Seesawing CSD race still undecided
For Bill Vandegrift and Chuck Hammond Election Day has lasted a bit longer than the normal 24 hours.
The two El Dorado Hills Community Services District Board of Directors candidates are locked in a race still too close to call. The most recent county Elections Department update has Vandegrift leading by 21 votes but about 1,800 ballots, including 700 provisional ballots, remain uncounted, according to El Dorado County Registrar of Voters Bill Schultz.
“We have little batches here and there we’re still trying to verify,” he explained.
It’s unknown how many of those ballots are within the CSD voting boundaries but with such a small number separating the two candidates the election could go either way.
The candidates, respectful of the process and each other, remained in good spirits Friday.
“We worked as hard as we could work. That’s what it’s about,” Hammond said. “This is like sinking the last shot of the game. My fourth-graders did that just last week. It’s competition. It’s exciting. The fact that we got out there and believe in ourselves is what this is all about.
“People know about me; they know about my heart. They know Chuck Hammond is a good guy. I’ve already won. If I get more votes than Billy, that’s icing on the cake,” he added.
Speaking of cake, Vandegrift celebrated a birthday while awaiting the election outcome. He said Hammond even called him to wish him a happy birthday.
Vandegrift, an incumbent, initially fell behind Hammond in the vote count and attributes the upswing to last-minute voters.
“The procrastinators are my people,” Vandegrift joked. “Of course I’d like to win, but if I don’t the board is still in good hands.”
The anticipation could end soon. Schultz said he hopes to release updated election results early next week.
“We’ll be lucky to finish them by Monday evening,” he said. “We’re going as fast as we can.”
One hang-up in the process was the state Senate District 1 special election held concurrently with the general election, he added. The California Secretary of State has required Elections Departments within the district to complete the count and certify those special election results by Monday, according to Schultz.
That diverts staff from the general election but Schultz remained optimistic and, if all goes well, he said he’ll certify general election results next Friday, Nov. 19.
The El Dorado Hills CSD board had three open seats available this time around. Six candidates and three write-in candidates tossed in their hats. Incumbent Tony Rogozinski and former CSD general manger Wayne Lowery earned the most votes to secure the other two open seats.
Mike Roberts contributed to this article.