What Happened to Charlie Hall for Granada Sanitary District?


Posted by on Sat, November 7, 2009

Updated election results were posted Thursday evening, November 5, on the official San Mateo County Elections web site, ShapeTheFuture. http://racetracker.shapethefuture.org/election_results.aspx?contest_id=248

Based on results for Granada Sanitary District (GSD) reported thus far, it appears write-in candidate Charlie Hall will most likely end up with between 339 and 377 votes, placing sixth after the five official candidates.

Results for GSD are based on 1,126 ballots counted (out of 4,089 eligible voters), which represents about a 28% turnout - very low in comparison to most elections. Approximately 60% of total ballots throughout San Mateo County were Vote by Mail ballots, either returned by mail prior to Election Day or turned in at polling places. This percentage is similar to results for Half Moon Bay and Midcoast precincts, including those voting on the GSD race.

It is clear that there were two slates of candidates for GSD in this election, Gael Erickson, Ric Lohman, and Leonard Woren as the incumbents, and Bill Griffis and Lisa McCaffrey as official candidates, plus Charlie Hall as a write-in, as the challengers. The Half Moon Bay Review, on October 21, endorsed a cross-slate mix of Erickson, Lohman, and Hall. By the time of the Review’s endorsement, Vote by Mail ballots had been available more than two weeks, so early voters would not have been influenced by the Review’s endorsement.

On Election Day, about 59% of the ballots supported the GSD incumbents; Vote by Mail ballots appear to be only slightly lower in supporting the incumbents. Apparently some voters followed the Review’s endorsement, and wrote in Charlie Hall in place of voting for Leonard Woren, while still supporting Gael Erickson and Ric Lohman. It seems likely that some voters selected Ric Lohman as the best known of the candidates, but also voted for the two challengers on the ballot. Other mixes are possible but probably fairly rare.

After considering all the factors, my prediction is that Charlie Hall will end up with about 358 write-in votes, plus or minus 5%. That would be in the range from 339 to 377 votes. This is not enough to put him ahead of even the weakest candidate on the ballot, Bill Griffis, who currently has 392 votes. It is mathematically possible for Charlie Hall to do better, but extremely unlikely that he will finish in the top three.

This is just an educated guess, of course. It will be interesting to see the final results. Anyone else want to hazard their best guess?

Comment 1
Sun, November 8, 2009 6:54am
All my comments

No guess from me. But I’m moved to wonder, not for the first time, why voting has to start a month before election day and, on a related note, what the return rate of ballots is over that month. We know that the percentage of voters voting by mail has risen to (IIRC) around half in some elections. And it’s also clear that campaign schedules, including media endorsements and candidate forums, continue to behave as though there were only one voting day.

Not just for the convenience of candidates, but in the interest of an informed electorate, can’t we shorten the voting period to, say, one full week? Ten days? Ballots could be mailed so as to arrive at the beginning of the voting period, and there’d be plenty of time to mail them back. If necessary, we could still allow 30-day-early voting by special request (say for someone who would be out of the state or country near the election), but the default would be a considerably shorter period.