This feature is a Calexico Chronicle ONLINE EXCLUSIVE.
With one day to spare to meet state regulations, the Imperial County Registrar of Voters was expected to certify the final results of the March primary election on April 2, a county official said.
“I spoke with (Debbie Porter, Imperial County
registrar of voters) … she was going to certify the election (April 2),” county
Public Information Officer Linsey Dale said April 1. The unofficial final count
was posted late March 30.
California counties had until April 3 to certify the
March 3 primary, according to Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s website.
For the most part, the initial results from early
mail-in ballots and voting at polling places throughout the county from March 3
matched up with the final results that will be sent to the state, with the
exception of one race: the four-person contest for the Imperial Irrigation
District Division 2 seat.
With fewer than 2,900 votes counted in the divisional
race March 3, political newcomer John Brooks Hamby and IID Division 2 incumbent
Bruce Kuhn appeared as if they might face off in the Nov. 3 general election.
The top-two finishers advance to the runoff if no one candidate gets 50 percent-plus-one
vote of the ballots cast.
Results released just after midnight March 4 showed
Hamby with a commanding lead for the top spot and Kuhn, who was seeking a fifth
term on the board, with a roughly 2 percent advantage over third-place finisher
Ryan Childers. Childers is a local attorney who is president of the Central
Union High School District board.
Yet, as more mail-in ballots came in and with
provisional ballots still to be processed, Kuhn’s lead narrowed, and he was
eventually overtaken by Childers, who maintained his slim lead the rest of
As of March 30, Hamby finished with 2,148 votes, or
41.89 percent of the votes cast in the division, and Childers finished with
1,355 votes, or 26.42 percent. Kuhn ended up with 1,311 votes, or 25.57 percent.
Dilda McFaddin ended with 314 votes.
Kuhn told this newspaper two weeks ago that he would
not ask for a recount.
Besides the IID Division 2 race, the other subplot in
the primary election was the number of ballots that was left to be counted
after election night. In a March 4 press release, county officials predicted
there might be as many as 7,700 late mail-in and provisional ballots to be
counted, as changes to state voting laws allowed counties to receive late
mail-in ballots until March 6 as long as they were postmarked by or on March 3.
When all was said and done, the number of late ballots
blew past the estimate of 7,700, and there ended up being more than 10,300
additional ballots to process.
Some 23,882 cards were cast by Imperial County’s
77,390 eligible voters, for a total county-wide turnout of 30.86 percent.
Other significant local races that were never really
in question included the race for IID Division 4 Director Erik Ortega’s seat.
With 1,841 votes, or 46.47 percent of the ballots cast in the division, Ortega
will face community activist Javier Gonzalez (1,138 votes, or 28.72 percent) in
the November runoff election.
Imperial County District 2 Supervisor Luis Plancarte
won re-election outright against sole primary challenger Claudia Camarena, a
retired Imperial County Department of Social Services employee. Plancarte
received 2,925 votes, or 55.38 percent of the votes cast in the district,
against Camarena’s 2,357 votes, or 44.62 percent.