Analysis: 18,000-plus Ballots to Be Counted, but Most Things Unlikely to Change

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

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. Todd Edelman

    Clearly the vote-by-mail-by-mail’s favor Carson. So it also seems like the differential between him and Deos will narrow.

    I was the Inspector for precinct 21, for which the polling place was the library – by the way my crew of Judges was fantastic! – and the vote-by-mail-not-by-mail turnout very, very clearly leaned sexy, young and anti-fascist and who tended to know where the library was.

    In the meantime the tree in our front yard is perpetually thirsty and growing quickly, and we should consider if the Reisig Precincts in South Davis are more the result of something in the water or – rather –  the lack of a library.

    My tree is not yet robust enough for me to hung from it.

    The Left newspapers might whine a bit But the guys at the station they don’t give a sh*t Dispatch calls, “Are you doin’ something wicked?” “No siree Jack, we’re just givin’ tickets

    But – indeed – since I am a proud Ashkefornian (Calikenazi) – here is something more positive.

    1. David Greenwald

      “Clearly the vote-by-mail-by-mail’s favor Carson. So it also seems like the differential between him and Deos will narrow.”

      Not necessarily.  Most research shows that VBMs before Election Day are different from those delivered on Election Day which tend to mirror ED trends.

      1. Todd Edelman



        I’m no expert but there’s a good argument that voting is at the very least non-fascist/fascist-neutral — so I only noticed who leaned anti-fascist based on my combined genetic and personal experience of observing human behavior for millions of years.

    2. Alan Miller

      > I was the Inspector for precinct 21, for which the polling place was the library

      I wondered why there was a “Vote for a roof over I-80!” poster at the Library.

      > My tree is not yet robust enough for me to hung from it.

      I keep going back and force on whether that’s a suicide reference or a lynching reference, but am solid on wondering why either is referenced.

        1. David Greenwald

          That’s not exactly what he said.  He said, “the vote-by-mail-not-by-mail turnout very, very clearly leaned sexy, young and anti-fascist and who tended to know where the library was.”

          Given the clear meaning of anti-fascist in contemporary politics, your comment was inappropriate.

        2. Alan Miller

          > “the vote-by-mail-not-by-mail turnout”

          He doesn’t specify which side he is describing below, listing both, not one over the other.

          > very, very clearly leaned sexy, young and anti-fascist

          So we have poll workers profiling the poll attendees in a public forum by their sexiness, age and place on the fascism scale.  Odd.

          I am, however, assuming that he was talking about the people showing up at the polling place, lest if he was describing those that didn’t, then those that did would be “un-sexy, old and fascist”.  And therefore, is that what he is implying the mail-in people are?  Odd.

          > Given the clear meaning of anti-fascist in contemporary politics, your comment was inappropriate.

          I’m stumped by that comment . . .

          . . . actually I’m stumped by this thread.


        3. Todd Edelman

          I did not suggest – and hopefully did not imply, intimate or telegraph – that anyone at the poll was fascist, including all there who voted to re-elect the current DA.

        1. Todd Edelman

          Thank you, Jim.


          toll booth

          I am happy to confirm that at the Yolo 80 (I-80 widening/managed lane/new bike bridge project) workshop yesterday, a senior Caltrans planner/engineer told me that there are no technical* barriers towards internalization of the costs of driving via a toll on every single lane without a structure (toll plaza, etc.).

          * only political

  2. Matt Williams

    The following historical information may help to put the 18,000 votes still to be counted into perspective.  With the exception of the June 2016, June 2004 and June 2000 Presidential Primary years, the total City of Davis vote has consistently hovered between 14,000 and 15,000.  We are currently at a bit less than 11,000. So, if history repeats itself we can expect that approximately 4,000 of the 18,000 are from Davis.  A substantial portion of the 18,000 is likely to be from the many rural Yolo County precincts that are “mail only”

    Council             6/5/18 10,986            27.2% of          40,418 (as of a February 2018 voter file pull)
    Council             6/7/16 23,909            66.1% of          36,196
    Council             6/3/14 14,614            39.1% of          37,329
    Council             6/5/12 14,928            44.8% of          33,355
    Council             6/8/10 14,651            37.9% of          38,660
    Council             6/3/08 14,153            40.7% of          34,815
    Council             6/6/06 15,902            47.3% of          33,641
    Council             3/2/04 19,347            61.7% of          31,375
    Council             3/5/02 15,736            52.1% of          30,206
    Council             3/7/00 20,948            69.6% of          30,103


    1. David Greenwald

      I think 4000 is going to be a low number based on the reports from the precincts.  42 percent of the vote was from Davis, that would put the number closer to 7500.   Given the late turn in by students, and other factors, I would expect more voters in Davis as opposed to the rest of the county, but I guess we’ll see.

  3. Sharla C.

    Bummer of a headline, David.  I’d like to think that the absentee ballot that I handed into the precinct at the Memorial Union might matter.  At least let me hold on to that illusion for a few days.

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