November 14, 2005
El Dorado County won’t have official results of the Nov. 8 election until Friday.
About 7,000 absentee ballots and 600 provisionals in the county have yet to be tabulated, figures that have increased since “some of the carrying crates had many more envelopes in them than the normal amount estimated,” Registrar Bill Schultz said in an e-mail.
The Elections Department is cross-checking the signatures against its registration base, opening envelopes and sorting cards by district. The department was unable to determine Monday how many of those pending ballots came from Tahoe’s District 5, Assistant Registrar Norma Gray said.
This leaves the District 5 race with 168 votes dividing Norma Santiago, the top vote-getter at 33.9 percent, and second-place Dennis Crabb at 30.8 percent. Lou Pierini is in third with 28.1 percent, and Stephen Reinhard has 7 percent.
Gray said no candidate representatives have shown up to view the counting process at the county Elections Office in Placerville, but observers are welcome if “they don’t touch the ballots.”
Realizing the eagerness among citizens to get final results, Gray encouraged the community to be patient. She doubts the results will be changed in the final outcome. She recalled one race with a differential of only 14 votes. Those are the types of races that may prompt a recount, but that process wouldn’t happen until after the results are certified, Gray added.
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Crabb said that asking for a recount was “certainly an option.”
“We’re going to wait and see,” said Crabb, who spent the weekend decompressing by tasting wine and hiking in the foothills.
In the meantime, Santiago is going about her business as the supervisor-elect. The new supervisor will be sworn in Dec. 6.
The four other supervisors have called the longtime Tahoe resident to congratulate her, and she’s met informally with some department heads.
Pierini called her on election night. Santiago said she hasn’t heard from the other candidates, but her cell phone was quite busy.
“I don’t think (the pending ballots) will affect the outcome,” Pierini said Monday.
They haven’t changed his plans either. Pierini took some time off, going to a Rolling Stones concert this past weekend. Santiago has been soaking up county news and issues.
“I’m going to continue doing what I’m doing. There are issues pertinent to the district – things that Dave Solaro started,” she said Monday. Upon final results, Santiago would replace the retiring Solaro, who moved to South Carolina.
When all is said and done, election worker Joe Zigzelberger believes the way it appears now the “vote by mail” tally may exceed the number of ballots submitted at the polling places. “Vote by mail” means absentees and votes made in precincts without polling places – eight of them in the 5th District. Meeks Bay precincts went to a “vote by mail” system after snowstorms on one election night made it tough going around Emerald Bay.
Gray said one year her husband, Allen, and son-in-law Jeff Clanton were forced to take a county sheriff’s marine unit from the South to West shores to pick up the ballots.
El Dorado County Election
Unofficial, countywide voter turnout: 51.1 percent
Tahoe’s District 5 turnout: 34.6 percent
Absentee countywide turnout: 11.1 percent
Supervisor swearing in: Dec. 6