Election Night

Friday, November 21, 2014

UPDATED: Bergel Takes Lead in Ward 3 Race; City on Cusp of History

Posted By on Fri, Nov 21, 2014 at 1:05 PM

click to enlarge ElectKimBergel.jpg
UPDATE:
The Humboldt County Elections Office has released its post-election update, which can be found here. The notables, other than Bergel's apparent come-from-behind victory, are the passage of Eureka City Schools' bond measure and the narrow failure of that of Jacoby Creek School District.

PREVIOUSLY:
It looks like Eureka’s going to seat what’s believed to be the first all-female city council in its history, after Kim Bergel has pulled out an improbable upset of incumbent Ward 3 Councilman Mike Newman.

Humboldt County Registrar of Voters Carolyn Crnich said the elections office is preparing to release a post-election update that shows Bergel — after finishing Election Day trailing Newman by 104 votes — now has a 46 vote lead. The results are not final, however, and Crnich said there is only a “slim” chance they change in any substantive way before they come before the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors for certification.

Crnich said the current count has Newman with 3,313 votes to Bergel’s 3,359. After taking just 42.87 percent of the early vote-by-mail ballots and 54.13 percent of the Election Day vote, Bergel took 54.94 percent of the 1,398 ballots counted after Election Day.

Final voter turnout for the county was 50.65 percent, Crnich said, with 51.64 percent of Eureka’s registered voters casting ballots.

For more in depth look at the numbers in the Ward 3 race, and a glimpse at the historic feat of empanelling Eurkea’s first all-female council, check out prior Journal coverage herehere and here.

The Journal will update this post when the updated results are released this afternoon.
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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Keep Biting Those Nails

Posted By on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 at 1:07 PM

click to enlarge MANUEL J. ORBEGOZO
  • Manuel J. Orbegozo
The Humboldt County Elections Office is zeroing in final election tallies, and has inched closer to determining the final number of ballots outstanding in the nail-biter of a race for Eureka’s Ward 3 city council seat.

When the dust settled from Election Day, incumbent Mike Newman led challenger Kim Bergel by 104 votes, having taken 50.76 percent of the vote to Bergel’s 48.8 percent. The Journal did some numbers crunching the following morning and estimated that Bergel would need there to be at least 1,200 outstanding ballots in the race to have a chance at bridging the gap, barring some kind of statistical anomaly in voting patterns. Well, it looks like this one’s going down to the wire; the final tally of yet-to-be-counted ballots is right in that neighborhood.

Humboldt County Registrar of Voters Carolyn Crnich said today that 1,065 vote-by-mail ballots remain at play in the race, a number that includes those dropped off at the polls on Election Day and those that came into the elections office on Monday and Tuesday of election week. Additionally, Crnich said 236 provisional ballots were cast at Eureka polling locations that have yet to be vetted and counted, and another unknown amount of damaged ballots from the polls still have to be tallied (Crnich estimated this number to be “fewer than 100”). So, all told, that leaves between 1,065 and 1,401 ballots still at play in the race, depending on how many of those provisional ballots are valid and the final tally of damaged Eureka ballots.

In the final election night results, Newman took 56.61 percent of the early vote-by-mail ballots, but just 45.51 percent of the vote at the polls on Election Day to Bergel’s 54.13. Traditionally, late-arriving vote-by-mail ballots trend more in the direction of the Election Day tallies.

So, if we chew the numbers Crnich provided today, here’s what we get: With 1,065 outstanding ballots, Bergel would need to take 54.92 percent to take the lead; with 1,401 outstanding ballots, she’d need to take 53.75 percent.

In the three-way race Newman won to take office back in 2010, Newman took 48.18 percent of the early vote-by-mail ballots and 41.98 percent of the Election Day tally to take a 171-vote lead over runner-up Ron Kuhnel. Newman then took 43.12 percent of the ballots tallied after Election Day to push his margin of victory to 183 votes.

The outcome of the Bergel-Newman race remains too close to call, but Crnich said she’s hopeful the county will release a post-election update tomorrow that should provide some clarity.
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Friday, November 7, 2014

Minimum Wage Rising Everywhere But Eureka

Posted By on Fri, Nov 7, 2014 at 9:48 AM

click to enlarge HEIDI WALTERS
  • Heidi Walters
Eureka voters’ attempt to raise the minimum wage for the city’s largest employers failed decidedly Tuesday, but that’s one small defeat in a rising minimum wage movement.

Sixty-two percent of voting Eurekans cast ballots against the Fair Wage Act — the only time nationally a minimum wage measure has failed, apparently — and the overwhelming opposition didn’t strictly come from the conservative-skewing early voters. More than 60 percent said no to the wage increase at the polls.

