The County Clerk/Recorder’s Office has just posted the final election results for the City of San Luis Obispo, and they reveal an interesting pattern. The primary result, of course, is that both I and my colleague, Dan Carpenter, were elected to the two seats on the City Council. Dan drew 9,048 votes (31.16% of the 29,201 total votes case), and I held my place with 8,848 votes (30.3%). Remaining votes were split between Jeff Aranguena (5,775 votes, 19.78%); Kevin Rice (4,613 or 15.8%), and Matt Strzepek (731, 2.5%).
Mayor Jan Marx was re-elected with a resounding 61.42% of the 17,912 votes cast for the Mayor’s race; challenger Steve Barasch obtained only 30.18% of the vote with Donald Hedrick at 7.86%. Congratulations, Jan!
Congratulations are due to my colleague, Dan Carpenter, who held a slight lead over me. Of interest to me were several salient facts:
1. The Clerk/Recorder counted a total of 20,865 ballots cast in the City. If every ballot had cast two votes for Council, there would have been 41,730 total votes. However, only 29,201 votes were recorded for any of the five candidates. Thus, there is a “leakage” of 12,529 votes in this “down-ticket” race, amounting to about 30% of the total votes. Many voters failed to cast either of their two votes (we can’t know just how many); others voted only for one candidate, a practice known as “bullet” voting.
2. If every voter who cast a vote for the Mayor’s race (17,912) had also cast TWO votes for the Council candidates as allowed, there would have been 35,824 total votes. The figure of 29,201 votes cast in the Council race means that as many as 7,112 voters used “bullet voting” (although in all likelihood, at least 15-20% of the Mayoral race voters probably cast NO votes for the Council seats, perhaps as a protest or simply because of fatigue or simple neglect: The Council candidates were the last set of candidates featured on their ballot.
3. Dan Carpenter was fortunate in having his name placed first on the ballot; Jeff Aranguena was second and “John Ashbaugh” appeared third in the field of five names.
4. I actually received more votes at the polling place than Dan – 3,309 voersus 3,264. Vote-by-Mail voters, however, went for Mr. Carpenter over myself by 5,834 to 5,539 – and the “VBM” votes amounted to 60% of the total votes cast in our race.
Either way you slice it, it was an interesting election and I want once again to thank everyone who cast a ballot in the City of San Luis Obispo – especially those 8,848 voters who supported me. Overall turnout was almost 80% countywide, which is a good-to-excellent turnout and shows an active interest in our democratic processes.