Measure C Signs

Competing Measure C signs at Third Street and Silverado Trail.

Even the controversial Measure C watershed and oak protection measure wasn’t as of Monday giving the Napa County election turnout a big boost – but that could still change before Tuesday’s Election Day deadline.

Despite this and other local ballot issues, Registrar of Voters John Tuteur on Monday morning said his office had 12,000 mail-in ballots to count out of a potential 76,000. How many more might still come remained the big unknown.

“I can’t say it’s a terrible turnout yet,” Tuteur said. “But it’s not a big turnout … we are going to have a big slug of ballots coming through today.”

Gubernatorial primary races typically have low turnouts. The statewide turnout in June 2014 was about 25 percent and the Napa County turnout was slightly less than 40 percent.

By comparison, the Napa County turnout for the 2016 presidential election topped 80 percent.

“Our expectation is we’ll be better than June 2014,” Tuteur said. “We would like to break 40 percent and get closer to 50 percent. The odds of us breaking 50 percent are very small.”

Voters have until 8 p.m. Tuesday to turn in their ballots. They can use drop-off boxes, voter centers and, even at this late date, the mail.

“As long as it’s postmarked on Election Day and arrives in our office by Friday, June 8, it will be counted,” Tuteur said.

The one thing voters can’t use is the old-fashioned polling place. Napa County has been phasing those out for years. With this election, none remain.

The election has gone well so far, Tuteur said Monday morning. One problem is complaints from people who have had trouble finding the drop-off box at Lincoln and Soscol avenues. Cars park in front of it, blocking it from view.

For the November election, the idea is to put three no-parking spaces in front of the drop-off ballot box, Tuteur said.

People on Tuesday at 8:01 p.m. can go to the county Election Division website at https://bit.ly/2JbijBV to see the first batch of election results, with perhaps half or more of the votes tallied. Another count is to come out at 10 p.m., though Tuteur said the additional votes would be small.

Still more tallies are to be released by the county Election Division on Thursday afternoon and on Friday. Tuteur said the outcome of a particularly close race might not be known until the election is certified, which he expects to happen the last week of June in advance of the July 5 deadline.

This election has locally the hard-fought Measure C race that has seen proponents and opponent flood residents with mailers. It has the Measure D attempt to ban new personal-use heliports. Voters in the Upvalley and east county will choose between incumbent Diane Dillon and challenger Cio Perez for 3rd District supervisor.

Plus, Napa County voters have a say in the Bay Area-wide vote over phasing in higher tolls for the region’s state-owned bridges, among them the Carquinez and Benicia-Martinez bridges.

The governor’s race consist of Democrats Gavin Newsom, John Chiang, Delaine Eastin and Antonio Villaraigosa; Republicans Travis Allen and John Cox and 21 other candidates, some of whom are virtual unknowns. One candidate, self-described “average blue collar worker” Johnny Wattenburg, in his California voter guide statement wrote simply, “Why not!”

The race for U.S. Senator has 32 candidates, including incumbent Dianne Feinstein.

None of this as of Monday morning had inspired a huge Napa County turnout. But Napans still have the power to change that.

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Napa County Reporter

Barry Eberling covers Napa County government, transportation, the environment and general assignments. He has worked for the Napa Valley Register since fall 2014 and previously worked 27 years for the Daily Republic of Fairfield.