Update, Nov. 7, 4 a.m. See charts showing the tallies with 100% of the precincts reporting. Mail-in ballots received after Sunday have not been counted. All results remain unofficial as of Wednesday morning.
Update, Nov. 7, 1:35 a.m. We’re shutting down for the night at Berkeleyside HQ. Unlike some recent elections, it looks like very little will be in doubt for the local elections. In the hotly contested AD15 race, Buffy Wicks beat challenger Jovanka Beckles (with 77% counted, that race stands at 57% to 43%). In the four City Council districts contested this election, incumbent Lori Droste won comfortably in District 8 and incumbent Kate Harrison looks poised to keep her District 4 seat. In the open seat for District 7, created by Kriss Worthington’s retirement, 22-year-old Rigel Robinson will become the youngest-ever member of Berkeley’s City Council. In District 1, open because of the retirement of Linda Maio, Rashi Kesarwani leads with 46% of the vote, over Igor Tregub, with 34% (with 12 of 14 of precincts reporting). It’s not inconceivable that ranked-choice voting would vault Tregub into first, but it is highly unlikely. (Note, 6 a.m., with RCV, Kesarwani is elected to the City Council with 56% of the vote to Igor Tregub’s 44%).
All four of Berkeley’s measures look likely to pass easily. School Board winners never changed from our first report, with Alper, Brown and Sinai on top. The Community Power Slate looks likely to have taken the rent board. Thanks for sticking with us through the evening. Even at this late hour there seem to be plenty of Berkeley political obsessives reading the site.
Update, Nov. 7, 1:30 a.m. Not many changes for districts 7 and 8: It still looks to be solidly Robinson and Droste taking those two seats, given the current numbers. The registrar of voters told Berkeleyside all the mail-in ballots received after Sunday still need to be counted. As of this election, 70% of Berkeley voters — or 55,788 of the 79,145 people registered — vote by mail.
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Update, Nov. 7, 1:25 a.m. Here are the latest tallies before Berkeleyside shuts down for the night. In District 1, Rashi Kesarwani still leads, but has dropped below 50%. So an instant runoff now looks probable. Nothing significant has changed in District 4, where incumbent Councilwoman Kate Harrison still has more than 50% of the vote.
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Update, Nov. 7, 12:55 a.m. The latest tallies from City Council districts 1 and 4 show likely wins for Rashi Kesarwani and incumbent Kate Harrison. Both will probably avoid an instant runoff by topping 50% of the vote.
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Update, Nov. 7, 12:50 a.m. New Berkeley City Council numbers have been posted for the first time since 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. Robinson has increased his lead in District 7 with 56%, and Droste is still on top in District 8 with 57%.
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Update, Nov. 7, 12:38 a.m. Of the nearly 60 counties in California, Alameda County is in the bottom third for precincts reporting. Nearly half are at or near 100% reporting, according to the Secretary of State. With about 42% of precincts reporting, Alameda County is also below the statewide average of 53%. Also worth noting, however, Alameda County is one of the largest in the state, with 881,491 registered voters.
Update, Nov. 7, 12:21 a.m. For AD15, with 43% of precincts now reporting, Wicks has 58% to 42% for Beckles.
Update, Nov. 7, 12:17 a.m. Vladislav Davidzon, who appears likely to have lost his bid for city auditor, had this to say in the Berkeleyside comments: “I’m not going anywhere, but yes, it’ll certainly be sad to continue watching Berkeley turn into an even worse nightmare of an open air mental asylum and a scene straight from a third-world nation.”
Update, Nov. 7, 12:05 a.m. There was a hopping dance party at the headquarters for Jovanka Beckles at Neyborly in West Berkeley, according to Berkeleyside photographer Pete Rosos, who was there about 30 minutes ago. “The mood was celebratory,” even though the AD15 candidate is trailing 41% to Wicks’ 59% (with 28% of precincts reporting).
“Jovanka had the DJ whip out that old song by Kris Kross. She was definitely having the time of her life, getting down and talking with some of her supporters,” he said.
