Council race tightens; Lustgarten within eight votes
by Nick Rappley | Patterson Irrigator
Nov 28, 2012 | 1475 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Patterson City election race for the second council seat has gotten so close between two candidates that both say they will call for a recount if the election goes to the other.

The latest numbers from Nov. 21 showed Dominic Farinha in the lead for one council seat with 1,709 votes and Dennis McCord leading for the second council seat with 1,625 votes. Sheree Lustgarten trailed McCord by eight votes with 1,617.

“If she passes me, absolutely I’ll ask for a recount,” McCord said. “I expect to win, but I think it will be within four (votes).”

Lee Lundrigan, Stanislaus County clerk-recorder and registrar of voters, said Tuesday, Nov. 27, that state election law has no provisions for automatic recounts. As a result, ballots are only recounted if someone requests it.

As of Tuesday, McCord guessed that about 50 to 100 provisional ballots from Patterson remained to be counted out of 3,500 county-wide. He based his estimate on the fact that 3,500 is about 1.7 percent of the more than 202,000 ballots that were cast in Stanislaus County; and if 1.7 percent of the nearly 5,000 ballots cast in the city of Patterson remained to be counted, that would be about 85.

Lundrigan said no official ballot counts were available from Patterson, as all of the provisional ballots were mixed.

Though Lustgarten still trailed by a razor-thin margin as of Monday, Nov. 26, she was optimistic about the outcome of the election.

“I don’t think I’m going to have to (call for a recount) at this point,” she said Monday. “We just might call for a recount, if we have to.”

Lustgarten said she had been in contact with election recount experts, and she could call for recounts of certain groups of ballots or all of them, depending on the outcome.

Other council candidates trailed further behind, including Tony Camacho with 1,249 votes, Councilwoman Annette Smith with 1,066 and Carlos Fierros with 797.

Lundrigan posted the latest numbers for the candidates Nov. 21, when she also announced that the verification process and counting of the 3,500 remaining provisional ballots of the original 11,000 provisional ballots cast would continue throughout this week.

State law requires the results to be certified no later than Dec. 4, the day the new City Council is scheduled to be seated.

Lundrigan has said that provisional ballots — used when a voter’s identification is in doubt of when a voter casts a ballot in the wrong precinct — would be verified and counted by election workers as a final step. Election workers must make sure there are no duplicate votes, Lundrigan said.

The examination of provisional ballots includes a review and comparison of voters’ signatures with their original voter registration cards, Lundrigan said in a Nov. 16 statement.

The outcome of the mayor’s race, meanwhile, appears clear. The latest tallies showed that Mayor Luis Molina had collected 3,530 votes, while challenger Troy McComak received 1,150.

n Contact Nick Rappley at 892-6187, ext. 31, or nick@pattersonirrigator.com.

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