ELECTION 2014: Gilmore edges closer in mayor's race

ELECTION 2014: Gilmore edges closer in mayor's race

Michele Ellson
Alameda mayoral candidates

Mayor Marie Gilmore edged closer to challenger Trish Spencer in the mayor’s race Friday, and fewer than 100 votes now separate the two candidates.

With an additional 5,015 Alameda votes counted, Spencer still leaders the race with 9,681 votes to Gilmore’s 9,590 votes.

Meanwhile, Alameda Health Care District Board candidate Jim Meyers extended his lead in the race for a third open seat on the board from 25 votes to 177 votes. He’s leading incumbent Lynn Bratchett with 7,032 votes compared to Bratchett’s 6,855.

Counting is expected to continue over the weekend, though it’s unclear how many more Alameda ballots are left to be tallied.

The release of Friday’s updated results came toward the end of a day that saw both mayoral candidates and their supporters facing an anxious wait for results at the Alameda County Registrar of Voters’ basement office in downtown Oakland. The candidates have been on hand to observe the tallying over the past two days.

“We’re trying to get a sense of how quickly Alameda ballots could be counted,” Gilmore said as she and Kathie Woulfe, who helped manage Gilmore’s campaign, waited in the hall.

The registrar’s office tallied 35,493 ballots on Friday. But it still had nearly 40,000 vote by mail ballots and 24,000 provisional ballots left to count after today’s result were released.

Registrar Tim Dupuis said Friday he couldn’t say how many of those ballots were cast by Alameda voters. His office counted more than 25,000 ballots on Thursday, 991 of them from Alameda.

The Alamedan hasn’t yet called the mayor’s race or the race for a final seat on the Alameda Health Care District Board based on the slim margin between the candidates and the anticipated number of ballots to be counted. Recent races where the results changed after late ballots were counted also played a role in the decision.

The Measure H parcel tax was failing by 115 votes at the end of the June 3, 2008 election. But late ballots put the measure over the top of what was needed to pass, by 105 votes.

At the end of the November 2, 2010 election, Beverly Johnson was leading Lena Tam in the race for a four-year council term by fewer than 200 votes. But when all the ballots were counted, Tam secured the four-year term by 66 votes, while Johnson earned the remaining two years of freshly minted Assemblyman Rob Bonta’s term.

A Measure H opponent had contemplated filing a recount after the close parcel tax race, but later decided not to. Gilmore said she’s not yet ready to say whether she will request a recount if she loses the mayor’s race.

Spencer couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.

Candidates will have five days to request a recount after the results are certified. A machine recount costs $200 per hour, while a manual recount of all the ballots cast in the race would cost $5,000 for the first day’s count and between $1,541 per day and $5,346 per day depending on the number of recount boards brought in to do the counting. That amount doesn’t include legal and security costs.

State law doesn’t provide for an automatic recount if the race is close, though any voter can request a recount if they are willing to pay for it.

The Alamedan will continue to update readers on the results in the mayor’s race as they come in.

More to come.


Marie Gilmore (i): 9,590/49.62%
Trish Spencer: 9,681/50.09


Lynn Bratchett (i): 6,855/21.61
Jim Meyers: 7,032/22.17


Jon Spangler's picture
Submitted by Jon Spangler on Fri, Nov 7, 2014

I'd love to have Mike McMahon's math aptitude right now, but I don't, so here is what I've come up with:

If my calculations are correct, based on the gap narrowing from 287 Wednesday morning to 91 after 5015 "post-election day" ballots have been counted, Gilmore has gained 196 votes over those 5015 ballots. At that rate, about 2250 additional uncounted and valid Alameda ballots need to be left for Marie Gilmore to keep the mayor's seat at the current gap closure rate.

With about 64,000 ballots remaining to be tallied countywide, if roughly 3.9% of those are Alameda ballots (based on the ratio of 991/25,000), that just might happen...IF my math is correct. (Don't take that to the bank, though...)

Is anyone else out there abetter than I am at this?

Submitted by luczai (not verified) on Fri, Nov 7, 2014

I don't think you can figure it that way. It all depends on what's on the uncounted ballots. They are actual votes cast, not random numbers. Guess all you like but I don't think there is any way to figure it out ahead of time mathematically.

Submitted by Rion Cassidy (not verified) on Sat, Nov 8, 2014

Jon Spangler: I don't see how math can help in a situation like this. It's just guessing. It's a guess as to how many ballots from Alameda are left to be counted. It's a guess as to what percentage Gilmore might get. These are independent votes and while maybe you can spot a trend, trends are almost always broken.

On Election night I was talking to someone who said "it's statistically impossible for Gilmore to win now..." I try not to say things like that in these situations.