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Weir reports dismal voter turn-out

Contra Costa County Registrar of Voters Steve Weir is reporting a 26 percent voter turnout Tuesday with 636 of 772 precincts reporting. And if the trend continues, it will rising to a whopping 28 percent before the count is finished.

When all the mail-in ballots are counted, Weir says seven out of every 10 voters will have voted by mail rather than the polls, the highest percentage in county history.

“But I am hearing tentative numbers for other major counties looking much worse,” Weir said.

Statewide, with 70 percent of precincts reporting, turnout was 19 percent.

The skimpy ballot coupled with the lack of a presidential race or major statewide issues apparently left voters disinterested and disinclined to bother.

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Huge vote gap between two Contra Costa districts

Voters in Contra Costa County supervisor District 5 — from Bay Point to Bethel Island — didn’t seem inclined to vote by mail in this election.

Neighboring District 3 incumbent Mary Nejedly Piepho from Discovery Bay alone had received more mail-in votes than all five of the District 5 candidates combined. With only mail-in votes reported, Piepho posted 13,030 votes while challenger Guy Houston of San Ramon received 9,790 votes. Combined with write-in votes, 23,209 people mailed in their ballots.

But in District 5, just 11,586 people had voted by mail for the five people on the ballot. Incumbent Supervisor Federal Glover saw 3,887 votes while Erik Nunn was in second place with 3,558 votes.

We’ll see if the total numbers reach parity by the end of the evening but it’s a large chasm.

What happened?

For one, portions of District 3 (the San Ramon Valley and far East Contra Costa County) overlap with the four-way contested Assembly District 15 Republican primary. Also, outside groups spent tens of thousands of dollars on mailers. Houston was a big target of independent expenditures. That probably drove up turn-out.

These were the mail-in ballots counted roughly as of late last week. The election office won’t count the mail-in ballots that arrived on or near Election Day until after it finishes the count of votes filed today.

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Rao and Wilson still virtually tied

The results of the Assembly District 15 Republican primary remains in a dead heat between Livermore retired businessman Robert Rao and San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson with each man claiming slightly more than 30 percent of the vote with 144 of 522 precincts reporting.

It’s a surprising twist. Many people thought Wilson would flop at the polls. He entered late, campaigned relatively little and raised the least amount of money.

Judy Biviano Lloyd, who put out several hard-hitting mail pieces in the final weeks slamming Rao and Livermore optometrist Scott Kamena, was coming in third with 22 percent.

Kamena trailed badly with 17 percent despite running the longest campaign of the four candidates.

Tonight’s winner will move on to compete in the November general election against Joan Buchanan, a San Ramon Valley School Board trustee who was handily beating Walnut Creek economic Ted Ford.

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Early returns put Wilson and Rao neck-and-neck

A manual tally of mail-in results from Alameda and Contra Costa counties plus a few votes posted from Sacramento and San Joaquin counties puts San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson and Robert Rao nearly tied with roughly 30 percent each of the 18,549 votes cast.

Rao of Livermore had 5,644 votes compared to 5,693 for Wilson.

Judy Biviano Lloyd of Danville is in second place with 22. percent of 4,104 votes followed by Scott Kamena of Livermore with 17 percent or 3,108 votes.

This surprised me. I expected the early results race to be between Rao and Kamena. Each man put out quite a bit of early mail. Rao spent a lot of his own money. And Wilson’s campaign fell far short of what most expected.

We’ll see how the results track through the evening.

Headline corrected on 6/4/08. I mistakenly listed Lloyd rather than Wilson as being tied for the lead. Lisa v.