One race switched winners while others widened leads according to a final official count of Madera County’s midterm votes.
Lucy Salazar will be the Madera Unified School District trustee for Area 5, with 945 of 1,820 votes (51.92 percent). Preliminary results had rival Steve T. Duncan ahead by 14 votes.
The results may initially have been skewed by 183 votes invalidly cast by voters outside of Area 5 and tallied before the error was discovered. According to the county’s Elections Division, ProVote Solutions of Porterville had accidentally sent about 400 ballots featuring the race to voters who had no right to vote on it.
A voter alerted election officials to the error on the Friday after election day. Affected candidates were notified by the county after the mistake had been confirmed.
The triumph of Bond Measure M swelled in the official results as support nearly doubled while naysayers rose by less than half compared to the preliminary count. In all, 63.5 percent of voters (10,050 of 15,828) decided to allow MUSD to issue up to $120 million in bonds for general school upgrades. Support was strongest within city limits as well as by La Vina and Madera Acres. However Madera County voters were evenly divided northwest of Fresno, and most rural voting areas rejected the bond.
The upset victory by newcomers Steve Montes and Santos Garcia, now city councilmen-elect for districts 3 and 5, persisted as their leads over their incumbent rivals Will Oliver and Charles Rigby nearly doubled. In general, similar shifts between the preliminary and official midterm results could be noted for most winning candidates.
Showing a dislike for Democratic party candidates, Madera County voted contrary to the state’s majority on the statewide offices of governor, controller, treasurer, attorney general, and insurance commissioner.
The county also strongly disagreed with many California voters on whether to issue bonds for veteran and affordable housing, to take local mental health funds to pay for housing, increase Daylight Savings Time, and rewrite livestock confinement standards. Propositions 1, 2, 7 and 12 passed anyway. Meanwhile a fuel tax repeal (proposition 6) failed despite strong local support.
Perhaps surprisingly, a majority of Madera County voters said no to a bond that would have poured much of $8.9 billion into San Joaquin Valley water and environmental projects, such as irrigation canal and dam maintenance. A narrow majority elsewhere agreed, sending Proposition 3 to an unusual defeat. Previously, nine out of 10 water bond measures from 1990 onward had passed in the state, according to the Sacramento Bee.