Latest vote tally holds Council lineup, more counting coming
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula News
Published: November 14, 2012
As mail-in and provisional ballots continue to be tabulated the numbers will change for those vying for City Council, but the lineup will remain the same.
First-time candidate Martin Hernandez and first-term incumbent Jim Tovias won the two open council seats, defeating incumbent Fred Robinson - also seeking a second council term - who ran with Tovias on a slate, and Duane Ashby, narrowly defeated in his first council bid two years ago. Leading up to the declaration of the winners - Martin Hernandez, a first time candidate and incumbent Jim Tovias - was a seesaw of results, starting with the first release of votes at about 8:30 p.m. on the November 6 Election Day.
The first release - mail-in ballots received far enough in advance to be vetted for the 8 p.m. tabulation - showed a tight cluster of the top three council candidates. Tovias had 1,110 votes, 27.92 percent, putting him in first place; Hernandez was second with 1,063 votes, 26.74 percent; Robinson third with 1,044, 26.26 percent; and Ashby with 751 votes, 18.89 percent, running last. There were eight write-in votes, 0.20 percent.
At about midnight a new count was released that showed the incumbents were losing ground both for first place and in overall percentages, while the challengers were gaining strength. Hernandez had climbed to first place with 1,581 votes, 28.01 percent; Tovias was running second with 1,552 votes, 27.49 percent; Robinson was still third with 1,421 votes, 25.17 percent; and Ashby, although still trailing, had 1,079 votes for a larger 19.11 percent share of the total. There were 12 write-in votes, 0.21 percent.
Just about one hour later, 1 a.m. on Wednesday, November 7, the count was again updated and showed voter preferences widening: Hernandez had 2,857 votes 30.73 percent; Tovias had 2,431 votes, 26.15 percent; Robinson had 2,157 votes, 23.20 percent; and Ashby had 1,831 votes, 19.69 percent of the total. Write-in votes were counted at 22, representing 0.24 percent.
Countywide there remained 63,119 mail-in and provisional ballots that had to verified and counted, including an unknown number of ballots from Santa Paula.
On Friday, November 9 at about noon election results were updated and showed that Hernandez and Tovias had fallen slightly behind percentage wise, although they remained the frontrunners. Hernandez had 3,020 votes 30.68 percent; Tovias had 2,566 votes, 26.07 percent; Robinson had 2,291 votes, 23.28 percent; and Ashby had 1,941 votes, 19.72 percent. There were 24 write-in votes, 0.24 percent.
The county counted more than 14,000 votes for Fridays release and will be updating results on Tuesdays and Fridays until the count is completed. The vote tally of November 7 showed at that time a total of 9,298 votes had been cast for council candidates.
Out of the first batch of later mail-in and provisional ballots released by the county November 9, the total votes cast in the Santa Paula City Council race total rose to 9,842, an increase of 544 votes.