CC Council Race Gets High Turnout, More than 1,000 Ballots Still to be Counted

12963740_10208980948299038_4514995572182356217_nNot only did Tuesday’s election turn out an enthusiastic 23% of Culver City voters, there are still more than a thousand ballots to count before the final results will be posted, and the election certified. The top three candidates were Meghan Sahli-Wells, Thomas Small and Göran Eriksson, pictured above at an election night celebration.

While the ballots that were certified on Tuesday night were fairly consistent from precinct to precinct, the volume of uncounted votes could still change the election results. We can’t know what we owe to to ‘Birdie’ – the official city campaign to get out of the vote, or the tremendous amount of anti-campaigning evidenced by flyers laid on doorsteps all over the city, the fact is that more of Culver City voted than in any recent election.

Will these additional votes change the results?  Possibly, but not probably.

The new law allowing votes to post by mail up to three days after the election, and a record number of provisional ballots – which must be verified before they can be counted – will be keeping our City Clerk, Martin Cole, very busy for the next week or longer. Legally, you have until Friday, April 15, to turn in a vote at City Hall.

The polls closed at 8:00 PM on April 12, 2016. Shortly after, in the City Council Chambers with cameras rolling and members of the public observing, the City Clerk’s Office began the official count of the Vote-by-Mail (VBM) ballots which were received and signature verified prior to Election Day; and  the votes cast at the polls. By the end of the day, shortly before midnight, 4,057 ballots had
been counted. Based upon that count, the City Clerk’s Office posted the first Unofficial Preliminary Election Results on the City’s website at:
www.culvercity.org/home/showdocument?id=2892.

At 2:00 PM on April 13, 2016, about 14 hours after posting the first Unofficial
Preliminary Election Results, the City Clerk’s Office completed the first review of the City’s 13 precincts. Throughout Election Day, voters dropped-off VBM ballots at the polls and some voters voted “provisionally” because they either did not appear in the voting roster or they appeared at a precinct other than their registered precinct. There are a total of 402 VBM ballots and 195 provisional ballots (a total of 597 ballots) to process from last night alone! These 597 ballots are added to 190 VBM ballots received on April 8, 2016 that have completed
signature verification. An additional 158 VBM ballots received on April 11, 2016 and 318 VBM ballots received on April 12, 2016 are about to be processed and enter signature verification (a total of 666 ballots). As of right now, there are a total of 1,263 (597 + 666) VBM and provisional ballots in process and pending counting.
As required by law, the City Clerk appointed a Canvassing Board which has met prior to Election Day and will meet frequently beginning this afternoon at 3:30 PM to prepare the 1,263 ballots for signature verification by the County of Los Angeles. Once the signature verification process is complete, the Canvassing Board will remove ballots where the signatures do not match the signature on the voter’s
registration card or the voter did not sign the VBM envelope. Those ballots with mismatching signatures will not be counted. Pursuant to a new state law, the City Clerk’s Office must allow voters until 5:00 PM on the 8th day after the election (or April 20, 2016) the opportunity to sign their ballot. The remainder will be segregated by precinct and prepared for counting.

Additionally, The City Clerk’s Office will continue to receive VBM ballots via the USPS. So long as they were postmarked by April 12, 2016 and received prior to close of business on Monday,April 18, 2016, the City Clerk’s Office must process them. Only VBM and provisional ballots that have passed signature verification can be counted.

A new state law that became effective on January 1, 2016 requires the City Clerk to accept VBM ballots that have been postmarked no later than April 12, 2016 and (2) been received no later than 5:30 PM on Monday, April 18, 2016 to be processed for possible counting. Also, voters who did not sign their VBM ballots have until April 20, 2016 at 5:00 PM to come to the City Clerk’s Office and sign their ballots. Such ballots must also be processed. It is not expected there will be more than 100 VBM ballots in this situation. Because of these very late deadlines imposed by state law, the City Clerk’s Office has already provided notice of the second counting of VBM and provisional ballots for 1:00 PM on Thursday, April 21, 2016.

To ensure all eligible and verified ballots are counted, there may be a counting on Friday, April 22, 2016. In accordance with law, the City will provide at least 48 hours’ notice of these counting sessions so that interested members of the public can attend and observe.

The City Council shall hold its regular meeting at 7:00 PM on this date. The City Council will be requested to adopt a resolution certifying the election results. Once the election results have been certified, the City Clerk shall administer the oath of office to those persons elected and convene the new City Council!

