Most election results final, but Martinez City Council District 4 awaiting audit

| December 5, 2018 | 0 Comments

MARTINEZ, Calif. – Most of Contra Costa County’s Nov. 6 elections results are final and official, said Paul Burgarino, community education and engagement specialist for the county Clerk-Recorder-Elections Department.

But Martinez’s District 4 City Council race results remain unofficial, he said. That status won’t change until Thursday, when official results will be posted once the audits are complete.

Unofficially, incumbent Debbie McKillop has a slim lead over challenger John Stevens, 2,327 to 2,303 votes, or 50.26 percent of the vote to Stevens’s 49.74 percent.

Also awaiting audits are the results for the Byron Bethany Irrigation District, and Richmond City Council races, Burgarino said.

Results are available online at https://results.enr.clarityelections.com/CA/Contra_Costa/92672/Web02.222611/#/c/C_4 and https://www.contracostacore.us/.

Voter turnout in Contra Costa County is 68.29 percent, with 423,348 of 619,963 Contra Costa County registered voters casting ballots, according to posted results.

Of the local elections that have been decided. Incumbent Rob Schroder has won the mayoral race with 63.78 percent of the vote, or 10,180 to challenger Yazmin Llamas-Morales’s 5,782.

Vice Mayor Lara DeLaney, who ran unopposed, remains the District 1 Councilmember after receiving all of the 3,090 votes cast.

Measure X, a half-cent sales tax that will produce General Fund revenues that the city expects to spend on public safety and its water system, passed by 72.86 percent, or 12,320 yes to 4,590 no votes.

In the Martinez Unified School District races, incumbent Deidre Siguenza is returning as the Trustee Area 3 member. She received 62.65 percent of the vote, defeating challenger Craig Lazzeretti 1,367 to 815.

Because of different rules that apply to the school district, incumbent Trustee Area 5 Boardmember Bobbi Horack was returned to her seat without election.

The school district’s Measure Q that extends the parcel tax and increases it to $75, passed with 76 percent of the vote, or 10,135 yes to 3,032 no votes.

This is the first year Martinez and school district voters experienced by-district voting. The change was put in place earlier this year to avoid threatened lawsuits by Malibu attorney Kevin Shenkman, who has been sending demand letters to various elective bodies throughout the state.

Those letters, to agencies that have at-large elections, have accused some of violating the California Voting Rights Act, saying the at-large voting system dilutes minority or protected-group votes.

The Council chose to keep the mayor position elected at-large, since in two earlier elections, Martinez residents said they wanted an elected, rather than a rotating, mayor. The Council divided the city into four Council districts.

The school district chose to draw five voting areas, one for each member of its Board.

However, even if the Council had chosen to draw five Council, the city’s and the school districts’ voting areas would not have coincided, administrators of both agencies said.

Martinez Unified School District’s voting area extends beyond the Martinez city limits into unincorporated Contra Costa County. But county voters can’t cast ballots in city elections.

In addition, a portion of land within Martinez’s city limits is part of the Mount Diablo Unified School District, and while residents of those areas vote in city elections, they can’t vote on Martinez Unified School District races or decisions.

The resulting two sets of maps created challenges for the Elections Division in terms of assigning voters to precincts, and many Martinez voters were told they no longer had a polling site and instead must vote by mail.

Both agencies succeeded in getting their voting divisions and maps established after multiple public hearings within the 90-day state-established period of protection from lawsuits.

But Martinez’s situation isn’t settled. Shenkman, representing two Martinez residents, Felix Sanchez and Nancy Noonan, has filed a new suit against the city, challenging its Council districts’ design. That suit has not been resolved.

Regardless the result of the lawsuit, both the city and the school district undergo another round of map making, demographic analysis and voting area adoptions after the 2020 United States Census, and after subsequent censuses as well.

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Category: General News