It’s fairly odd, considering Eurekans overwhelmingly favored progressive Natalie Arroyo (who took 61 percent of the vote) and nearly voted in Kim Bergel (too close to call, yet) — two candidates who publicly supported Eureka’s Fair Wage Act.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

UPDATED: Kim Bergel's Slim, Slim Chance

Posted By on Wed, Nov 5, 2014 at 6:25 AM

click to enlarge WWW.ELECTKIMBERGEL.COM
  • www.electkimbergel.com
UPDATE:
Hold the phone! Kim Bergel’s chances of unseating Eureka Councilman Mike Newman for his Ward 3 seat just got a fair bit chunkier.

When the Journal spoke to Humboldt County Registrar of Voters Carolyn Crnich after midnight, she estimated 1,000 or so ballots may have been dropped off at the Humboldt County Elections Office on Monday and Tuesday and remained uncounted. In a follow up conversation this afternoon, Crnich said it turns out the Elections Office received about 3,350 ballots, which could potentially change everything in a race that Bergel currently trails in by just 104 votes.

Earlier, we estimated that there would need to be at least 1,200 ballots outstanding in the race to give Bergel a reasonable shot at overtaking Newman. Well, that now seems very possible.

Crnich said about 707 ballots — 236 provisionals and 471 vote by mail — came into Eureka precincts on Election Day that have yet to be counted. Now we learn that there’s another 3,350 that came into the elections office and have yet to be tabulated. If we assume those ballots are representative of the county’s overall registration numbers, about 19 percent would come from Eureka voters, or about 636 ballots. If that holds true, there’s potentially somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,343 ballots uncounted in the race. Bergel would need to pull 53.89 percent of those to take the lead. She took 54.13 percent of the Election Day vote, but just 42.87 of the early vote-by-mail ballots.

It looks like this thing’s far from over, though Crnich said county elections office has to conduct an audit and other procedures before it can even get to sorting and counting those 3,350 ballots the office received Monday and Tuesday. So, it’s going to be a while before this race crystallizes.


PREVIOUSLY:
With the dust still settling from Election Night, Eureka Ward 3 challenger Kim Bergel sits 104 votes behind incumbent Mike Newman in a race that has already seen 5,309 ballots counted. It’s a slim margin, but does Bergel really have a shot at pulling the upset? Let’s look at the numbers.

Humboldt County Registrar of Voters Carolyn Crnich told the Journal early this morning that some 471 vote by mail ballots were dropped off on Election Day at Eureka polling locations, where another 236 provisional ballots were cast. Now, assuming all those mail-in ballots are actually from Eureka voters and that all those provisional ballots prove valid — and that none of those voters left the Ward 3 contest blank — that means at least 707 votes remain uncounted in the race. Additionally, Crnich said there could be another 1,000 or so vote by mail ballots that arrived at the county elections office Monday and Tuesday that have yet to be sorted.

Let’s start with the 707. If Bergel is to make up the 104-vote gap, she would need to win 406 of those votes. That would be 57.4 percent. She pulled only 42.87 percent of the vote on the mail-in ballots that have already been counted and 54.13 at the polls on Election Day, so that seems a tall order.

But let’s factor in those other potential 1,000 or so ballots. If those ballots are representative of the county’s overall registration numbers, then about 19 percent would come from Eureka voters, or about 190 ballots. If we add those to the 707 we just discussed, we get 897 ballots. To make up 104 votes in that scenario, Bergel would have to pull 55.85 percent of the vote.

Basically, in order to pull this thing out without some statistical anomaly in the voting patterns — or to win while pulling the same 54.13 percent of the vote she got at the polls — Bergel would need there to be more than 1,200 ballots outstanding in the race. That seems unlikely.

But consider this: Four years ago, when Newman edged out Ron Kuhnel to take the seat, 1,825 votes showed up in the final tally that weren’t recorded in the final Election Night summary. But before Bergel supporters get too hopeful, it should be made clear that those numbers are from an election that saw 66 percent turnout in Humboldt County. The preliminary tallies Tuesday show just 39 percent of those registered casting ballots.

So, the short of it is that Bergel has a steep hill to climb and you can bet she’s hoping for a flood of Eureka ballots to materialize from somewhere as the math gets better for her as the number of outstanding ballots increases. Meanwhile, it’s a safe bet Newman and his supporters are hoping the majority of those 707 vote by mail ballots dropped off in Eureka are really from Garberville voters who just happened to be passing through town and that the bulk of those 236 provisional ballots don’t qualify.

With anything less than 1,200 votes outstanding, Newman seems a lock to keep his seat.

