Election won’t be official for a few days; some ballots uncounted | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Election won’t be official for a few days; some ballots uncounted

Jeff Munson

About 6,500 provisional and absentee ballots from voters countywide remain to be counted, leaving open the question as to whether the race for the El Dorado County supervisor District 5 seat is firm.

William Schultz, the county’s recorder-clerk said he would have the absentee and provisional ballot results by Tuesday. The ballots came in on Tuesday, which need to have signature verifications. In the hotly contested race, health care provider Norma Santiago garnered 33.9 percent of the votes in all 24 precincts. She edged out South Shore attorney Dennis Crabb, by 168 votes, or 30.8 percent, followed by challenger South Shore businessman Lou Pierini with 28.1 percent or 310 votes behind Santiago, according to election returns. Challenger Stephen Reinhard ran a distant fourth with 7 percent of the vote.

“Nothing went wrong. These are absentee ballots that any voter can drop off,” Schultz said on Wednesday.

Santiago said she will assume the role as winner and is moving forward.

“It appears that I am the winner and in light of that I’m responding as the winner and making the contacts I need to make and will start implementing the policies I’ve advocated in the campaign,” she said. “My focus is not on what might happen but on doing the job.”

Crabb, who ran a campaign with major backing from much of the county’s rank-and-file government and business sectors, was unavailable for comment.

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Pierini said he doesn’t think the election results will change, but there is always a possibility.

“I’m not counting on any changes. Statistically it would be very unlikely for the results to change percentage wise. She should still be able to hang in there with 33.9 percent, unless there is a really weird probability of something happening.”

To add to the confusion, a Sacramento Bee story, which was posted on the paper’s Web site at 2:15 a.m. nearly three hours after the 24 precinct results were tallied, declared Crabb as the winner.

Bee regional editor Jerry Eagan acknowledged the Web story was incorrect, that a correct version was put up on the Bee’s Web site after it was discovered, and that he will find out what happened.