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August 19, 2022

Election turnout low in South County

About 36% of Santa Clara County voters cast ballots

Gilroy and Morgan Hill had some of the lowest voting precincts in Santa Clara County in a primary election noted for its poor turnout.

Ballot counting continues in the county and across the state, with no changes from the preliminary results reported the night of the June 7 Primary Election.

Final turnout from all county precincts was expected to approach 36% of the estimated 360,000 total votes cast, according to the latest numbers posted on county and state election websites on the evening of June 14.

Total ballots counted at the Registrar of Voters Elections Office in San Jose by 5pm Tuesday, one week after the primary, reached an estimated 96%—348,891—of total votes cast. The Secretary of State estimated another 10,400 ballots remaining to be processed the rest of the week. The painstaking vote-counting process in San Jose had produced a steady uptick in numbers, doubling the 48% on Primary Election night to Tuesday’s totals.

The spring primary turnout was low for a gubernatorial primary year, but not the lowest: The lowest gubernatorial primary turnouts were 32.4% in 1994, 32.8% in 2014 and 34.1% in 2002.

In Gilroy, turnout was lowest in the precinct that covers downtown neighborhoods east of Monterey Street, with only 15.60% of the 1,974 registered voters turning in their ballots, county elections office data shows. Precincts in west Gilroy, including Glen Loma Ranch and Eagle Ridge, had the highest turnout within city limits, at nearly 37%.

Most precincts in Gilroy came in at under 30%, while a handful, primarily in the western areas of the city, hovered around the county average.

Neighborhoods in south Morgan Hill and along Monterey Road in San Martin lagged behind, with only 19.27% of the 628 registered voters casting a ballot, according to the county elections office. The strongest turnout in Morgan Hill was found in its western precinct around West Edmundson Avenue, where 45.49% of the 1,163 registered voters had their say.

In the race for Supervisor District 1, which represents South County, San Jose City Councilmember Sylvia Arenas extended her lead over former San Jose councilmember Johnny Khamis, leading him by nearly 1,400 votes with 28.61% of the five-person race.

The two are heading to the November runoff, as Santa Clara County Board of Education Trustee Claudia Rossi, who leaped over Morgan Hill Mayor Rich Constantine for third, remains nearly 5,000 votes behind second place.

District Attorney Jeff Rosen and Assessor Larry Stone will be declared the winners of their races, based on the preliminary primary results.

In the sheriff’s race, Palo Alto Police Chief Bob Jonsen garnered 32%, and retired sheriff’s captain Kevin Jensen had 30.5%, separated by about 4,500 votes.

Measure A, which limits Valley Water board members to no more than four consecutive four-year terms, appears headed to a narrow victory, with 50.55% in support.

The measure would extend the district’s current practice of three consecutive four-year terms for its board members.

Unofficial results will continue to be reported on the county and state election offices websites daily, and results are required to be reported to the state by July 15, when final results will be certified.

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