And, because we've been sitting on this tidbit and this might be our last shot to use it, we'll note that if Bergel does somehow pull this thing out, it would result in what we believe is the first all female city council in Eureka's history. After consulting with a couple local historians and Eureka City Clerk Pam Powell, all seem pretty sure five women have never governed Eureka together. (It should be noted that under Eureka's form of government the mayor isn't officially a member of the council).

A Bergel win would result in a council composed of Melinda Ciarabellini, Linda Atkins, Marian Brady, Bergel and Natalie Arroyo, who handily beat incumbent Chet Albin to take the city's Ward 5 seat. Powell provided the Journal with the city's official council record, which dates back to 1955, and it looks like the closest the city's ever come to is in the 1990s, when four of five council seats were occupied by women. What exactly happened between when Eureka incorporated as a city in 1874 and when it began keeping official council records in 1955 isn't entirely clear, but nobody consulted by the Journal felt it likely the city was run by five women back then.
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UPDATE: FINAL Report: Measure P On Solid Ground

Posted By on Wed, Nov 5, 2014 at 12:23 AM

click to enlarge cornfield.jpg

FINAL REPORT:

Votes cast:28,653
Precincts reporting: 107 of 107
Yes: 59.43 percent
No: 40.57 percent


Fourth report:

Votes cast: 26,140
Precincts reporting: 94 of 107
Yes: 57.91 percent
No: 42.09 percent


Third Report: 

Votes cast: 21,684
Precincts reporting: 69 of 107
Yes: 56.11 percent
No: 43.89 percent

It's looking like P will win, as expected. The Pro-P folks no doubt are feeling especially relieved, as they considered Measure P the county’s last chance for local control over crop-related decisions following a new state law that takes effect with the new year.

“I think the real story is about AB 2470 and how the seed companies played fast and loose with the legislative process,” said Measure P spokesman Bill Schaser earlier this evening. “It appears that nobody had their eye on the ball."

Assembly Bill 2470, passed and signed earlier this year, alters California Seed Law to “prohibit a city, county, or district, including a charter city or county, from adopting or enforcing an ordinance on or after January 1, 2015, that regulates plants, crops, or seeds without the consent of the secretary.”

Measure P, if indeed it passes, goes into effect immediately.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

4TH UPDATE: Tax Measures

Posted By on Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 8:41 PM

click to enlarge busted_cover.jpg
4TH UPDATE:
Here's the final Election Night Report, with no changes. All local tax measures have passed, with the notable exception of the 1-percent proposed sales tax increase in Fortuna, which voters rejected decisively.

Final report (results shown in percentages)

Measure Q (Eureka) - 65.79 for, 34.12 against
5,586 votes cast, 100 percent of precincts reporting

Measure T (Blue Lake) - 53.61 for, 46.39 against
319 votes cast, 100 percent of precincts reporting

Measure U (Rio Dell) - 53.19 for, 46.81 against
564 votes cast, 100 percent of precincts reporting

Measure V (Fortuna) - 36.51 for, 63.49 against
2,490 votes cast, 100 percent of precincts reporting

Measure Z (Humboldt County) - 55.41 for, 44.59 against
28,555 votes cast, 100 percent of precincts reporting

3rd UPDATE:
With more than 85 percent of county precincts reporting, the results on local tax measures are all holding steady with one notable exception: Blue Lake's Measure T.

Trailing as of the third report, the measure has swung in the other direction, and now the 4-percent utility users tax seems poised to psas, drawing 53.61 percent of the vote.

We'll keep you updated through the final report tonight.

Fourth report (results shown in percentages)

Measure Q (Eureka) - 65.79 for, 34.12 against
5,586 votes cast, 87.85 percent of precincts reporting

Measure T (Blue Lake) - 53.61 for, 46.39 against
319 votes cast, 87.85 percent of precincts reporting

Measure U (Rio Dell) - 53.19 for, 46.81 against
564 votes cast, 87.85 percent of precincts reporting

Measure V (Fortuna) - 36.51 for, 63.49 against
2,490 votes cast, 87.85 percent of precincts reporting

Measure Z (Humboldt County) - 55.10 for, 44.90 against
26,115 votes cast, 87.85 percent of precincts reporting

2nd UPDATE:
With more than 65 percent of precincts reporting, little has changed on the local tax measure front. Measures for Eureka, Humboldt County and Rio Dell all hold solid leads, while those for Fortuna and Blue Lake are trailing.

But there are still a lot of votes to be counted from precincts outside Eureka, so pretty much all the results could swing, with the exception of Q, which seems poised to pass handily.

