Who will be the next mayor of Calistoga? Which of three candidates will take an open seat on the Pope Valley Union school board? Did Mark Luce really win a fifth term as Napa County supervisor for District 2?
The first two questions will remain unanswered until county elections chief John Tuteur and his staff have finished counting all of the remaining ballots left over after the final unoffical vote count late on Nov. 6, and Tuteur certifies the results to the board of supervisors next week.
But Tuteur believes the final results will bear out the unoffical count in confirming Luce's win.
"Except in races where there is a margin of less than 50 votes in the 11:29 p.m. election night results, there is little chance of the trend changing," Tuteur wrote in a statement explaining the post-election vote-counting process.
Just 25 votes separated Calistoga mayoral candidates Chris Canning (548) and Paul Knoblich (523) on election night, while the three Pope Valley school board candidates tallied 93, 96 and 97 votes.
Luce, however, ended well ahead of challenger Mark Van Gorder in the Nov. 6 count for the District 2 supervisor's race.
"The margin in that race on election night was 255 votes between the two candidates," Tuteur wrote.
"The odds of that trend reversing in the next 6,000 ballots is statistically insignificant because there are no distinguishing characteristics between the ballots already tallied and the ballots now being processed," he continued.
Tuteur likens the unofficial election night tally to an opinon poll:
"In a national poll perhaps 1,500 likely voters are asked how they are planning to vote. The poll results are used to project how more than 100 million voters will decide on election day," he wrote.
"Using the 2nd Supervisor race as an example, there are 15,506 registered voters in that district. We have an “opinion poll” from 6,453 voters whose ballots have been counted," Tuteur continued.
"Assuming an 80% turnout in that district we still have approximately 6,000 ballots still to count which means that more than 50% of the “poll” has been completed."
To read Tuteur's complete explanation of the vote-counting process, please see Napa Elections Chief: Every Vote is Counted.
Click this link for the unofficial election night results for all the Napa city and county races and ballot measures.
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