downtown Berkeley Councilwoman Harrison dropped one percentage point with the latest figures, but she is still above the 50%+1 threshold. She has 52% of the vote to Ben Gould’s 35% and Greg Magofña’s 13%.

In 2014, the last midterm election, council districts saw between 1,800 and 6,200 total ballots cast — though not every voter made selections for their council representatives.

The registrar of voters has counted roughly 28,000 ballots in Berkeley, an increase of about 4,300 over the last report, meaning there are likely many more to come. As Berkeleyside reported previously, however, dramatic changes are mathematically possible but unlikely. A shift would depend on the voting pattern of the uncounted votes varying from those already counted.

Overall, the county added about 30,000 ballots with Thursday’s update. The 33% turnout — based on current numbers, which will grow — includes 57% vote-by-mail ballots and 43% from the polls.

Berkeley has averaged 40,000 to 50,000 ballots in recent midterm elections, with turnout ranging from 50% to 66%.

In 2016, for the presidential race, Berkeley saw a 78% turnout, with 65,430 ballots cast, according to data from the Alameda County registrar of voters. Many predicted this year’s midterm election might see turnout closer to a presidential year due to its historic nature.