IMPERIAL COUNTY — With an unknown number of mail-in and provisional ballots left to be counted from the March 3 primary, the race for the second spot in a November runoff for the Imperial Irrigation District Division 2 seat is tightening.
The news came in an
update from the county Elections Department.
As of March 10, incumbent
Bruce Kuhn was leading third-place challenger Ryan Childers by just nine votes
to secure one of two spots in the runoff. With four people running for Kuhn’s
seat, only the top-two finishers will be in the runoff.
After the unofficial
final tally released just after midnight March 4, Kuhn’s lead over Childers had
been 49 votes.
Political newcomer and
top vote-getter in the race, John Brooks Hamby, is still solidly out front and all
but assured a place in the runoff.
As of March 10, Hamby had
1,916 votes, or 41.09 percent. Kuhn tallied 1,237, or 26.5 percent; and
Childers 1,228, or 26.3 percent.
IID Division 2 was the
only race to have changed or tightened significantly since the initial final unofficial
vote count from March 3.
In a March 4 press
release, the Election Department stated there could be as many as 7,700 mail-in
and provisional ballots left to be counted. However, as of March 10, Registrar
of Voters Debbie Porter said she had “no clue” how many ballots remain
Election officials have
already blown past the 7,700-ballot estimate with no end immediately in sight.
With some mail-in ballots still to be processed and counted this week, more
than 8,100 new ballots were tallied from March 4-10.
Some 21,683 ballots had
been counted from the county’s 77,390 registered voters, for a turnout of 28.02
percent, as of March 10.
“We still have not
started provisionals so far,” Porter said, adding she expected to begin
processing those ballots by the weekend of March 14.
Once that starts, the
count would slow even further due to the time it takes to verify and process
provisional ballots, Porter cautioned. Sometimes as few as 10 ballots a day are
counted, she said.
Elections has until April
3 to certify the election.
Meanwhile, nothing had
changed significantly in the IID Division 4 race, where incumbent Erik Ortega
has extended his lead and totaled 1,682 votes, or 47.01 percent. Javier
Gonzalez remained in second and the current November runoff challenger with
1,008 votes, or 28.17 percent.
Likewise, little had
changed in the election for the District 2 seat on the count Board of
Supervisors, where incumbent Luis Plancarte won outright in the two-person
Plancarte had 2,699 votes, or 56.14 percent, while challenger Claudia Camarena had 2,109 votes, or 43.86 percent, as of March 10. The elections department will continue to update the count around 5 p.m. daily on its website, https://www.co.imperial.ca.us/regvoters/ .