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Third seat for Ripon Consolidated Fire board is still too close to call
Ripon fire

Barring an unexpected development, both Ryan Mackey and Larry Madoski appear headed to a four-year term on the Ripon Consolidated Fire District Board of Directors.

Who will join them in the third seat, however, remains to be seen.

Currently incumbent Matt Cultrera has only a 6 vote lead over challenger Sheri Coburn with 12,650 votes in San Joaquin County still outstanding.

Madoski, a Lathrop Manteca Fire District Division Chief, currently has a 2,124 vote lead over Cultrera, and he trails leading vote getter Ryan Mackey – a firefighter for the City of Modesto – by 77 votes.

At 11 p.m. on election night, Madoski was leading Mackey by 10 votes, while Coburn was trailing third-place incumbent Cultrera by 38 votes. Exactly 1,000 votes separated second and third place on election night, and that margin has grown to more than 2,000 throughout the canvassing process.

The number of unprocessed ballots grew between Monday and Tuesday according to information released by the San Joaquin Registrar of Voters Office – attributed to a reclassification of a specific type of ballot that has been received. Of the more than 12,000 votes that are still outstanding from across the county, 4,750 of them are damaged or unreadable, 6,350 were provisional ballots, and 1,600 need to be “cured” in order to be processed – meaning that they’re disqualified vote-by-mail ballots that are eligible for a signature cure or verification.

The incoming board will likely have to begin coordinating a plan to secure the funding necessary to staff the district’s newest fire station – located on N. Ripon Road just north of E. River Road – that is currently not operational.

Next year the agency will be celebrating its 100th anniversary, and functions on an $3 million annual budget. The borders of the district cover more than 56 square miles from the Stanislaus River at the southern end of the district to the unincorporated area of Atlanta – located just south of French Camp Road within the triangular area formed between Jack Tone Road, French Camp Road, and Yosemite Ave.

In what was an active voting year in San Joaquin County, almost 75 percent of registered voters in the county – which was listed at 365,839 voters prior to the election – cast a ballot.  Voter turnout in the 2016 Presidential General Election was at 68 percent for San Joaquin County, and the primary election was only at 34 percent. Despite the record number of votes cast, it still fell short of the turnout of nearly 80 percent in the 2008 Presidential General Election – the year in which President Barack Obama claimed The White House and Republican candidate John McCain came to San Joaquin County to speak to voters inside of the Spanos Jet Center at the Stockton Airport.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.