The City Clerk’s Office will counting session for April 19, 2016 at 1:00 PM. All ballots received and signature verified by 11:00 AM on April 19, 2016 will be counted at 1:00 PM. The total number of ballots to be counted on that day is subject to the completion of signature verification by the County of Los Angeles.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER TUESDAY APRIL 19, 2016 AT 1:00 PM?: A new state law that became effective on January 1, 2016 requires the City Clerk to accept VBM ballots that have (1) been postmarked no later than April 12, 2016 and (2) been received no later than 5:30 PM on Monday, April 18, 2016 to be processed for possible counting. Also, voters who did not sign their VBM ballots have until April 20, 2016 at 5:00 PM to come to the City Clerk’s Office and sign their ballots. Such ballots must also be processed. It is not expected there will be more than 100 VBM ballots in this situation. Because of these very late deadlines imposed by state
law, the City Clerk’s Office has already provided notice of the second counting of VBM and provisional ballots for 1:00 PM on Thursday, April 21, 2016.

To ensure all eligible and verified ballots are counted, there may be a counting on Friday, April 22, 2016. In accordance with law, the City will provide at least 48 hours’ notice of these counting sessions so that interested members of the public can attend and observe.

The City Council shall hold its regular meeting at 7:00 on April 25, 2016. The City Council will be requested to adopt a resolution certifying the election results. Once the election results have been certified, the City Clerk shall administer the oath of office to those persons elected and convene the new City Council!

photo credit – Maren Neufeld

Ting Internet is in Culver City!

1 Comment

  1. I just received this very enlightening information which points out some of the fallacies being touted about town regarding this election and voter turnout.

    We should not get caught up in the election turnout numbers, especially since they’re not actually the “record” numbers everyone (including the city) is claiming.

    In this election, 4,057 ballots had been counted by the end of election day and some 1,263 VBM and provisionals are still left to be counted, which means 5,310 ballots were cast.

    In 2002, the only election for which the city website indicates the actual number of BALLOTS cast, there were 5,994 total ballots cast, so 2016 was not a record turnout (unless 600+ new ballots show up between now and Monday).

    Unfortunately, the city does not provide numbers for the total ballots cast in other races, so we have to use some guesstimates. Sahli-Wells has received 2,760 votes so far. She was named on 51.9% of the ballots (2,760/5,310). Using this statistic, it can be assumed she will also be named on 51.9% of the remaining ballots (.519*1,263), meaning she will receive 656 additional votes for a total of 3,416 votes.

    In most elections, the top vote-getter topped 3,000 votes. In fact, in 2004, you needed more than 3,300 to finish THIRD and the top vote-getter was well over 3,700 votes.

    Here are the top vote-getters in recent elections along with their vote totals (it is noteworthy that in this election, 10,557 votes have been cast so far, but remember that the number of votes cast is ALWAYS larger in races where voter can choose three candidates, not just two … so be sure to remember that when you compare the numbers below and in this election there were 7 candidates):

    2002 – Albert Vera (3,184 votes) 2 available seats, 5 candidates – total votes cast: 10,735
    2004 – Alan Corlin (3,752 votes) 3 available seats, 6 candidates – total votes cast: 15,448
    2006 – Gary Silbiger (3,053 votes) 2 available seats, 3 candidates – total votes cast: 7,853
    2008 – Andy Weissman (2,768 votes) 3 available seats, 6 candidates– total votes cast: 7,879
    2010 – Scott Malsin (2,911 votes) 2 available seats, 4 candidates – total votes cast: 8,693
    2012 – Andy Weissman (3,083 votes) 4 available seats, 6 candidates – total votes cast: 14,905
    2014 – Jeff Cooper (2,569 votes), 2 available seats, 4 candidates – total votes cast: 6,757

    Total votes cast is different from ballots cast. Look at 2002: 5,994 ballots were cast and if every voter used both of their votes, the total number of votes cast would be 11,988 when the actual number of votes cast was 10,735, which means 1,253 people voted for just one candidate in that race. Steve Rose faced a threshold of, for example, in 2004, where he needed 3,302 votes to finish THIRD.

    It was not a record turnout, nor, as illustrated above, will the highest vote getter receive a record number of votes for a candidate.

    After reading this information, I am very disappointed in those people who have inflated their role in getting out the vote in this election. The results aren’t good or bad, just average.

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