The number sounds impressive – more than 18,000 ballots remain to be counted – but the Vanguard’s analysis is that it is unlikely to change any outcomes.
According to the Yolo County Election’s office, there are 2181 provisional ballots, 113 conditional voter registrations, and then 16,546 vote by mails that were either received through the mail on election day or dropped at the ballot box or at polling places on election day. That number could still rise as any received by mail through Friday are to be counted.
However, even with that number which seems larger than usual there is not much that is likely to change.
In the DA’s race, the margin declined to 2037 between incumbent Jeff Reisig and challenger Dean Johansson. However, our analysis suggests it would be a longshot – although not impossible – for Mr. Johansson to catch and surpass the incumbent.
One unknown is that the breakdown of the ballots is not known. Thus we don’t know how many are from Davis and we don’t know, for example, how many of them are students. Those are the two factors that would be most likely to change the outcome.
For the sake of simplicity, let us suppose that there are about 10,000 ballots from Davis and 8,000 from the rest of the county. That’s likely high given that about 42 percent of the overall ballots were from Davis up through election day – but given the lengthy ballot in Davis, anecdotal reports on large numbers of ballots received at polling places, and the student presence, we will tweak the numbers slightly.
But even with that more favorable mix, a change is not likely.
Analyzing the data, we found that Dean Johansson received 56 percent of the vote in Davis but only 40 percent of the vote in the rest of the county. He actually did better in Davis than either Bob Black (1984) or Pat Lenzi (2006). However, we calculated that to win, with 40 percent outside of Davis, he needed 65 percent in Davis – he never got there.
Even if you take out the four precincts in South Davis that went for Jeff Reisig, Mr. Johansson only got just under 60 percent of the vote. Given that breakdown, a 10,000-8,000 split (we’re rounding off assuming that not all provisionals will be counted), Mr. Johansson would actually end up losing by about 2400 votes districtwide (he might, however, gain a point and lose by only 53-47 because he’d win 49 percent of the ballot compared to 46 on election day).
In order to have a shot at winning, Mr. Johansson would have to win about 70 percent in Davis and hold at 40 percent districtwide outside of Davis. That’s not impossible, but he would be significantly outperforming how well he did in Davis. Unless the universe of ballots is markedly different, that just seems unlikely. Even if Davis had a more severe split like 12,000 to 6000 of the remaining ballots, at 56 percent in Davis, Dean Johansson just has no way to catch Jeff Reisig (in fact, when we ran the numbers for Davis, having all of the remaining ballots, only then did he barely win, receiving 56 percent of the vote).
Our analysis, therefore, suggests Jeff Reisig is most likely to be reelected. It’s not impossible for Mr. Johansson to win, but it is highly unlikely.
In the Measure J race, it is even less likely. If we assume 10,000 ballots left in Davis – which again is likely a high number, No on Measure J would have to win 61 percent of the 10,000 ballots to eek out a 36-vote margin. Given the magnitude of support, that’s just not going to happen.
The one race that could be interesting is the council race. It seems unlikely that the outcome could change in terms of who wins a seat on council. Assuming 10,000 votes and each one votes for two candidates (again both high numbers), Linda Deos realistically would have to win about 25 percent of the remaining vote to catch Dan Carson. Given that she won 14 percent on election day, that doesn’t seem likely.
On the other hand, Dan Carson and Gloria Partida are close enough that a slight shift could change who finishes first. For example, Gloria Partida received 21.5 percent on election day and Dan Carson received 20.2 percent. If Dan Carson got 22 percent of the remaining vote and Gloria Partida won 20 percent, that would be enough to give Dan Carson a very narrow first place finish. That’s a plausible shift.
However, Dan Carson was ahead by about 300 votes in the initial round of ballot counting and Gloria Partida ended up with 241 more votes than him, which means she won the votes on election day by about 530 (that’s an estimate). Given that trend, we think it’s more likely that she expands her lead, rather than Dan Carson regaining the lead.
Indeed, that is what happened in 2016 with Measure A. Measure A was narrowly passing in the initial release, but by the end of the night the No side passed the Yes side. The final count had that margin increase, which is our expectation here as well.
So to summarize, while 18,000 sounds like a huge margin, our analysis suggests that in the council, the DA’s race, and Measure J the outcome is unlikely to change.
—David M. Greenwald reporting