Pixel Tracker

Monday, December 17 , 2018, 5:31 am | Light Rain 54º

 
 
 
 

Election Recount Produces Same Result for Candidate Pappas

Officials confirm that Steve Pappas lost to Doreen Farr by about 800 votes in the 3rd District Supervisor race.

A recount triggered by Steve Pappas, an independent candidate in the two-way race for the 3rd District Supervisor seat, delivered nearly the same results Monday as Election Day. By both counts, Pappas lost to Democrat Doreen Farr by about 800 votes.

The County Elections Office began the process late last week and finished Monday, responding to the request for a recount in the Isla Vista and UCSB areas, where some precincts showed voter turnout surpassing 100 percent.

Efforts to reach Pappas were unsuccessful Monday, and election officials were uncertain whether he planned to concede.

“The only thing he’s told us is he plans on ending this tomorrow at noon,” said Joe Holland, the county’s top election official. The recount, he added, will cost the Pappas camp about $10,000.

Given the 3rd District’s pivotal position as the swing seat on a politically polarized five-member board — Republicans in the north, Democrats in the south — the campaign between Pappas and Farr was civil.

But the niceties were cast aside over the weekend — more than a month after Election Day — when Pappas sent an e-mail to his supporters requesting donations to help fund the recount effort.

“Over the last few weeks, we have uncovered some disturbing practices with this election and have retained a legal firm to help us get to the bottom of it all,” he wrote. Pappas added that a “contest to the election” can be filed by Jan. 1, but he didn’t say whether he planned to exercise that option.

Suspicions in the Pappas camp were fueled largely by election results in the Isla Vista and UCSB areas, where several precincts reported turnout numbers beyond 100 percent, with the highest reaching 130 percent.

The initial formal request for a recount came from Santa Ynez Valley Journal owner Nancy Crawford-Hall, Pappas’ biggest financial supporter in the campaign who also wrote several editorials about perceived irregularities in the election. But the recount effort ultimately was approved by Pappas, who, with the help of his attorney, before this week had obtained stacks of campaign documents, such as voter registration cards and absentee ballot envelopes, Holland said.

Holland said they had not told the office why they requested so many documents, “and they have not brought forward any irregularities.”

He added that the process has been costly because of the staff time involved with digging out all of the records. The elections office hired temporary workers to sort through boxes of materials.

The recount was limited to the 17 precincts at UCSB and Isla Vista. All told, the 3rd District includes 92 precincts.

On Monday, Holland said the high percentages were the result of voters — most of them students — showing up on Election Day at polling stations outside of their precincts. In many cases, he said, they did it to avoid long lines at other polling places. Such voters had to cast provisional ballots, meaning their votes were counted later, after election officials verified that they hadn’t voted twice.

As an example, Holland said the precinct with the 130 percent voter turnout is made up of just 342 registered voters. The majority of those people voted, but the precinct also gathered 126 provisional ballots. “If you deduct the provisional ballots, the precinct had a 93 percent turnout,” he said.

Holland said that in some cases, campaign officials saw students who were upset by the long lines and encouraged them to cast provisional ballots at other polling places. The practice, he added, is “totally OK.”

“That’s what provisional voting is for,” he said, although he added: “It causes us a little more work.”

Across the 17 precincts, total voter turnout was 89 percent, which is about 3 percent higher than the turnout totals for the county.

The results of the recount were nearly identical to the results of the general election.

In the 17 precincts, Farr lost two votes, bringing her total to 5,097 from 5,099, and Pappas lost one, bringing his total to 2,841 from 2,842.

Districtwide, the recount narrowed Farr’s margin of victory by one vote, to 805 from 806. She garnered 18,165 votes, or 51 percent, while Pappas collected 17,359 votes, which amounts to a little less than 49 percent, according to the county’s results.

Holland said there’s nothing particularly unusual about a recount.

“We’re happy to do this,” he said. “As election officials, I think this provides even greater transparency to the voters of Santa Barbara County, and they can see the accuracy of the elections process. And I think it helps build confidence in voting for Santa Barbara County.”

He said the office’s last recount took place in May, with the Rincon Sewer District, for which only 150 votes were cast. The last recount in the 3rd District was in 1992, when Willy Chamberlin unseated Bill Wallace by two votes.

Early Monday, before the results of the recount were announced, Chris Henson, who managed Farr’s campaign, said Farr was “focused on hitting the ground running.”

“Supervisor Farr is confident that the voters chose her on Election Day,” he said. “And she’s confident that the elections division of Santa Barbara County ran a fair campaign.”

Write to [email protected]

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >