Projection 2020: uncertain

With many ballots yet to be counted, it could be days until complete election results—locally and nationally—are known

Election officials gather last-minute ballots from drop-box at Butte County Library in Chico on Nov. 3. (Photo by Ken Smith)
Election 2020

Voters hoping for definitive results the day after the election will have to be patient. Due to the preponderance of mail-in ballots and the high voter turnout for the 2020 General Election (projected to be more than 66 percent of voting-eligible population nationally—the highest in more than a century), many national and local contests are too close to call.

In the U.S. presidential race, most major media outlets have Democratic challenger Joe Biden leading President Donald Trump by a tally of 253 to 214 electoral votes. The Associated Press is including Arizona (with 11 electoral votes) in its projection, which brings Biden’s number to 264. It takes 270 electoral votes to win the presidency, and if Arizona goes to Biden along with the other state he leads—Nevada (6 electoral votes)—the former vice president’s number would be exactly 270.

Three of the other four too-early to call states—North Carolina, Georgia and Pennsylvania—are leaning toward Trump. However, there are many mail-in ballots (which have thusfar favored Biden) still to count, especially in Pennsylvania, where more than one million votes remain uncounted and where the GOP has filed a lawsuit challenging the legitimacy of some of the state’s provisional ballots. Additionally, the Trump campaign has announced it filed a lawsuit to halt the counting of ballots in Michigan and that it will be seeking a recount in Wisconsin, a state currently projected for Biden. So, even if things tip Biden’s way, it’s likely the president won’t concede right away.

Locally, things are also uncertain at this juncture. In the Chico City Council race, preliminary unofficial numbers show a conservative sweep of the four open district seats—with Sean Morgan beating Curtis Pahlka in district 1, Kami Denlay defeating Steven Breedlove and incumbent Ann Schwab in district 3, Andrew Coolidge defeating Lauren Kohler and incumbent Randall Stone in district 5, and Deepika Tandon receiving 48 votes more than Rich Ober in district 7.

But there are still thousands of local votes to be tallied. As of this morning (Nov. 4), 89,120 ballots had been reported for Butte County. Officials in the clerk/recorder office told the CN&R that all live ballots—from voting assistance centers and official drop boxes—have been recorded, but that there are still “approximately 2,000 conditional and/or provisional ballots” and 6,000 unprocessed vote-by-mail ballots to be counted. In addition, mail-in ballots postmarked Nov. 3 or before will be accepted for up to 17 days after the election.

Morgan and Denlay’s leads are probably safe, but the district 5 and 7 races are tight enough to be swayed either way in the coming weeks.

In other notable local contests, Caitlin M. Dalby and Matt Tennis have comfortable leads in the race for the two open seats on the Chico Unified School Board, with 19,872 and 18,322 votes, respectively. The next closed candidate, Carrie Krueger has 12,157 votes. There were only three measures on the ballot in Butte County: Measure D, which would provide a special tax for the El Medio Fire Protection District is passing by a mere 23 votes at this time; Measure E, the charter amendment allowing for Chico city council members to be elected by district has 19,410 yes votes versus 18,264 no votes; and Measure G, which would change the minimum age of eligible Chico city council candidates from 21 to 18, is failing badly with only 37 percent voting in favor.

The race for U.S. Assembly District 1 is so far favoring Republican incumbent Doug LaMalfa, who has received 55 percent of the vote and enjoys 149,101 to 119,423 lead over challenger Audrey Denney with 74 percent of votes counted.

All of the state propositions appear to be decided at this point. Results for some of the more high-profile contests include no on Prop. 15 (update to tax law for commercial properties); no on Prop. 16 (affirmative action); no on Prop. 21 (rent control); yes on Prop. 22 (app-based drivers benefits); no on Prop. 23 (new requirements for dialysis clinics).

For complete state results visit CalMatters live update page.

Current unofficial Butte County results (as of Nov. 4, 3 p.m.):

Chico City Council:
District 1:
Sean Morgan: 4,109 votes (60.87%)
Curtis Pahlka: 2,641 votes (39.13%)
District 3:
Kami Denlay: 3,655 votes (49.01%)
Ann Schwab: 2,640 votes (32.99%)
Steven Breedlove: 1,342 (18%)
District 5:
Andrew Coolidge: 1,753 (47.62%)
Lauren Kohler : 1,478 votes (40.15%)
Randall Stone: 450 votes (12.22%)
District 7:
Deepika Tandon: 2,445 votes (50.5%)
Rich Ober: 2,397 votes (49.5%)

Oroville City Council:
Top three:
Scott Thomson: 2,506 votes (18.61%)
Krysi Riggs: 2,272 votes (16.87%)
Bryan Flicker: 2,232 votes (16.58%)
Janet Goodson: 2,204 votes (16.37%)
Lisa Torres: 1,831 votes (13.6%)
Jack R. Berry: 1,253 votes (9.31%)
Bobby O’Reiley: 1,166 votes (8.66%)

Paradise Town Council:
Top three:
Greg Bolin: 1,375 votes (14.75%)
Rose Tryon: 1,282 votes (13.75%)
Steve “Woody” Culleton: 1,134 votes (12.16%)
Lucas Bellefeuille: 905 votes (9.71%)
Melissa Schuster: 837 votes (8.98%)
Julian J. Martinez: 635 votes (6.81%)
Mike “Zucc” Zuccolillo: 573 votes (6.15%)
John Gillander: 504 votes (5.41%)
Sam J. Gronseth: 472 votes (5.06%)
Steve Oehler: 442 votes (4.74%)
Gregg Mowers: 433 votes (4.64%)
Warren Bullock: 398 votes (4.27%)
Rachelle McCann: 334 votes (3.58%)

Biggs City Council:
Top two:
John Busch: 372 votes (41.29%)
Jerome Squires: 329 votes (36.51%)
Stephen M. Sherlock: 200 votes (22.2%)

Gridley City Council:
Top three:
Michael W. Farr: 990 votes (18.7%
Catalina Sanchez: 9800 votes (17%)
J. Angel Calderon: 879 votes (16.6%)
Raymond Borges: 771 votes (14.56%)
Jessica Ramos-McElroy: 766 votes (14.47%)
Chris Williams: 741 votes (14%)
Quintin Crye: 247 votes (4.67%)

CUSD School Board
Top two:
Caitlin M Dalby: 19,872 votes (25.30%)
Matt Tennis: 18,322 votes (23.32%)
Carrie Krueger: 12,157 votes (15.47%)
Elizabeth “Liz” Griffin: 11,885 votes (15.13%)
Linda Hovey: 9,276 votes (11.81%)
Michael B Johnson: 7,048 votes (8.97%)

Local measures:
Measure D (El Medio Fire Protection District – Special Tax):
Yes: 714 votes (50.82%)
No: 691 votes (49.18%)

Measure E (charter amendment – district elections):
Yes: 19,410 votes (51.52%)
No: 18,264 votes (48.48%)

Measure G (City of Chico charter amendment – candidate eligibility):
No: 24,837 votes (62.99%)
Yes: 14,596 votes (37.01%)

More local results here.

Source: Butte County Clerk/Recorder.

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