Final elections results are in
April 3, 2020 — The official elections results are in, with 56.82% of the county’s almost 52,000 registered voters participating in the election. The final count confirms early indicators of runoffs in the first and second supervisorial districts, another term for Fourth District Supervisor Dan Gjerde, and a judge’s bench for Patrick Pekin.
Hospital affiliation received 91% approval and three out of four school bond measures got the nod from voters. Fort Bragg and Ukiah school bonds passed with just over the 55% they needed, while Willits fell short, with 54.81% of the district’s voters casting a ballot in favor. The Mendocino School District bond measure passed with a comfortable 70% majority.
Another narrow win was Measure D, which originally appeared in 2018, when supervisors proposed a 10% transient occupancy tax on private campgrounds and RV parks. In the earlier election, the idea was for the money to go into the general fund. But the measure went down with a slim majority voting no. This time around, it was accompanied by Measure E, an advisory measure, which directs the funds to the county’s fire agencies. Three quarters of the money will be divided among them evenly, and the fire chiefs will decide how to spend the remainder.
Campgrounds are unlikely to be generating much revenue soon, with recreation no longer an option as the entire state shelters in place. Last month, Janie Sheppard, who has been a poll worker in all the elections for the last 22 years, wrote a letter to the board of supervisors, asking if the county could mandate an all mail-in election for November. “I don’t want to be a poll worker if it means exposing myself to the coronavirus,” she wrote.
Katrina Bartolomie, the assessor clerk recorder and registrar of voters, said she had just been on a conference call with other elections officials, discussing what it would take to conduct an election on a strictly mail-in basis. Eighty-six percent of the county already votes by mail, so she does not foresee major problems if the county made the switch entirely. Most of the people who volunteer to run the polling places are over 75 years old, in a high-risk category for coming down with a bad case of the virus, if they contract it.