UPDATE: Almost 100K Votes Now Counted in San Joaquin County
D.A. Race Remains Steady; District 4 Supervisor Tightens
Two weeks after the primary elections, the official charged with supervising the tally says San Joaquin County will finish counting ballots long before the state deadline to certify the election.
“We will definitely make the July 7 deadline, and if all things work out, we’ll certify it sooner,” said Olivia Hale, assistant registrar of voters. “We are definitely back on track.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, the registrar’s office has counted 92,314 votes. Another 14,339 are left. In the hours after the June 7 election, only a few thousand votes had been counted because a printing error smeared ballot barcodes. Electronic counters could not process the ballots, and they have had to be hand-counted.
Hale hired 12 part-time staff people in a pinch. They have worked at least 10 hours each day for most of the past two weeks to get the count near complete.
“I feel very supported in my role as assistant registrar,” Hale said. “I have felt the love. And I feel very fortunate to work for a county like San Joaquin that stepped up when we needed it.”
Hale took over the official count when San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters Heather Ditty passed away just days before the election. Former registrar Austin Erdman has consulted during the process as well.
One Race is Too Close to Call
Most races throughout the county seem to have clear winners, even before the final votes are in. But one – San Joaquin County Supervisor for District 4 – has a four-person logjam at the top of the standings with the final votes to be counted. Only the top two vote-getters will advance to November’s general election.
Steve Ding is now in the lead with 4,263 votes (20.56%). He is followed by Steve Colangelo with 4,162 votes (20.07%) and Lodi City Councilman Doug Kuehne with 3,735 votes (18.01%). Nancy St. Clair is another 99 votes behind Kuehne.
Another race in doubt is that of the District Attorney. Assistant D.A. Ron Freitas leads current D.A. Tori Verber Salazar 43,537 to 36,597, or by about 8.6 percentage points. That margin has remained steady since the counting began. Salazar seeks a third term for the office she first won in 2014.
Turnout ‘Historically’ Low
A total of 108,653 votes were cast by June 7, Hale said. Almost 95 percent came by mail or drop in at the last minute. Only 6,731 people voted at a precinct on Election Day itself.
That total represents only about 28% of the county’s 385,040 registered voters, which Hale called historically low.