Check out the third return tax measure results below:

Third return (results shown in percentages)

Measure Q (Eureka) - 65.79 for, 34.12 against
5,586 votes cast, 64.49 percent of precincts reporting

Measure T (Blue Lake) - 46.28 for, 53.72 against
121 votes cast, 64.49 percent of precincts reporting

Measure U (Rio Dell) - 53.19 for, 46.81 against
564 votes cast, 64.49 percent of precincts reporting

Measure V (Fortuna) - 36.51 for, 63.49 against
2,490 votes cast, 64.49 percent of precincts reporting

Measure Z (Humboldt County) - 54.70 for, 45.30 against
21,732 votes cast, 64.49 percent of precincts reporting

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5TH UPDATE: The Council Races

Posted By on Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 8:35 PM

5th UPDATE:
The final tallies are in...
The only nail biter race appears to be in Eureka's Ward 3, where challenger Kim Bergel trails incumbent Mike Newman by just 104 votes. It's currently unclear how many provisional and vote by mail ballots remain to be counted in Eureka, so it's hard to tell if Bergel has a chance of bridging the gap at this point. But, the race is currently too close to call.

The final Election Night Report:

Eureka City Council
Ward 3
Kim Bergel - 48.80
Mike Newman - 50.76
5.309 votes cast, 100 percent of precincts reporting

Ward 5
Natalie Arroyo -61.60
Chet Albin - 37.86
5,338 votes cast, 100 percent of precincts reporting

Ferndale Mayor
Daniel Brown - 27.74
Don Hindley - 71.36
447 votes cast, 100 percent of precincts reporting

Ferndale City Council (two seats)
Doug Brower - 29.06
Michael Sweeney - 42.42
Jorgen Von Frausing-Borch - 26.58
726 votes cast, 100 percent of precincts reporting

Fortuna City Council (three seats)
Joshua M. Brown - 16.11
Tiara Brown - 25.17
Linda Gardner - 27.21
Sue Long - 29.95
4,979 votes cast, 100 percent of precincts reporting

Arcata City Council two-year term
Ryan Kaplan - 30.38
Paul Pitino - 67.37
2,821 votes cast, 100 percent of precincts reporting

Arcata City Council four-year term (two seats)
Jason Carr - 4.23
Juan Daniel Fernandez - 12.87
Patrick Hyland - 3.85
Sofia Pereira - 39.04
Mark E. Wheetley - 38.46
5,200 votes cast,100 percent of precincts reporting


4th UPDATE:
The Humboldt County Elections Office recently released its fourth report, and local city council races haven't budged. In fact, the only races to change at all in this most recent report were those in Arcata.

Check out the full report below:

Eureka City Council
Ward 3
Kim Bergel - 48.80
Mike Newman - 50.76
5.309 votes cast, 87.85 percent of precincts reporting

Ward 5
Natalie Arroyo -61.60
Chet Albin - 37.86
5,338 votes cast, 87.85 percent of precincts reporting

Ferndale Mayor
Daniel Brown - 27.74
Don Hindley - 71.36
447 votes cast, 87.85 percent of precincts reporting

Ferndale City Council (two seats)
Doug Brower - 29.06
Michael Sweeney - 42.42
Jorgen Von Frausing-Borch - 26.58
726 votes cast, 87.85 percent of precincts reporting

Fortuna City Council (three seats)
Joshua M. Brown - 16.11
Tiara Brown - 25.17
Linda Gardner - 27.21
Sue Long - 29.95
4,979 votes cast, 87.85 percent of precincts reporting

Arcata City Council two-year term
Ryan Kaplan - 30.38
Paul Pitino - 67.37
1,998 votes cast, 87.85 percent of precincts reporting

Arcata City Council four-year term (two seats)
Jason Carr - 4.30
Juan Daniel Fernandez - 12.07
Patrick Hyland - 3.89
Sofia Pereira - 39.07
Mark E. Wheetley - 39.02
3,678 votes cast, 87.85 percent of precincts reporting



3rd UPDATE:
With 64.49 percent of precincts reporting, local council races haven't changed much, though Eureka's Ward 3 race continues to narrow. There, challenger Kim Bergel has whittled incumbent Mike Newman's lead down to 104 votes. It's unclear, however if any Eureka precincts are outstanding and how many ballots have yet to be counted.

Over in Eureka's 5th Ward, challenger Natalie Arroyo has this thing in the bag, sitting on 61.60 percent of the vote to incumbent Chet Albin's 37.86 percent.

Elsewhere, the first results from the precincts are beginning to trickle in, though none have yet caused dramatic swings.

