Endless tally

Two weeks after voters went to the polls, the county sheriff’s race is still uncertain

This is an extended version of a story that appears in the June 21, 2018, issue.

Sacramento County voter turnout could reach 42 percent for the June 5 election, trouncing the 29.6 percent turnout for the June 2014 primary.

But it just might take a little while longer to verify this.

With a July 5 deadline looming to certify results, the county had an estimated 4,620 ballots left to tally as of Tuesday evening, according to the county’s website. This is likely in part because the primary marked the first election since the Voter’s Choice Act went into effect, helping spur record numbers for vote-by-mail ballots in the Sacramento region.

That’s left at least two local races still uncertain in terms of whether there will be runoffs in the November. As of June 18, Sheriff Scott Jones was clinging to one percentage point that would keep him above the 50 percent threshold it takes to avoid a runoff, most likely with challenger Milo Fitch. In the race for the council’s District 5 seat, incumbent Jay Schenirer was holding onto 3 percentage points that would help him dodge a face-off with Tamika L’Ecluse in November.

“We’re definitely still hopeful,” L’Ecluse said this week.

2018 could witness political change. According to the secretary of state’s website, Tom McClintock drew 51.8 percent in the 4th Congressional District’s primary. Jessica Morse, who took second with 20.4 percent, has some room for hope: McClintock hasn’t fared this poorly in a primary since 2008.

Other races represented more of the same, with incumbents like Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert and Assessor Christina Wynn each appearing on track to win by approximately 2-1- margins. Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig won re-election, too.

Nicolas Heidorn, policy and legal director for watchdog group California Common Cause, said preliminary turnout figures were “very promising,” though certain issues need attention before the November election. These include ensuring ballot drop-off sites remain open throughout election day and greater voter outreach.

L’Ecluse praised the new voting setup, including that people had 11 days to submit ballots, though she had concerns.

“Those 11 days made it easier,” L’Ecluse said. “But I think people are still very confused by the process.”