The Yolo County Elections Office had received 3,224 votes as of Tuesday in the Measure I election on the Woodland-Davis surface water project. There are 37,584 registered voters in Davis.
Measure I asks registered voters whether they approve of the City Council moving forward with the $113 surface water project that will pump water from the Sacramento River, treat it and pipe it to Davis and Woodland to supplement deteriorating well water supplies.
City engineers estimate that the project will triple the average water bill over the next five years. They’ve also projected that rates will double without the cost of the project for other city water utility maintenance.
According to Susan Patenaude, assistant clerk-recorder at the Yolo County Elections Office, staff will not begin processing the votes until Feb. 22. Vote tallies won’t be available until the mail-only election closes, at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 5.
Meanwhile, concerns have circulated recently over sample ballots, or the ballot pamphlets, for Measure I arriving days or even up to a week later than the actual ballots, which were sent out on Feb. 4.
The informational sample ballots contain the independent analysis, and arguments and rebuttals for and against the issue in question.
Patenaude said in the past, county elections officials had mailed ballot pamphlets to voters before the actual ballots, but received many complaints from residents who had either thrown away or lost their information before receiving the formal ballot.
Patenaude said mailing the formal ballots and the sample ballots at about the same time has been most effective.
“It’s still a work in progress,” she said Monday.
However, because the ballots are posted priority and sent from Woodland, and because the sample ballots are posted standard mail and come from a printer in the Los Angeles area, the sample ballots often arrive several days later, or more.
Under state elections code, ballot pamphlets must be mailed no more than 40 days before the election date and no less than 21 days before.
Completed Measure I ballots tucked into their signed, blue pre-posted envelopes must be returned to the Yolo County Elections Office by March 5.
Voters who fear that their ballots won’t arrive by March 5 — regardless of sending date, votes that arrive after March 5 will not be counted — can hand-deliver their votes to the Election Office at 625 Court St., Room B05, in Woodland or in a secure drop box at the Stephens Branch Library, 315 E. 14th St. in Davis, by 8 p.m. March 5.
Elections staff also will set up a physical polling place for residents to come vote in person at the Veterans’ Memorial Center, 203 14th St. in Davis, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. March 5.
The last day to register to vote in the Measure I election is Tuesday, Feb. 19. The Elections Office will send supplemental ballots to those who register after the initial ballot mailing.
The arguments and rebuttals can be found on the city’s website at www.cityofdavis.org under the elections page through the city clerk’s office.
— Reach Tom Sakash at [email protected] or 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @TomSakash