Lustgarten captured the second open council seat by obtaining only eight more votes than council candidate Dennis McCord.
Farinha finished with 1,766 votes, Lustgarten with 1,665 and McCord with 1,657. Trailing behind were Tony Camacho with 1,320 votes, Councilwoman Annette Smith with 1,106 and Carlos Fierros with 855, according to the Stanislaus County Clerk Recorder's Office.
McCord had a 20-vote lead on election night before some absentee, military and provisional ballots had been counted and saw his lead slip to just eight votes when the county registrar’s office released more results Nov. 21.
Lee Lundrigan, Stanislaus County Clerk Recorder and Registrar of Voters, said Thursday, Nov. 29, she had hand counted the Patterson results personally to ensure their accuracy.
McCord, who had previously pondered the idea of a recount, said Thursday he accepted the results after he learned of the hand count.
“It’s highly unusual,” he said of the late provisional turnaround. “But the winner is the winner. You have to accept the vote totals, especially when there is a hand recount.”
Lustgarten said she had believed the process would turn in her favor.
“Like I said Election Day, we just needed democracy to happen,” Lustgarten said Thursday. “I have a birthday tomorrow, and this couldn’t have been a better present.”
Lustgarten said her priorities would be to advocate for senior citizens and to provide a more open and inclusive city government.
“There hasn’t been anyone on the council that has supported senior citizens in a long time,” she said. “I’ve been working with the Senior Meals Task Force, and I’d like to continue working with them.”
She also pointed to an open government ordinance for which she has advocated for more than a year, and said she would like to see an interpreter available for Spanish speakers at City Council meetings.
Farinha said he appreciated the other candidates who ran in the race as well as the citizens who voted.
“I’m deeply appreciative of those who voted for me,” he said. “I appreciate that they recognize the commitment, expertise and experience.”
He said his top priorities included public safety, including an assessment of police services and upcoming contract negotiations for a police services contract with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department.
Lundrigan said nearly 157,000 votes were cast countywide during the Nov. 6 election and voter turnout was higher than 67 percent. An all-time high number of more than 11,000 ballots were cast provisionally countywide, she said, though she did not know the exact number of provisional ballots cast in Patterson.
A provisional ballot is cast when the location or manner in which a ballot is cast is out of the ordinary, such as when a voter casts it in the wrong precinct or when the voter’s identification is in doubt.
Lundrigan’s office spent more than a week poring through and verifying each provisional ballot by hand before counting them.
Several members of Stanislaus County’s Republican and Democrat parties were on hand observing the ballot counts, Lundrigan said. All California laws were followed in the counting process, she said.
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