San Mateo County released its official, certified election results on Thursday for the Nov. 3 general election, which saw 85.9% voter turnout, the county’s highest rate since 1968.
Voters cast 380,193 ballots for the Nov. 3 general election, out of 442,637 registered voters. In 2016, voter turnout was 81.6%, with 323,303 votes cast out of 396,341 registered voters.
San Mateo County Chief Elections Officer Mark Church said the high voter turnout was expected this year.
“The Presidential Election cycle traditionally draws in more voters due to the high-profile nature of the contest, but even as compared to other Presidential elections this was a notable showing,” Church wrote in an email to Bay City News.
In recent years, voter turnout for presidential elections hovered around 80 percent. This year, several factors such as California’s Voter’s Choice Act, Senate Bill 415 and the county’s Voter Education Outreach Program contributed to the high turnout, according to Church.
The state’s Voter’s Choice Act expanded voting options, while SB 415 moved governing board elections to even-numbered years.
“The Presidential Election cycle traditionally draws in more voters due to the high-profile nature of the contest, but even as compared to other Presidential elections this was a notable showing.”Mark Church, San Mateo County chief elections officer
As a result, Church said, “This is the largest number of jurisdictions, candidates, offices and ballot styles ever to be placed on a Presidential ballot.”
Of the ballots cast, over 90% were cast by mail.
Church said that the entire election process went very well and that approximately 90% of the 14,251 challenged ballots were cured.
Of the uncured ballots, over 300 could not be resolved due to issues like being postmarked after Election Day.
Church said the county overcame the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic while accommodating the high voter turnout.
“Even though we had over 33,000 visitors to our Vote Centers and over 1,300 employees and volunteers, I’m proud to say we had no COVID outbreaks at the polls or the elections office, due to the extensive precautions we implemented,” Church said.
There were some close races at the city level, with less than 100 votes separating some candidates.
In the Pacifica District 1 city council race, incumbent Sue Vaterlaus beat newcomer Mayra Espinosa by just 19 votes, earning 1,685 votes over Espinosa’s 1,666.
Just 33 votes separated two candidates in Millbrae’s city council race. Newcomer Anders Fung barely edged out You You Xue for the third spot on the council, getting 4,746 votes compared to Xue’s 4,713. Incumbents Gina Papan and Ann Schneider took the top two spots.
In East Palo Alto’s city council race, just 69 votes separated the two candidates vying for the third spot on the council. Newcomer Antonio López won a spot on the council, with 2,998 votes compared to Webster Lincoln’s 2,929 votes. Incumbents Lisa Gauthier and Carlos Romero got the top two spots.
In the city of San Mateo, there were two opposing measures — Measures Y and R — addressing development and housing for the city’s general plan. When the first unofficial results were reported early on Nov. 4, both measures fell below the majority needed for either to pass. In Thursday’s final official results, Measure Y barely passed the simple majority threshold it needed, with 50.05% votes in favor, while Measure R had only 46.1% votes in favor.
Voters in San Bruno, San Mateo, Half Moon Bay and Daly City supported their cities’ various tax measures, but support for Measure V in East Palo Alto lagged. With only 64.7% votes in favor, Measure V fell just short of the two-thirds majority it needed to pass. While revenue from the other tax measures were designated for general city funds, Measure V revenue was meant to support affordable housing.
In the presidential race, 77.9% of San Mateo County voters supported President-elect Joe Biden over President Donald Trump, who received 20.2% of votes.
The complete list of final election results for San Mateo County is available online.