Voters choose candidates, approve measures

County continues to count ballots in primary election

SOUTH COUNTY — California voters took to the polls last Tuesday to decide on numerous candidates for state and county offices as well as local measures in the June 5 primary election, the results of which are continuing to be counted.

Monterey County election officials are hard at work tallying thousands of ballots, reporting that as of last Thursday, June 7, there were still about 29,000 ballots left to process. Voter turnout was reported at 21.89 percent, or 39,494 of 180,402 registered voters.

According to Claudio Valenzuela, Monterey County Registrar of Voters, the number of ballots left to process is greater than the number of ballots processed in the early voting period.

“This is a trend that we have observed in the last few elections. More people are holding on to their vote-by-mail ballots until the last minute,” Valenzuela said. “Voters are dropping them off at the polling places and return locations on Election Eve and Election Day or sending them in the U.S. mail in the last week.”

Monterey County is currently in the official 30-day election canvass period as required by law to conduct a full accounting and tabulation of all ballots cast in the election, including provisional and vote-by-mail ballots delivered on Election Day or received within three days after the election.


County contests

In a primary election, county, local and other nonpartisan candidates who receive at least 50 percent plus 1 vote are elected. If no candidate wins, the two with the most votes move on to the General Election.

Monterey County’s latest report on election results — released last Friday, June 8 — show newcomer Chris Lopez avoiding a runoff for Monterey County Supervisor District 3, receiving 59.07 percent or 2,713 votes against Alejandro Chavez (32.77 percent or 1,505 votes) and Edgar Alcantara (8.16 percent or 375 votes). Lopez, who lives in Greenfield, will take over the position beginning next year, when current County Supervisor Simon Salinas retires.

In the District 2 race for County Supervisor, John Phillips won with 58.86 percent or 4,220 votes against Regina Gage, who received 41.14 percent or 2,950 votes.

In the race for Monterey County Sheriff, incumbent Steve Bernal was re-elected with 64.67 percent or 23,560 votes, compared to challenger Scott Davis, who received 35.33 percent or 12,872 votes.

Other county races included Stephen Vagnini for Assessor-County Clerk/Recorder with 70.83 percent of the vote against Larry Tack’s 29.17 percent; and Rupa Shah for Auditor/Controller with 68.8 percent against Darren Huber’s 31.2 percent.

Deneen Guss, Jeannine Pacioni and Mary Zeeb also won their races for Monterey County Superintendent of Schools, District Attorney and Treasurer/Tax Collector, respectively, as they were the only candidates running in those contests.


County measures

As of Monterey County’s latest results, two local measures are just barely passing.

Soledad Unified School District’s school bond, Measure G, which needs at least 55 percent of voter approval, has received 57.81 percent or 544 votes in favor. The $25 million bond would renovate classrooms and schools, including the repair of leaky roofs, replacement of outdated plumbing and completion of improvements to Main Street Middle School.

“I’m really appreciative of the community for supporting Measure G because it will allow us to provide facility upgrades that are needed across the district,” said Superintendent Tim Vanoli.

Monterey County Regional Fire District’s cannabis tax, Measure H, which requires 2/3 voter approval or 66.6 percent of the vote, has so far earned 67.16 percent or 3,749 votes in favor. If successful, the district would impose an annual tax on commercial cannabis businesses within its boundaries to fund impacts upon fire prevention services and response to fires, hazardous materials and other emergencies, potentially generating $350,000 annually.

The county’s next report with updated results will be released Friday, June 15. County elections officials have up to 30 days after Election Day to complete their tallying, and must report their final results to the Secretary of State by July 6.

“County elections officials are hard at work processing and counting ballots,” said Secretary of State Alex Padilla. “Ensuring the accuracy and the integrity of the vote count is critical to our democracy. State law gives county elections officials up to 30 days after Election Day to complete vote counting, auditing and certification. In California, we work to ensure every ballot is counted properly and every ballot is accounted for,” Padilla added.


Statewide contests

In the statewide contests, the top two candidates with the most votes, regardless of party preference, move on to the General Election in November.

As of Tuesday, the latest statewide election results are the following:

Governor — Gavin Newsom (DEM, 33.9 percent) and John Cox (REP, 25.9 percent);

Lieutenant Governor — Eleni Kounalakis (DEM, 23.7 percent) and Ed Hernandez (DEM, 20.5 percent);

Secretary of State — incumbent Alex Padilla (DEM, 52.1 percent) and Mark Meuser (REP, 31.7 percent);

Controller — incumbent Betty Yee (DEM, 61.6 percent) and Konstantinos Roditis (REP, 34.5 percent);

Treasurer — Fiona Ma (DEM, 43.9 percent) and Greg Conion (REP, 21.6 percent);

Attorney General — incumbent Xavier Becerra (DEM, 45.4 percent) and Steven Bailey (REP, 24.9 percent);

Insurance Commissioner — Steve Poizner (NPP, 41.5 percent) and Ricardo Lara (DEM, 40.4 percent);

Superintendent of Public Instruction — Marshall Tuck (37.4 percent) and Tony Thurmond (35.1 percent); and

U.S. Senate — incumbent Dianne Feinstein (DEM, 44.3 percent) and Kevin De Leon (DEM, 11.6 percent).

Local districtwide contests included:

Board of Equalization Member District 2 — Malia Cohen (DEM, 38 percent) and Mark Burns (REP, 27.3 percent);

U.S. House of Representatives District 20 — incumbent Jimmy Panetta (DEM, 80.1 percent) and Ronald Kabat (NPP, 16 percent);

State Senate District 12 — Anna Caballero (DEM, 41.8 percent) and Rob Poythress (REP, 26.9 percent);

State Assembly District 29 — Mark Stone (DEM, 71.2 percent) and Vicki Nohrden (REP, 28.8 percent); and

State Assembly District 30 — Robert Rivas (DEM, 44 percent) and Neil Kitchens (REP, 31.3 percent).


State measures

Five state measures appeared on last week’s ballot, four of which earned enough support to pass.

Proposition 68 received 56.5 percent of support, allowing the state to sell $4.1 billion in general obligation bonds to fund various natural resources-related programs, such as for habitat conservation, parks and water-related projects.

Earning 80.8 percent of yes votes, Proposition 69 requires the Legislature, under the State Constitution, to continue to spend revenues from recently enacted fuel taxes and vehicle fees on transportation purposes, such as repairing roads and improving transit.

Proposition 71, which received 77.3 percent of voters’ support, allows most state ballot measures and propositions to take effect after the statewide vote has been counted and certified, about six weeks after Election Day.

Voters also supported Proposition 72, with 84 percent in favor, which means installing a system to collect and store rainwater on a property will not result in a higher property tax bill.

Voters, however, were not in favor of Proposition 70, with 64 percent against, allowing the Legislature to continue to authorize spending state revenue collected from the sale of greenhouse gas emission permits with a majority vote. The current state sales tax exemption for manufacturing and certain other equipment will remain in effect until July 1, 2030.

For complete statewide election results, go to


Video News