Find the full third report council race results below:

Eureka City Council
Ward 3
Kim Bergel - 48.80
Mike Newman - 50.76
5.309 votes cast, 64.49 percent of precincts reporting

Ward 5
Natalie Arroyo -61.60
Chet Albin - 37.86
5,338 votes cast, 64.49 percent of precincts reporting

Ferndale Mayor
Daniel Brown - 27.74
Don Hindley - 71.36
447 votes cast, 64.49 percent of precincts reporting

Ferndale City Council (two seats)
Doug Brower - 29.06
Michael Sweeney - 42.42
Jorgen Von Frausing-Borch - 26.58
726 votes cast, 64.49 percent of precincts reporting

Fortuna City Council (three seats)
Joshua M. Brown - 16.11
Tiara Brown - 25.17
Linda Gardner - 27.21
Sue Long - 29.95
4,979 votes cast, 64.49 percent of precincts reporting

Arcata City Council two-year term
Ryan Kaplan - 29.23
Paul Pitino - 69.10
1,081 votes cast, 64.49 percent of precincts reporting

Arcata City Council four-year term (two seats)
Jason Carr - 4.00
Juan Daniel Fernandez - 11.09
Patrick Hyland - 4.55
Sofia Pereira - 37.76
Mark E. Wheetley - 40.91
2,002 votes cast, 64.49 percent of precincts reporting

2ND UPDATE:
With the second round of returns posted, most council races in the county remain unchanged, as it takes a while to physically get election equipment and memory cards to the county office. The exception is in the Eureka races.

Challenger Natalie Arroyo has built on her early lead with the first round of precinct results, and now leads incumbent Chet Albin 59.55 percent to 39 percent with 4,784 ballots cast. After taking almost 56 percent of the vote by mail/early voting ballots, Arroyo took a whopping 63.52 percent of the first ballots counted from the polls, making her lead seem insurmountable in the race to become Eureka's next 5th Ward representative.

Over in the 3rd Ward, challenger Kim Bergel has cut into incumbent Mike Newman's early lead, and now trials by about five points, 47.34 percent to Newman's 52.19 percent. Bergel edged Newman in the early poll results, taking 52.33 percent of the first Election Day ballots counted. Whether that rate holds, and whether it's enough to push Bergel over the top, remains to be seen. She currently trails by 231 votes.

Here's a look at the second returns in each of the races:

Eureka City Council
Ward 3
Kim Bergel - 47.34
Mike Newman - 52.19
4,763 votes cast, 15.89 percent of precincts reporting

Ward 5
Natalie Arroyo - 59.55
Chet Albin - 39.00
4,784 votes cast, 15.89 percent of precincts reporting


Ferndale Mayor
Daniel Brown - 29.58
Don Hindley - 69.01
213 votes cast, 15.89 percent of precincts reporting

Ferndale City Council (two seats)
Doug Brower - 28.01
Michael Sweeney - 42.86
Jorgen Von Frausing-Borch - 26.61
357 votes cast, 15.89 percent of precincts reporting

Fortuna City Council (three seats)
Joshua M. Brown - 15.23
Tiara Brown - 24.86
Linda Gardner - 28.01
Sue Long - 30.53
2,856 votes cast, 15.89 percent of precincts reporting

Arcata City Council two-year term
Ryan Kaplan - 29.23
Paul Pitino - 69.10
1,081 votes cast, 15.89 percent of precincts reporting

Arcata City Council four-year term (two seats)
Jason Carr - 4.00
Juan Daniel Fernandez - 11.09
Patrick Hyland - 4.55
Sofia Pereira - 37.76
Mark E. Wheetley - 40.91
2,002 votes cast, 15.89 percent of precincts reporting

UPDATE:
Despite mixed early results for the Eureka incumbents, Mike Newman and Chet Albin were both chipper and upbeat at an elections return party at the Sea Grill when the Journal caught up with them recently.

Newman, who early returns have leading challenger Kim Bergel by 14 points, said he is “guardedly optimistic” about his chances. Albin, who is trailing challenger Natalie Arroyo by 12 points, said he wasn’t following the results but had been told he was behind. But undaunted, Albin said he’d worked hard on the campaign trail and hoped the sweat he’s put in over the last month will pay off at the polls.

But the incumbent — who was appointed to the post by Mayor Frank Jager last year — seemed more interested in talking about an exciting development in his quest to bring cruise ships to Eureka and to secure a tenant for the long-vacant restaurant space in the Fisherman’s Terminal Building at the foot of C Street. (On the cruise ship front, the county apparently agreed to pony up $10,000 to help pay a lobbyist to work on getting some ships to add Humboldt Bay to their routes, while he says a tenant is very interested in putting an 84-seat restaurant in the city-owned Fisherman’s building.)

