Election Day Looms for Dozens of Local Races
A sign outside the County Administration Center in El Centro on Tuesday, Oct. 27, points to an early polling site for the Nov. 3, 2020, General Election. | CORISSA IBARRA PHOTO

ELECTION UPDATE: 28K Ballots Remain; No Change in Tight IID Div. 4 Race; McCabe School Board Sees Shift

Imperial County has until Dec. 3 to certify the Nov. 3 General Election results with around 28,000 mail-in and provisional ballots left to be counted, according to the latest update from the election department.

With just 793 additional ballots tallied across the county in the past 24 hours, there were few significant changes in the daily summary report issued at 5:26 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5.

That already-large number of unprocessed ballots does have the potential to grow; California counties can accept mail-in ballots through Nov. 20 if they are postmarked by Election Day, Nov. 3.

“Due to the unprecedented amount of vote-by-mail and provisional ballots received by the Registrar’s Office, final tallying of ballots could take longer than previous elections,” according to the press release that accompanied the most recent report.

Voter turnout as of the Nov. 5 report is 26.44 percent, with some 22,238 ballots counted from the 84,123 eligible registered voters in the county.

Projected total turnout would be 59.72 percent for Imperial County if no other ballots are received beyond the estimated 28,000 in possession of the Registrar’s Office.

County spokesperson Linsey Dale, who is among a team helping to supervise the count, stated in an email Friday, Nov. 6, that the volume of ballots processed in the past 24 hours will be larger in coming days. She said there was a report due to the Secretary of State’s Office on Nov. 5 confirming the number of unprocessed ballots remaining that required hands-on attention from election department and county staff conducting the count.

IID Div. 4 Race Tight

Meanwhile, possibly the most significant race hanging in the balance is the Division 4 run-off for the Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors between incumbent Erik Ortega and challenger Javier Gonzalez, who led by just 20 votes, according to the Nov. 5 report.

Following the three most recent ballot reports, Gonzalez’s lead has gone from more than 40 votes on Election Night, to just 14 votes after the 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 4, report.

A first-time political candidate and community organizer, Gonzalez had 2,107 votes, or 50.24 percent of the ballots cast in the 27-precinct division in the Calexico area. Ortega, who is seeking his second term on the IID board, has 2,087 votes, or 49.76 percent.

Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors Division 4 runoff candidates, incumbent Erik Ortega (from left) and Javier G. Gonzalez, participate in the Sept. 19 candidate forum put on by the Imperial Valley Social Justice Committee and Imperial Valley College Students for Political Awareness and Action. | VIDEO SCREEN CAPTURE

Only 74 new ballots were counted in that race the past 24 hours. Some 17,670 registered voters are in the division.

The race is significant in that it will decide one of five members of the county’s water and power district, a hugely influential political body that oversees a larger annual operating budget ($560 million on the power side; $290 million on the water side) than the county of Imperial ($540 million).

Incumbent Ortega thinks he will win, saying the historical turnout in the division is in his favor. To read what Ortega and Gonzalez had to say, check out our coverage of the race here.  

McCabe School Board Shift

The only race to register a change in the past 24 hours is the race for the third and final seat on the McCabe Union Elementary School District Board of Trustee in El Centro.

Michael T. McFadden | COURTESY PHOTO
Alec Austin Hendry | COURTESY PHOTO

Incumbent Michael T. McFadden and challenger Alec Austin Hendry traded position in the last day, with Hendry falling to fourth place behind McFadden.

Just four votes separate McFadden and Hendry, as of Nov. 5.

McFadden had 504 votes, or 18.79 percent of the ballots cast in the 20-precinct district, with some 3,920 registered voters. Hendry had 500 votes, or 18.64 percent.

Karina B. Alvarez | COURTESY PHOTO
Dr. Edgar Aguilar | COURTESY PHOTO

The first and second seats on the board look to be firmly at hand, with 32.4 percent of the district ballots having been counted.

Leading the race is incumbent Karina B. Alvarez, with 717 votes, or 26.73 percent, followed by challenger, Dr. Edgar Aguilar, with 539 votes, or 20.1 percent.

Incumbent Charles “Chip” Corfman is bringing up the rear with 422 votes, or 15.73 percent.

The Registrar’s Office is expected to release daily summary reports at 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays until the count is complete or until certification.

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