Days after the statewide election, some important races in Madera County were still undecided. Officials said they’re busy counting ballots and deemed the situation “extraordinary.”
Election Day was Tuesday, June 7. Friday afternoon, county clerk-recorder and registrar of voters Rebecca Martinez explained the process by which votes are tallied.
“We counted 13,417 votes on Election Day,” Martinez said. “However, in Madera County and throughout the entire State, voters chose to hold on to their vote by mail (VBM) ballots until the last minute more than they ever have before.”
By Tuesday night, it appeared only about 18.64 percent of registered voters had voted.
But Martinez said some 12,981 vote by mail ballots were turned in during the late hours of June 6 and throughout the day on Election Day that hadn’t yet been reflected in the count.
The uncounted number of ballots nearly doubled the return.
“Never before have we had 50 percent of the returned ballots come in so late, it’s usually closer to 20 percent,” the registrar continued. . “That number is truly extraordinary.”
On June 8 and 9 Martinez said her team was able to verify signatures on an additional 3,797 ballots.
An office representative said earlier this week a “handful” of staff is tasked with cross-checking every single signature with its original – the responsibility is not automated. Ballots are verified one by one.
“Once that was complete we immediately began the process of extracting the ballots from envelopes and just this morning we tabulated those ballots,” Martinez shared on Friday.
New vote totals were released just before 2 p.m. Martinez said her office also updated the unprocessed ballot report as required by the Secretary of State.
“As of this moment, we still have 9,199 of VBM ballots to process, as well as over 200 conditional/provisional/damaged/etc. ballots to review/process. Processing these remaining ballots resumed immediately after the update was complete and is ongoing as we speak.”
Martinez said her office does not total the unprocessed ballots by Supervisorial District or any other boundaries – these are countywide totals. And she can’t say how long it will take to process the remaining ballots.
“What I can tell you is that we will continue to process ballots in earnest until we are done. As I have promised before, we will stop and tabulate every Wednesday and Friday so that everyone gets updated vote totals on a regular basis.”
The election must be officially certified by July 7. The county clerk said accuracy is the number one priority.
“While I would like to be finished as soon as possible, I will never allow a perceived urgency to compromise accuracy so I appreciate your patience as we continue to work toward final results.“
Meanwhile, the race for Sheriff of Madera County as of Friday left previously appointed Sheriff Tyson Pogue with 12,785 counted votes (80.86 percent) while challenger Ruben Mendoza received 3,027 votes so far (19.14 percent).
In a hotly contested eastern Madera County race for District 5 Supervisor, the future remained uncertain Friday as Robert “Bobby” Macaulay garnered 3,099 votes (46.79 percent), Mark S. Reed received 2,698 votes (40.74 percent) and Edward E. “Beau” Campbell, Jr. received 826 votes (12.47 percent).
In local county races like those for supervisor, a candidate receiving 50 percent of the vote plus one more vote has won the election outright and the election is decided.
If that is not the case and no candidate in the local election receives at least 50 percent plus one vote, the race will go to a runoff in the November election.
Following are unofficial election results for Madera County as of June 10, 2022:
Supervisor, District 1
Michele Stephens 982 30.25 percent
Andy Wheeler 1,146 35.30 percent
Jordan L. Wamhoff 1,118 34.44 percent
3,246 Votes counted
Supervisor, District 2
John Chavez 606 21.87 percent
Tim Farrell 724 26.13 percent
David B. Rogers 1,441 52.00 percent
2,771 Votes counted
Supervisor, District 5
Edward E. “Beau” Campbell, Jr. 826 12.47 percent
Mark S. Reed 2,698 40.74 percent
Robert “Bobby” Macaulay 3,099 46.79 percent
6,623 Votes counted
Brett Frazier 8,097 52.46 percent
Jorge Torres 7,337 47.54 percent
15,434 Votes counted
David E. Richstone 12,901 100 percent
Rebecca Martinez 13,911 100 percent
Sally Orme Moreno 13,886 100 percent
Tyson Pogue 12,785 80.86 percent
Ruben Mendoza 3,027 19.14 percent
15,812 Votes counted
Tracy Kennedy 13,022 100 percent
Judge of the Superior Court, Office 1
Katherine M. Rigby 11,061 70.35 percent
Alaina N. Ybarra 4,661 29.65 percent
15,722 Votes counted
County Superintendent of Schools
Cecilia Massetti 12,618 100 percent
Chowchilla Union High School District Bond Measure S received 871 “yes” votes (57.95 percent) and 632 “no” votes (42.05 percent).
For further details of election results in Madera County, visit votemadera.com
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