As to the election, Albin praised his opponent and smiled broadly when talking about running his first-ever political campaign. “I don’t think people realize how much work it is,” he said.

click to enlarge 86536521.jpg

PREVIOUSLY:
The first ballots have been tallied, and the runaway shocker of the evening so far is challenger Natalie Arroyo jumping out to a commanding early lead over incumbent Chet Albin in the race to become Eureka's next Ward 5 council member.

Only 2,509 votes have been cast in the race so far, but all those ballots are of the early voting/vote-by-mail variety, which tend to trend conservative, making Arroyo's lead look daunting for Albin.

But there are other races...

Throughout Humboldt County, new leaders are being elected tonight, with contested council races in Eureka, Ferndale, Fortuna and Arcata, as well as a mayoral scorcher in Ferndale. Across the board, there's a lot of new blood out there. While both Eureka races feature incumbents, there's only one in the race for two seats open in Ferndale, one in each of the races for three open seats in both Fortuna and Arcata.

Here's a look at the early returns in each of the races:




Eureka City Council

Ward 3
Kim Bergel - 42.87
Mike Newman - 56.61
2,014 votes cast, 0 percent of precincts reporting

Ward 5
Natalie Arroyo - 55.96
Chet Albin - 43.44
2,509 votes cast, 0 percent of precincts reporting

Ferndale Mayor
Daniel Brown - 29.58
Don Hindley - 69.01
213 votes cast, 0 percent of precincts reporting

Ferndale City Council (two seats)
Doug Brower - 28.01
Michael Sweeney - 42.86
Jorgen Von Frausing-Borch - 26.61
357 votes cast, 0 percent of precincts reporting

Fortuna City Council (three seats)
Joshua M. Brown - 15.23
Tiara Brown - 24.86
Linda Gardner - 28.01
Sue Long - 30.53
2,856 votes cast, 0 percent of precincts reporting

Arcata City Council two-year term
Ryan Kaplan - 29.23
Paul Pitino - 69.10
1,081 votes cast, 0 percent of precincts reporting

Arcata City Council four-year term (two seats)
Jason Carr - 4.00
Juan Daniel Fernandez - 11.09
Patrick Hyland - 4.55
Sofia Pereira - 37.76
Mark E. Wheetley - 40.91
2,002 votes cast, 0 percent of precincts reporting
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UPDATE: No Go For Eureka's Fair Wage Act

Posted By on Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 8:34 PM

click to enlarge James Decker and Linda Lee outside of the Siren's Song Tavern. - GRANT SCOTT-GOFORTH
  • Grant Scott-Goforth
  • James Decker and Linda Lee outside of the Siren's Song Tavern.
SECOND UPDATE: 
The third election night report is in, with 67 percent of county precincts reporting, but the numbers on Measure R didn’t change from the second report. It’s likely that most, if not all Eureka precincts, are in.

Over at the Siren’s Song Tavern, Fair Wage Folks gathered to listen to Turtle of the Mad River Ramblers play acoustic guitar tunes.

James Decker was heartened by the slight improvement in the second election night report. “I don’t think we’re closing fast enough but we are optimistic,” he said.

If the measure fails, he said the Fair Wage Folks have a shot in appealing to what looks like a leftward shifting Eureka City Council to enact a minimum wage raise. And, with opponents’ cries of unfairness regarding Measure R’s Eureka boundaries, Decker says the Fair Wage Folks could try for a countywide effort.

Zack Thiesen, who spoke with the Journal about Measure R and followed that with a letter to the editor, spoke with a supporter outside of the Siren’s Song. He was pleased with the civility of the debate over minimum wage, but said he’d be happy when it was all over.

Don Smullin of the Eureka Chamber of Commerce, which opposed the measure, did not return a call seeking comment.

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2nd UPDATE: It's Too Late!

Posted By on Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 3:59 PM

click to enlarge A registered voter fills out a ballot at Arcata City Hall. - MANUEL J. ORBEGOZO
  • Manuel J. Orbegozo
  • A registered voter fills out a ballot at Arcata City Hall.
2nd UPDATE: And the polls are closed... Stay tuned for the first batch of results, which should be posted any time now by the humboldt County Elections Office.

UPDATE: The polls close in an hour, so if you want to vote you'd better get to it. If you're on the fence, scroll down to see some Humboldt State University students voting. They might inspire you.

PREVIOUSLY:
There's still time! If you haven't yet cast your ballot, fret not. You still have four hours to get to the polls and let your voice ring through the halls of local, state and federal governments.

Humboldt County Elections Manager Kelly Sanders said all appears to be going smoothly thus far on Election Day, with anecdotal evidence indicating a modest turnout. Sanders said her office received 15,537 vote-by-mail ballots as of Saturday, which have been verified and sit ready to count. That number represents a modest increase from the 12,431 received prior to the Primary Election back in June.

