Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Thousands of Absentees Still to be Counted

By Robert Gammon
Wed, Jun 4, 2008 at 11:01 AM

The election is not yet over — at least not in several races that are close, because the Alameda County Registrar of Voters still has to count "thousands" of absentee and provisional ballots turned in yesterday at the polls, said spokesman Guy Ashley. "It's a large number," he said. "There were many polling places where people turned in more absentee votes than there were people actually voting in voting booths."

The last-minute votes could change the outcomes of at least six local races. One of them could be the Oakland City Council District Three (West Oakland-downtown) contest. Currently, incumbent Nancy Nadel has 51.7 percent of the vote, but if she were to fall below the 50 percent threshold, she would have to face a November runoff, likely against challenger Sean Sullivan, who currently has 27.1 percent.

An even closer race is for Oakland school board District Seven (East Oakland-Elmhurst) contest. Incumbent Alice Spearman has 49.5 percent of the vote, but if she gets above 50 percent, she can avoid a runoff against challenger Doris Limbrick, who currently has 32.5 percent.

In the Oakland City Council at-large race, school board member Kerry Hamill is clinging to a small lead over former city planning commissioner Clinton Killian in their attempt to make a runoff against AC Transit board member Rebecca Kaplan. Currently, Hamill has 21.7 percent versus Killian's 19.6 percent, a margin of 884 votes.

Another close contest is Alameda's Measure H, the school parcel tax. The measure needs 66.7 percent to win, and it currently stands at 65.8 percent.

Jumoke Hinton Hodge, running ahead in the Oakland school board District Three race, also could see her lead evaporate. Hodge currently has 52.1 percent of the vote compared to 47.3 percent for her challenger, Olugbemiga Oluwole, a difference of 308 votes.

And finally, Oakland City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente currently has 53.8 percent of the vote, which is probably — though not guaranteed — going to hold up in his effort to avoid a runoff against challenger Mario Juarez (33.0 percent) in the District Five (Fruitvale-Glenview) contest. De La Fuente needs to stay above 50 percent.

Ashley said the registrar's office hopes to complete the absentees and provisionals by Friday and that they had two dozen workers counting ballots. He said they have no plans to update results today, but may do so tomorrow. Also, he said he didn't know which districts or precincts have the most votes still to be counted.

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