Election certified: Santa Paula City Council race ends with no surprises

November 24, 2010
Santa Paula News

Election season is officially closed in Ventura County after final provisional ballots were tabulated and released Friday evening.

County Clerk-Recorder Mark Lunn certified the election - the last step in the election process - that same night. The final results showed the early set lineup officially held in the Santa Paula City Council race.

Incumbents Ralph Fernandez and Bob Gonzales will return for second term; Gonzales had 3,859 votes, 28.86 percent and Fernandez had 3,128 votes, 23.39 percent. Rick Cook, who was defeated in his third bid for a council set in 2006, will be back on the dais with 2,536 votes, 18.97 percent. Dr. Gabino Aguirre did not seek a third four-year council term.

First time candidates Duane Ashby and Rita Stafford ranked fourth and fifth, with 2,233 votes, 16.70 percent and 1,568 votes, 11.73 percent respectively. In all, Santa Paula voters marked the council ballot 13,371 including those 47 voters - 0.35 percent - who opted to write in a candidate.

Countywide, 62.52 percent of Ventura County’s registered voters cast a ballot, above the 55 percent to 60 percent turnout Lunn projected in the days leading up to the election. In all, 265,070 of the county’s 423,994 registered voters cast a ballot November 2.

And this election showed the growing popularity of the vote by mail method of exercising democracy: the turnout at precinct polling places was 135,269 on Election Day, 31.90 percent. Those who opted to vote by mail returned 129,801 ballots, 30.69 percent.

Election officials spent all week counting the last of nearly 11,000 provisional ballots, the final step after tabulating absentee ballots of which about 28,000 were received before the polling deadline but too late to count. Provisional ballots take the longest to process because each must be validated manually.

A ballot is considered provisional if it was incorrectly marked, a voter left an absentee ballot at home and opted to vote at the polls, and if a voter went to the wrong polling place or their precinct does not have their registration on the polling place master list.

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