If you want to vote but aren't sure where to go, the Secretary of State's Office can tell you where your precinct is. And if you need a refresher on what you'll see when you get there, the folks at www.smartvoter.org have you covered, and will walk you through what's on the ballot.

And for those who are just chomping at the bit for some results, sit tight and check back with us at 8 p.m., when we expect results to start trickling in. From there, we'll be checking on all local races throughout the night, stopping in at some Election Night gatherings and reporting back.

click to enlarge "I Voted" stickers await voters after they submit their ballots in the voting machine at Arcata City Hall - MANUEL J. ORBEGOZO
  • Manuel J. Orbegozo
  • "I Voted" stickers await voters after they submit their ballots in the voting machine at Arcata City Hall
click to enlarge Clerk Jesse Hoskins casts a ballot into a voting machine at the Humboldt State University polling station. - MANUEL J. ORBEGOZO
  • Manuel J. Orbegozo
  • Clerk Jesse Hoskins casts a ballot into a voting machine at the Humboldt State University polling station.
click to enlarge First-time voter Heather Gundlach receives a ballot. "I finally feel like I have a voice," she said Gundlach. - MANUEL J. ORBEGOZO
  • Manuel J. Orbegozo
  • First-time voter Heather Gundlach receives a ballot. "I finally feel like I have a voice," she said Gundlach.
click to enlarge Samantha Boyd studies the voting catalog before casting her ballot at HSU. - MANUEL J. ORBEGOZO
  • Manuel J. Orbegozo
  • Samantha Boyd studies the voting catalog before casting her ballot at HSU.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

UPDATE: Final Election Night Results In

Posted By on Tue, Jun 3, 2014 at 8:29 PM

click to enlarge Incumbent 4th District Supervisor Virginia Bass talks with a visiting Washington state resident who happened to be eating at Sea Grill. Bass is pleased -- but "cautiously optimistic" -- with the early returns from the Humboldt County Elections Office.
  • Incumbent 4th District Supervisor Virginia Bass talks with a visiting Washington state resident who happened to be eating at Sea Grill. Bass is pleased -- but "cautiously optimistic" -- with the early returns from the Humboldt County Elections Office.
The Humboldt County Elections Office has released its final election night report, and the results remain largely unchanged.

Humboldt County has elected its first female district attorney, Maggie Fleming, re-elected 5 th District Supervisor Ryan Sundberg and appears to have re-elected 4 th District Supervisor Virginia Bass, though Bass’ lead is slim enough (303 votes) that we are hesitant to call it with an unknown number of ballots still to be sifted through in the coming days.

From the first report, Fleming ran away with the district attorney’s race, leaving her three challengers well behind and avoiding a November runoff by taking a whopping 60.96 percent of the vote, an almost unheard of tally for a four-way race. Elan Firpo finished second in the race, taking 25.80 percent of the vote, trailed by Allan Dollison with 8.08 percent and Arnie Klein with 4.97 percent.

In the 4th District supervisor race, Bass jumped out to an early lead when the first vote by mail ballots were counted but the race quickly narrowed, with challenger Chris Kerrigan outpacing Bass at the polls. It appears Bass’ early lead is holding, though, as she finished the night with 53.31 percent of the vote to Kerrigan’s 46.46.

The race for the county’s 5th District supervisorial seat was never close, with incumbent Ryan Sundberg dominating early and late, finishing with 61.09 percent of the vote to challenger Sharon Latour’s 38.67.

While there’s little question left as to the results of the 5th District supervisor race and that for district attorney, the results will not become final for weeks, as the elections office still needs to sift through uncounted and provisional ballots, conduct a random audit of results and have the final tallies certified by the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors.

It also warrants noting that while turnout is notoriously low for June elections, this one seems to have been particularly dismal, with only 29.88 percent (22,535 of 75,427) of registered voters having cast ballots. That number is sure to increase some, but seems unlikely to break 40 percent.

PREVIOUSLY:
Three of Humboldt County’s four local ballot measures are well on their way to passing, while the fourth — a school bond measure in Southern Humboldt Unified School District — is going down in flames.

Measure O, which would shift Ferndale’s city clerk and city treasurer positions from being elected by the public to appointed by the city council and city manager, is currently passing with 63.81 percent of the vote. Kneeland’s Measure L, which would impose a $60 to $80 parcel tax to support the volunteer fire department, is winning in a landslide, taking 82.89 percent of the vote. Measure M, a $1 million school bond in Hydesville to renovate and modernize Hydesville Elementary School, is currently taking 68.21 percent of the vote. Meanwhile, Measure N, a $10 million bond measure to renovate and repair seven SoHum schools, is failing, taking 46.64 percent of the vote. It needs 55 percent to pass.

