Politics

Work is far from over at Fresno County Elections Office

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Thousands of absentee ballots have yet to be counted in Fresno County. There will be a November run-off for the Fresno City Council District 3 seat, between Oliver Baines and Mike Briggs to replace Cynthia Sterling. In district 5, it is still to be determined who will be the second candidate in the run-off. So the work is far from over at the Fresno County Elections Office.

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Thousands of absentee ballots are flowing through the machines at the Fresno county elections warehouse in southeast Fresno ... these are ballots that either arrived in the mail ... or showed up at various polling places on Election Day. Over the next couple of weeks Fresno County elections workers will carefully sort and count each one.

Victor Salazar, the Fresno County Elections Supervisor, "We not only have to process all the absentees and the provisional ballots but we also have to do a precinct by precinct audit ... it's called a canvas. In addition to that we have to a one percent manual tally ... so all of that's going to take time."

Salazar estimates there are 15 to 20 thousand absentee ballots to be counted ... enough to determine whether Phil Larson wins re-election to his district one seat on the Fresno County Board of Supervisors outright. Right now Larson has 49.8 percent of the vote ... he needs 50 percent plus one vote ... or he will be in a run-off with Cynthia Sterling in November.

In addition to sorting through absentee ballots ... The elections department is also dealing with reports of voter misconduct at a polling place in Southwest Fresno's district three.

Rick Morse ... medical marijuana activist ... told Action News Tuesday that he and his son rented a van and picked up people at Fresno's Poverello House and dropped them off at the polling place at Lincoln Elementary School.

Victor Salazar saids, "Giving people transportation is not against the law ... feeding people is not against the law ... however if you do it for renumeration for voting for a particular campaign or candidate ... then it is against the law ... in fact, it's a felony violation."

It's too early to tell whether the allegations will affect the outcome of the district three council race.

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fresno county, election day, politics, liz harrison
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