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Remaining ballots could sway final election results

Posted: April 9, 2014 7:20 p.m.
Updated: April 9, 2014 7:20 p.m.

With more than 900 ballots still uncounted following Tuesday’s Santa Clarita City Council election, the new face on the council was undetermined Wednesday and could remain so until next Tuesday, city officials said Wednesday.

As of Wednesday, the city had 679 vote-by-mail ballots and 286 provisional ballots that were received at the polls on Election Day and need to be reviewed and verified before they can be counted, according to information from the Santa Clarita City Clerk’s office.

Those remaining ballots, each of which could contain votes for as many as three candidates, mean the final results of Tuesday’s election remain very much in flux as the third-place candidate, Dante Acosta, and the fourth-place candidate, Alan Ferdman, are separated by a mere 46 votes, according to unofficial numbers released by the city Tuesday night.

Trailing not far behind were Gloria Mercado-Fortine, Duane Harte and Maria Gutzeit.

As part of the city’s process, the signatures on vote-by-mail ballots have to be checked against county databases, according to city spokeswoman Jessica Jackson.

If the signatures match, then those ballots are sorted, opened and organized in preparation for counting.

“If it’s questioned, or if it’s denied for any reason, those are sent to the county for verification,” Jackson said.

Beginning Wednesday, City Clerk staff began sorting those late-arriving vote-by-mail ballots and checking signatures.

Provisional ballots — those that are cast in person, but by voters whose names do not appear on the precinct lists where they chose to cast ballots — are also sent to the county for review to make sure those who cast them are registered to vote in the city, Jackson said.

Staff from the City Clerk’s office expected to send provisional ballots, as well as vote-by-mail ballots that have unverified signatures, to the county for review by the end of the day Wednesday.

Verification of those ballots could come from the county as early as Friday.

Next Tuesday, starting at 10 a.m., the City Clerk’s office will hold a public count of those verified ballots. That count will take place in the Council Chambers in City Hall and is open to the public, Jackson said.

The final results of the election will be ratified at the April 22 meeting of the Santa Clarita City Council.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney




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