PREVIOUSLY:
With almost 70 percent of precincts reporting, the race to become Humboldt County’s next district attorney is turning into a landslide.

Maggie Fleming is dominating the race, pulling in nearly 62 percent of the vote and leading the field by more than 6,500 votes. Elan Firpo is currently in second place with 23.34 percent of the vote, trailed by Allan Dollison and Arnie Klein, who currently have 8.46 and 5.04 percent of the vote, respectively. It’s important to note, however, that many of the county’s outlying areas still have not reported results to the Humboldt County Elections Office and there’s a slim chance, if the vote in those areas break decidedly away from Fleming, that she could still fail to get 50 percent of the vote, sending her to a runoff in November. In the general election four years ago, challenger Allison Jackson held a seemingly commanding lead over incumbent Paul Gallegos, before precincts in the southern and northern stretches of the county broke in Gallegos’ favor and catapulted him to re-election.

Meanwhile, the 4th District supervisorial race is shaping up to be much closer. Incumbent Virginia Bass is currently leading challenger

Chris Kerrigan by 303 votes, taking 53.55 percent of the vote to Kerrigan’s 46.21. It’s unclear, however, how many Eureka precincts are outstanding and whether there are enough uncounted ballots to give Kerrigan a chance.

In the race for the county’s 5th District supervisorial seat, incumbent Ryan Sundberg is running away with it, pulling in 65.76 percent of the vote to challenger Sharon Latour’s 34.04.

PREVIOUSLY:
The second report is in and Chris Kerrigan has significantly closed the gap on Virginia Bass. The Latour-Sundberg match hasn't budged much.

With 45 of 103 county precincts reporting, Bass still has a commanding lead: 55.34 percent to Kerrigan's 44.44 percent. It's unclear exactly which precincts are reporting, but less than 1,000 (non-mail in) votes have been counted from the polls in the 4th District. In the 2010 primary, 2,300 votes were cast in the district with 31 of 132 county precincts reporting. But that was a race with presidential action, so more voters likely turned up at the polls four years ago.

In the 5th District, only about 200 additional votes have been tallied since the first report, as most district precincts still have not returned their tallies to the Humboldt County Elections Office.

Supporters at district attorney candidate Maggie Fleming’s gathering on H Street in Eureka let out a hearty cheer as she read off the latest returns, which show her maintaining a commanding lead in the race, pulling 62.92 percent of the vote. Elan Firpo is currently second in the race, trailing by about 5,500 votes, with 23.23 percent. Allan Dollison remains in third place, with 8.73 percent, while Arnie Klein is currently bringing up the rear with 4.94 percent of the vote. With only 43.69 percent of precincts reporting, there’s still time for this race to become competitive but it would take a large swing to prevent Fleming from taking it outright and avoiding a runoff in November.

PREVIOUSLY:

The first batch of vote by mail ballots have been counted and show Humboldt County's supervisorial incumbents holding commanding early leads.

Humboldt County Registrar of Voters Carolyn Crnich said the recently released first batch of results includes all vote by mail ballots that had arrived at the Humboldt County Elections Office as of Saturday. The 12,431 ballots will almost assuredly represent the largest single dump of ballots of the night. Officials and observers reported a relatively modest turnout at the polls, which is not at all out of the ordinary for a June election, which a majority of registered voters generally skip. Two years ago, the county saw just 42 percent of registered voters vote in the primary. In 2010, it was just under 48 percent.

The night's first returns show 4th Supervisorial District incumbent Virginia Bass sitting with 61.61 percent of the vote to challenger Chris Kerrigan's 38.25. Bass currently holds a 523 vote lead.
Up in the county's 5th Supervisorial District, incumbent Ryan Sundberg holds a 732-vote lead over challenger Sharon Latour. Sundberg's received 65.81 percent of the vote so far to Latour's 33.97.

In the race to become Humboldt County’s next district attorney, Maggie Fleming has jumped out to the early lead, pulling in 63.69 percent of the first ballots counted, followed by Elan Firpo with 22.62 percent, Allan Dollison with 8.67 percent and Arnie Klein with 4.83 percent. Fleming currently has an almost 5,000-vote lead over Firpo. When the final votes are counted, the top two candidates in the district attorney's race will head to a runoff in November if none garner more than 50 percent of the vote.

History indicates that early vote-by-mail ballots tend to lean more conservative than Election Day voting. We'll see if that holds true tonight.

We will continue updating this post throughout the night as more results come in.
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