Run-off elections could be coming

Terrance Vestal
Managing Editor

Kammi Foote, Inyo County clerk/recorder and registrar of voters, said Wednesday that there is a potential for a run-off for both the Inyo County District Four Supervisor position and the judgeship of the Superior Court.
“If no candidates receive more than 50 percent of the vote in this election, the top two vote getters will move on to the November election.” Foote stated in an email.
According to Foote’s office, initial results show that in the race for Superior Court Judge No. 1, incumbent Brian Lamb received 1,793 votes (39.6 percent) and challengers Susanne Marie Rizo garnered 2,228 (49.2 percent), and Philip T. Ashworth, 508 (11.2 percent), with a total of 4,529 votes cast in this race.
In the initial results for Inyo County supervisor, Fourth District, Jen Roeser received 369 votes (41.4 percent), Deena Davenport Conway, 175 (19.6 percent), and Donald Bright, 348 votes with a total of 892 votes cast in this race.
Initial Inyo County election results also showed Inyo County Second District Supervisor Jeff Griffiths will keep his seat, garnering 492 votes (58.8 percent) while challenger Heather Lind received 345 votes (41.2 percent) of the total 837 ballots cast.
Inyo County Fifth District Supervisor Matt Kingsley ran unopposed and received 483 of the 483 votes cast.
In other local election news, initial results show Measure M – School Bond Measure for Lone Pine schools, failing with only 212 (39 percent) ballots cast for approval and 331 votes (60.9 percent) against the measure with a total of 543 votes cast.
In the State Assembly 26th District race, Inyo County added 2,490 votes to incumbent Assembylman Devon Mathis district total of 35,697 (64.2 percent) votes to Democratic Party challenger Drew Phelps, who received 2,016 votes in Inyo County and 19,922 (35.8 percent) in the district itself.
In the U.S. Representative Eighth District race, Republican Jay Obernolte received 1,274 votes in Inyo County and 34,906 (35.2 percent) districtwide, compared to Democratic Party candidate Christine Bubser, who garnered 1,520 ballots in Inyo County and 27,020 (27.2 percent) districtwide and Republican Tim Donnelly, who received 1,021 votes in Inyo County and 21,490 (21.7 percent) districtwide.
Foote said final tallies for the county vote will take a few more days.
Foote said as of Wednesday Inyo County had a 47 percent voter turn-out, with another approximately 1,000 vote by mail, provisional and conditional ballots in her office’s possession to count.
“If we receive a few hundred in the mail through Friday, it could be around 60 percent, which is consistent with recent primary election turn-out figures,” Foote stated.
The voting process
In Inyo County, more than 75 percent of registered voters received a vote-by-mail ballot for the March 3 Presidential Primary election, Foote stated. Vote-by-mail ballots received prior to Election Day are processed early so that they can be included in the election night vote totals. However, thousands of mailed ballots that will either be received in the mail or dropped off at the polls on Election Day will need to be checked in individually before those ballots can be added to the final vote totals. All votes cast, whether in person or by mail, are included in the final results complied after the election, but the focus on election night for Foote’s office is to count the precinct ballots and get that information to the public as soon as possible.
“The process of counting the remaining vote-by-mail ballots begins the morning after the election by breaking down the materials returned from each precinct on election night,” Foote stated.
“We isolate the vote-by-mail ballots and verify signatures on every ballot envelope,” according to Foote. “Only after every signature has been verified, can we begin to tally these ballots. New in recent years, all vote-by-mail ballots that are postmarked on or before Election Day and received by our office no later than Friday, March 6, will also be counted.
In addition, Foote stated, two new laws allow for unsigned ballot envelopes and signatures on ballot envelopes that don’t match the signature on file from the voter, to have additional time to be accepted after Election Day. Each one of these voters is contacted and given information on how to correct the error.
Processing provisional and conditional ballots are part of the process that can only occur after all other votes have been tallied. Each provisional and conditional ballot envelope must be carefully researched to determine if the citizen who cast the ballot contained in the envelope was entitled to vote in Inyo County. This process is very time consuming because the Elections Office takes great care to ensure that all votes entitled to be cast in Inyo County are counted, Foote stated.
The final results of the March 3 Presidential Primary Election will be certified by the end of March 2020 in Inyo County, but if contests are close it could take up to 7-10 days after the election for candidates to know if they were elected, or moving onto the November General Election, she said.