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WatchSonoma
WatchSonoma Watch
Officials: Up to 35,000 Sonoma County ballots still to be counted

Sonoma County workers Wednesday set about the laborious task of counting and verifying tens of thousands of mail-in ballots.
Bins of uncounted ballots in the Registrar of Voters’ warehouse vividly illustrated the numbers of envelopes yet to be opened and examined by a staff of up to 24 election workers committed to the task.
It likely will take the full 31 days permitted by law to count them, said Janice Atkinson, county elections chief.
That will delay the naming of victors in at least three local elections, and none of the results for any race or ballot measure will be official until that final certification.

Last-minute surge of spending in 1st district supervisorial race

A surge of last-minute spending has sparked a final war of words between Susan Gorin and John Sawyer, the two candidates vying for the 1st District seat on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors.
The sparring has included proxies making independent expenditures on behalf of the two rivals, who are long-time opposites on the Santa Rosa City Council.
The money race has accelerated in the past week, with both direct campaign contributions and outside spending pouring more than $80,000 into the contest to replace retiring Supervisor Valerie Brown, campaign finance records show.

GULLIXSON: Lingering frights regarding election night

The spider webs, tombstones and ubiquitous bloody adornments of Halloween are gone. But there are a few frights that linger out there, and most of them revolve around what is going to happen on Tuesday.

Elections officials urge absentee voters to drop off ballots this weekend

County elections officials are urging absentee voters to drop off their ballots this weekend at one of the nine sites established to ease the anticipated crunch on Monday and on election day. Nearly 185,000 vote-by-mail ballots have been issued for Tuesday’s election, a number that beats the previous record by about 15,600 ballots, officials said.

Record number of vote-by-mail ballots expected in Sonoma County

Sonoma County has issued nearly 185,000 vote-by-mail ballots for Tuesday’s election, a new record that represents 71 percent of registered voters.
But it also means that any close race — such as the 1st District supervisorial contest between Santa Rosa City Council members Susan Gorin and John Sawyer — may remain unresolved for up to four weeks after the election.
The burgeoning number of absentee voters, along with high voter participation and a lengthy ballot in the presidential election, virtually guarantees that officials will need the full 28 days allowed by law to tally the vote, county elections chief Janice Atkinson said Thursday.

Healdsburg lays out need for Measure V sales tax hike

In a public presentation that was intended to avoid advocacy, Healdsburg officials on Tuesday said the proposed half-cent sales tax hike on next week’s election ballot will help avoid deep cuts to core services. City Manager Marjie Pettus said Measure V, which would raise an estimated $1 million annually for 10 years, ‘will help us maintain services and put programs and services that were previously cut back into the budget.’

Closure of Doyle Park school resonates in Santa Rosa school board race

The issues motivating the five candidates vying for the Santa Rosa school board range from making smart budget choices to expanding pre-school education to fostering stronger ties between local schools and their surrounding neighborhoods.

Money race between Gorin, Sawyer tightens

The money race between the two candidates vying for Sonoma County’s 1st District Board of Supervisors seat has narrowed in October.
Susan Gorin still trails rival John Sawyer by more than $60,000 in contributions received since the start of the year. But Gorin eclipsed Sawyer in the latest reporting period, from October 1 to October 20, pulling in $40,641, or $8,238 more than Sawyer, campaign finance records show.

Sebastopol candidate raises record cash

In a Sebastopol City Council election perceived as a referendum on the controversial CVS Pharmacy-Chase Bank project, marijuana dispensary executive and CVS opponent Robert Jacob has raised and spent more money than all other candidates combined. Through Oct. 20, Jacob has raised $32,004 and spent $26,004, the most ever by a candidate in Sebastopol history, according to disclosure statements filed Thursday.

GUEST OPINION: Use vote to halt widening of wealth gap

With the fall elections upon us, Californians are reeling under a weak recovery, enduring both historic levels of income inequality and the most severe fiscal crisis in recent history. To address the crisis we must have some common sense remedies: raise taxes on the wealthy and build a movement for a fair and more equitable tax system.

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