Conklin gains votes; Bedwell still ahead
The outcome of Nevada County’s all-important District 3 supervisor’s race is still up in the air after the tally of all absentee ballots.
While incumbent Bruce Conklin gained eight votes, he still trails challenger Drew Bedwell by a slim 16-vote margin.
“I don’t call races, and I don’t characterize them – I just count ballots,” said county Clerk-Recorder Lorraine Jewett-Burdick when asked if the race was still too close to call after Wednesday’s canvass update.
Before the outcome can be decided, Jewett-Burdick said about 280 provisional ballots and 37 damaged ballots must be counted.
She said final results will be certified by the Elections Office by Dec. 3. California law allows for an official 28-day canvass, beginning the second day after an election.
Bedwell said he feels confident about his chances, following Wednesday’s ballot count. “I think we’ll be successful, ultimately,” he said. “But, boy, this is certainly a challenge.”
Bedwell said he’s still nervous about the end result. “We’re getting closer to an outcome,” he said. “So now it all boils down to these … provisional votes, that’s the bottom line.”
“We picked up eight; I feel better,” said Conklin’s campaign manager, Paul Matson, who sat in on Wednesday’s canvass. “We picked up eight from election night, and that’s a definite improvement and cause for hope.”
It’s definitely not over yet, he added.
“There’s a couple of hundred provisional ballots to be counted, and then we’ll make our final call as to what we feel we should do next,” Matson said.
District 5 Supervisor and board chairwoman Barbara Green said Wednesday she’s keeping her fingers crossed for Conkln. “He’s been such a valuable member of the board in so many crucial areas,” she said.
Conklin could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
During Wednesday’s count, Bedwell questioned Jewett-Burdick about the verification process for the provisional ballots. Election Office staff must research each provisional to determine if the voter is eligible to cast a particular ballot.
Jewett-Burdick told Bedwell that the provisionals are checked by one staff member, then double checked by another – and that she has the final say.
“The process is good, the procedure seems adequate, and I have to accept the outcome,” Bedwell said when asked if he was satisfied with Jewett-Burdick’s explanation.
Unofficial semi-final count
from election night:
¥ Bedwell: 3,314 votes/
¥ Conklin: 3,290votes/
New numbers following WednesdayOs
¥ Bedwell: 3,431 votes/49.95 percent
¥ Conklin: 3,415 votes/49.72 percent
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
¥ Elections Office staff will continue to research the approximate 280 provisional ballots cast by voters whose eligibility to cast a particular ballot must be verified.
¥ Clerk-Recorder Lorraine Jewett-Burdick will review staff work next week and, in the presence of observers, allow or disallow for counting each provisional ballot.
¥ Then the provisional and damaged ballots will be counted and the tallies will be updated, hopefully by the end of next week.
¥ The elections staff will then begin a hand count of the contests in which there were certified write-in candidates. This will be followed by the manual tall, when a hand count is done in one random precinct in each contest to verify the accuracy of the computerized ballot scanners.
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