Amid low voter turnout, Fresno candidates await updated returns. What’s left to count?

Fresno County election officials wrapped up their Election Night counting shortly before 1 a.m. Wednesday, reporting results of ballots cast by about 16% of the county’s registered voters.

But there’s an estimated 38,000 more ballots – vote-by-mail ballots and provisional ballots were received Tuesday by the county Elections Division – that have yet to be processed and counted. If all of those votes are validated, it would boost voter turnout to 23.7% – and have the potential to affect the outcome of some close contests by the time they are counted in the coming days and weeks.

Fresno County has more than 507,000 registered voters who were eligible to vote in Tuesday’s primary.

The number of outstanding ballots doesn’t include an unknown number of mail-in ballots postmarked by Tuesday but still in the hands of the U.S. Postal Service to be received by March 12.

Where in Fresno or Fresno County those outstanding ballots are coming from is undetermined, but potentially could tip the balance on a handful of close races for where the margin of victory or defeat is smaller than the number of votes to be counted. Historically, however, trends in the early mail-in ballots and in-person voting on Election Day tend to hold up through the late vote-by-mail ballots with only modest changes in results.

Results through Wednesday morning

Returns as of early Wednesday showed that in the election for Fresno mayor, incumbent Jerry Dyer was easily winning his re-election bid against a pair of challengers on the ballot as well as a write-in candidate.

Incumbent Fresno City Councilmember Mike Karbassi held a healthy lead over challenger Matthew Gillian for a four-year term representing northwest Fresno’s District 2 on the City Council, while Tyler Maxwell was unopposed in his re-election bid in District 4 covering east-central Fresno.

The District 6 contest to represent northeast Fresno on the City Council is headed for a November runoff between the top two vote-getters. Attorney Roger Bonakdar held a sizable lead as of Wednesday morning, with 35.9% of the votes.Fundraising consultant Nick Richardson held the second spot with 28.0%, with businesswoman Molly Fagundes-Johnston and bank executive Raj Sodhi-Layne rounding out the field with 23.1% and 13.0%, respectively.

FRESNO COUNTY RACESTwo of the three races for seats on the Fresno County Board of Supervisors are destined for a runoff election in November between the top two vote-getters, as no candidate received an outright majority of votes in District 2 and District 3.

In District 2 encompassing much of north Fresno, current Fresno City Councilmember Garry Bredefeld and incumbent Supervisor Steve Brandau were the leading candidates. As of Wednesday morning, Bredefeld had received 39l8% of votes tallied so far, compared to Brandau’s 27.4%. Rounding out the five-person field were county Assessor-Recorder Paul Dictos with 16.5%, businessman Bryce Herrera at 9.0%, and social worker Dion Bourdase at 7.4%.

The District 3 race to represent south Fresno on the county board shows incumbent Supervisor Sal Quintero and Fresno City Councilmember Luis Chavez as the top two vote-getters. Quintero held 41.1% of the votes as of Wednesday morning, while Chavez received 25.4% Trailing them were Fresno City Councilmember Miguel Arias at 17.6% and teacher E.J. Hinojosa at 15.8%.

Incumbent District 5 Supervisor Nathan Magsig appeared destined for victory in his re-election bid to represent eastern Fresno County on the board. Magsig had 70.8% of votes as of Wednesday morning, ahead of challenger Jennifer Cruz, a nonprofit manager who collected 29.2%.

FRESNO COUNTY BALLOT MEASURES – Two major Fresno County ballot measures were heading for defeat in results through Wednesday morning. Only Measure A, a proposal to keep elections for the county sheriff and district attorney in non-presidential election years, was passing with 56.0% of voters saying yes compared to 44% voting no.

Measure B, a proposal by the county Board of Supervisors to sidestep state and federal efforts to rename the foothill town of Squaw Valley to Yokuts Valley by reserving for the board the authority to rename places within the county, was being soundly rejected by voters, with 63.7% voting no compared to 36.3% voting yes.

And Measure E, a second attempt by backers of California State University, Fresno, to enact a sales tax to support facilities improvements at the university, was also losing. By Wednesday morning, fewer than 44% of voters said yes to the measure, compared to 56.1% voting no.

The county expects to provide its next update of results by 5 p.m. Thursday.

In comparison to the turnout for Tuesday’s primary election, turnout for other major elections over the past 10 years has been:

  • 44.2% in the November 2022 non-presidential general election.

  • 27.3% in the June 2022 non-presidential primary election.

  • 51.7% in the September 2021 recall election against Gov. Gavin Newsom.

  • 74.7% in the November 2020 presidential general election.

  • 19.6% in the March 2020 presidential primary election.

  • 56.4% in the November 2018 non-presidential general election.

  • 31.1% in the June 2018 non-presidential general election.

  • 66.7% in the November 2016 presidential general election.

  • 40.8% in the June 2016 presidential primary election.

  • 39.2% in the November 2014 non-presidential general election.

  • 26.2% in the June 2014 non-presidential primary election.