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Sales tax hike now trailing by 208 votes

The fate of Measure Z — the one cent sales tax increase for the City of Manteca — may not be known for a week or longer.

That’s because there are still another 129,921 ballots to count throughout San Joaquin County.

Measure Z with 143,761 ballots countywide counted as of Wednesday afternoon was trailing by 208 votes. The tax proposal had been leading by 171 votes on Election Night.

The count now stands at 8,394 (50.63 percent) against and 8,186 (49.37 percent) in favor. The measure needs 50 percent plus one vote to pass.

The next update of the count will be made tonight at 9 o’clock.

Given the higher number of votes by mail there is no way of knowing how many of  the remaining 129,921 ballots to be counted where cast by City of Manteca voters.

The ballots left to count could also change the numbers tallied to date for the $260 million Manteca Unified School bond. Measure A as of Wednesday was passing  with 14,326 (57.27 percent) in favor and 10,691 (42.73 percent) against. That is a drop off of 0.01 percent of favorable votes from the count on Election Night.

Measure A requires 55 percent support to pass.

In the Manteca City Council race, the top three leaders slipped between 0.10 and 0.24 percent from Election Night to Wednesday’s count.

As of Wednesday incumbent Gary Singh was leading the five candidates seeking two council seats with 8,498 votes or 31.55 percent of those that had been counted.

Retired Manteca Police Chief Charlie Halford was in second with 7,085 votes (26.30%) followed by 12-year incumbent Debby Moorhead with 4,553 votes (16.90%). Registered nurse Fred Cunha was fourth with 3,993 votes (14.82%). David Martin had 2,754 votes (10.22%).

“American citizens across the country, deployed overseas and living across the globe, exercised their right to vote in striking numbers,” noted Melinda Dubroff, San Joaquin County’s Registrar of Voters on Wednesday. “That was clearly evident in San Joaquin County where citizens participated in democracy at historic levels with more than 143,761 ballots validated and reported on election night. Those votes included Vote-by-Mail ballots and in-person votes received at the Voter Service Centers. So far, this is 39.3 percent of votes processed to date out of our total number of registered voters, but there are many more ballots to count.”

Based on the number of ballots yet to be processed (129,921), it is likely San Joaquin County will have a total turn-out in excess of 75 percent, meaning three out of four registered voters had a say in the outcome of national, state and local races. This was a significant increase over the March Primary Election at 34 percent and exceeded the 2016 Presidential Election at 68 percent. 

Daily reports of ballots yet to be processed will begin posting at 9 p.m. tonight. These include remaining vote-by-mail, conditional voter registration/provisional, and damaged ballots. 

“We know the pandemic played a role in this record turnout because every registered voter received a postage-paid vote-by-mail ballot, rather than mailing ballots to voters upon request,” Dubroff said. “But even so, the record numbers we’re seeing also tell the story about how passionate and motivated people are about exercising their right to vote. I hope it is a trend that will continue for years to come. 

 For the latest results, visit