UPDATE 4:30 PM: Unofficial, final election results have Dan Totheroh winning election to the Inyo County Board of Supervisors by the slimmest of margins.
According to Clerk-Recorder Kammi Foote, a hand count of the remaining provisional ballots on Thursday afternoon gave Totheroh an additional six votes, bringing his total share of the District 1 vote to 50 percent plus 1-and-a-half. In races where there are more than two people running, a candidate must garner at least 50 percent plus 1 to win; otherwise, the top two vote-getters advance to a runoff in the next election.
To be absolutely certain, Foote will convene a panel of volunteers on Monday to hand count all 1,001 ballots cast in the District 1 Supervisor race. Until then, she will not certify the results.
Earlier today, Foote and her team finished counting 1,400 remaining vote-by-mail ballots that had been turned into the polls on Election Day, including 240 for District 1.
That left 32 provisional ballots left to, first, verify, and then count. Of those 32, 13 were submitted by District 1 residents. About midday, Foote was unsure how long that process would take but vowed to finish by the weekend for the sake of the candidates and voters.
Having everyone from her office on the task, Foote focused only on the District 1 provisionals and was able to verify 10 of the 13. Six, again, were in Totheroh's favor. David Tanksley and Bill Stoll each received two.
Following are the unofficial, final vote totals:
After processing and tallying an additional 1,400 ballots well into Thursday, the county Elections Department is no closer to being able to declare a winner in the District 1 Supervisor race than it was late Tuesday night.
“It’s a nailbiter,” County Clerk-Recorder Kammi Foote said shortly before 1 p.m. Thursday. “It’s still way too close to call.”
Having finished counting the 240 absentee and vote-by-mail ballots from District 1 that were turned in at polling stations on Election Day, Foote reported Dan Totheroh is currently the winner – and avoiding a runoff election in November – by literally half a percent.
Totheroh’s total vote count as of Thursday afternoon is 496; David Tanksley’s, 403; and Bill Stoll’s, 92.
The numbers translate to Totheroh claiming a 50 percent plus one-half of the vote. In order to avoid a runoff, a candidate must win 50 percent plus 1.
“This really exemplifies that every vote counts and can make a difference,” Foote said.
According to Foote, she still has 32 provisional ballots that must verified and then counted. Thirteen of those provisional ballots are from District 1, with the potential to sway the election back in the direction of a runoff.
Provisional ballots are issued at the polls to voters who were supposed to be issued vote-by-mail ballots but either did not receive one or lost their ballot.
Foote and her team must first go through the entire roster of Inyo County’s registered voters and give those who participated in Tuesday’s election “credit” for voting. There are 9,506 registered voters in Inyo County; of those, 2,636 participated on Tuesday.
This allows Foote to prevent anyone from trying to vote twice by using a provisional ballot. Verifying and processing provisional ballots can take anywhere from five to 25 minutes each, Foote said. And again, that’s after going through the roster of 9,000-plus voters.
But Foote is determined to get the District 1 candidates – and the voters – a final answer as soon as possible.
“I won’t leave this weekend without having these provisionals processed,” Foote said. “whatever that’s going to take.”