The only local political race without a clear outcome – between Modesto Irrigation District incumbent Jake Wenger and challenger Stu Gilman – remained undecided Thursday after election officials released a voting count update. And with thousands more mail ballots yet to tally, the winner won’t be declared for several days.
Results of other contests, including Modesto City Council, Modesto City Schools District, the Oakdale Irrigation District and library tax and marijuana tax measures, were unchanged from Tuesday to Thursday. Election workers processed an additional 15,000 mail ballots in that time, boosting voter turnout throughout Stanislaus County from only 14 percent reported on Election Day to a little more than 20 percent on Thursday (48,817 total votes).
State law requires the election office to accept and count ballots arriving late, and 1,590 came in the mail on Thursday alone. More valid ballots could arrive Monday; there won’t be mail service Friday because of the Veterans Day holiday.
Gilman’s slight lead over Wenger shrunk from 51.1 percent on Tuesday to 50.9 percent by Thursday, after an additional 1,870 votes were processed from northwest Modesto, Salida and Wood Colony. The number of ballots yet to be counted in that division is unknown.
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Modesto City Council incumbents Bill Zoslocki (79.4 percent), Tony Madigral (69.3 percent) and Jenny Kenoyer (65.1 percent) retained their significant leads, which changed only slightly from Tuesday’s count.
Ditto for incoming Modesto school board members Adolfo Lopez (64.6 percent) and Charlene West (58 percent), as well as OID incumbent Herman Doornenbal (58 percent) and OID newcomer Brad DeBoer (65.5 percent).
The impressive margin of victory for Measure S, the library tax, continued to grow, from 81.2 percent on Tuesday to 82.2 percent on Thursday, as did that for Measure T, giving Modesto the ability to tax commercial marijuana (from 82.2 percent to 82.4 percent).
State law requires election officials to finish counting ballots by Nov. 21.
More than 300 mail voters in Stanislaus County failed to sign their envelopes, and their votes won’t count unless they visit the registrar’s office at 1021 I St. in Modesto by Wednesday.
Garth Stapley: 209-578-2390