Inyo County voters turned out in near-record numbers Tuesday to cast ballots in an election that saw President Barack Obama re-elected to a second term, California retain its death penalty and incumbents holding onto their school board seats in Big Pine and Independence.
With the exception of the race for Bishop City Council, most local elections were still too close to call Wednesday afternoon as county officials set about counting about 1,650 absentee and provisional ballots that were still outstanding.
The top three vote-getters – and, therefore, the winners in the five-person race – for three available seats on the Bishop City Council are incumbents David Stottlemyre and Laura Smith and challenger Patricia Gardner.
Stottlemyre leads the pack with 608 votes, followed by Gardner with 559 and Smith with 513.
Incumbent Susan Cullen earned 359 votes and challenger Keith Glidewell earned 353 votes.
In the Fourth District Supervisorial race, only four votes separated incumbent Marty Fortney and challenger Mark Tillemans on Wednesday.
Preliminary numbers showed Tillemans with 644 votes to Fortney’s 640 in the election where 65 percent of District 4’s 1,284 registered voters cast a ballot.
Likewise, little more than 100 votes separated Fifth District Supervisorial candidates Matt Kingsley and Jim Gentry, with Kingsley earning 527 votes and Gentry coming in at 421 Tuesday night.
The tally of remaining ballots could potentially turn the tides in each local race.
Inyo County Clerk-Recorder Kammi Foote said there are approximately 1,450 outstanding absentee ballots to be counted. Those should be tallied by Friday. There are also about 200 provisional ballots that remain to be counted. Foote said those should be tallied by Tuesday.
However, Foote said, not all of the provisional ballots will be counted as part of Inyo County’s total.
It seems, based on reports from poll workers, that out-of-the-area residents traveling through Inyo County on Tuesday used local polling places to drop off their ballots.
In all, Foote said she thinks about 80 percent of Inyo County’s 9,959 registered voters cast a ballot in the November General Election. “It was a pretty high turnout,” she said. “I think Inyo residents came out in support of our local candidates.”
In the race for the Big Pine Unified School District, Denelle Carrington (420), Sandy Lund (442) and Carla R. Bacoch (387) beat out Robert Vance (300) for the three available seats.
In the contest for the Owens Valley Unified School District, Sandra Anderson (189) and Aldene Felton (132) beat April Zrelak (104) for the two available seats.
For the two seats on the Trona Joint Unified School District, Sandra Kay Sprouse (10) and Samantha MacLean (14) beat Karin Siegle (7) and Bob Wilhelm (4).
Robert Kimball, the only candidate on the ballot for Bishop City Treasurer, earned 790 votes.
In state and districtwide races, Inyo voters were at odds with their out-of-the-area counterparts. For a full comparison of Inyo, state and districtwide votes, see story on pg. 1.
In the race for U.S. Senate, Inyo County voters came out in favor of Republican challenger Elizabeth Emken while incumbent Dianne Feinstein (D) won the statewide election.
In the contest for the 8th Congressional District, local voters favored Republican Gregg Imus while fellow Republican Paul Cook was the district favorite and ultimate winner.
In the race for the 26th State Assembly District, Inyo and other district voters were on the same page, electing Connie Conway (R-Tulare), over Democratic challenger Jonathon Sosa.
Inyo County voters supported the Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction measure (Prop 32) which failed at the state level; the Auto Insurance Prices Based on Driver History measure (Prop 33) which failed; the Human Trafficking Penalties measure (Prop 35) which passed; the Three Strikes Law reform measure (Prop 36) which passed; and the State Senate Redistricting map (Prop 40) which passed.
Local voters were opposed to the Temporary Taxes to Fund Education (Prop 30) which passed; the State Budget, State and Local Government measure (Prop 31) which failed; the abolition of the death penalty (Prop 34) which did not pass; the Genetically Engineered Foods Labeling measure (Prop 37) which was voted down; the Tax for Education. Early Childhood Programs (Prop 38) which failed; and the Business Tax for Energy Funding measure (Prop 39) that was approved by voters.
Lastly, most Inyo voters supported Republican candidate Mitt Romney in his bid for president with Preisdent Barack Obama coming in second. Presidential candidates Jill Stein (GRN), Thomas Hoefling (AI), Gary Johnson (LIB) and Roseanne Barr (PF) each received less than 100 votes.
See Saturday’s edition of The Inyo Register for updated election results and reaction from candidates.