Update, 11:50 p.m. At long last, there are a handful of updated tallies from the Alameda County Registrar of Voters and, truth is, there’s little new to report. For Berkeley’s city measures O, P, Q and R, there are now 17 out of 107 precincts reporting and all four measures look like they will pass comfortably. O stands at 72% support, P at 67%, Q at 69% and R at 82%. Measure Q was mostly designed to position Berkeley for a post-Costa-Hawkins world, if state Proposition 10 passed. But Proposition 10 will fail: with nearly 50% of state precincts reporting, 10 stands at 64% against. But a provision of Measure Q exempting accessory dwelling units from rent control and limits on eviction of tenants will come into effect.
Update, 11:35 p.m. Berkeleyside’s Frances Dinkelspiel went to Buffy Wicks’ election night party at The Golden Squirrel in Rockridge. She spoke to Wicks about the early results:
Dinkelspiel also spoke to incumbent Councilwoman Lori Droste from District 8:
The party was apparently winding down around 11:30 p.m., Dinkelspiel said.
Update, 11:21 p.m. We just spoke with Alameda County Registrar of Voters Tim Dupuis who told us the first results are now coming in from the precincts. The ROV posted “a small update” of about 60 precincts at about 11:15 p.m., but more numbers are coming, he said.
“The precincts are now rolling in,” he said. “It took a little while to get them queued up.” Dupuis said there should be updates every 30 minutes now. He said the office hopes to have all the precincts posted by 1:30 a.m.
Dupuis said the ROV will run ranked-choice numbers at the end of the night, then no ranked-choice results until later in the week, late Wednesday or early Thursday: “We have to get through finishing off the votes for today.”
Alameda County got 220,000 early votes for the Nov. 6 election, he said.
Update, 11:20 p.m. “You can hear the celebrating of the Buffy Wicks party a block away. It’s definitely a celebration.” So reports Frances Dinkelspiel as she arrives at the Buffy Wicks election night HQ, the Golden Squirrel in Rockridge. Meanwhile, we’re all waiting on tenterhooks for the next batch of results from the Registrar of Votes. So far tonight we’ve only had one release — at 8:30 p.m.
Update, 11:02 p.m. City Council candidate Rigel Robinson, currently holding an ever-so-slight lead over Ces Rosales for District 7, said he and his supporters are constantly refreshing the results, anxiously awaiting updated numbers. “They look exciting,” but barely anything has been reported, he told Berkeleyside over the phone. Robinson has spent much of the evening with UC Berkeley students, many of whom had their eyes on results nationally and in their hometowns. Robinson is from Missouri, where he was devastated “to lose [Senator] Claire McCaskill.”
The candidate said “the campus made it as easy as possible for students to vote,” with a new on-campus ballot box and other initiatives.
Update, 10:53 p.m. We’re all on tenterhooks, including Adena Ishii of the League of Women Voters of Berkeley Albany Emeryville, waiting for the next round of results.
Update, 10:40 p.m. The UC Berkeley graduate student union, UAW 2165, is holding an election watch party, with plenty of pizza and beer, at its office downtown on Addison Street. We continue to await new Berkeley results.
“We’re feeling mixed about the results,” Alex Bush, the union’s finance secretary, told Berkeleyside’s Orenstein. The union local endorsed Measures O and P, which are far ahead, but was hoping Proposition 10 would pass. “The housing crisis is major and really affecting graduate students, like all low-income workers,” said Bush, who got involved in the union after the 2016 election, when she realized that “even if the election goes badly, tomorrow I still have organizing work I can do.”
Proposition 10, to allow cities to extend rent control, appears likely to fail, with 65% opposed as of 10:40 p.m., according to the Secretary of State.
Update, 10:21 p.m. No new results since the first batch at 8:30 p.m. Based on 2016, we’re expecting more at around 10:30 p.m. But we’re out and about at watch parties and candidate HQs taking the pulse of the night and talking to candidates. Listen to Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín talking to Berkeleyside’s Frances Dinkelspiel at Cornerstone, HQ for City Councilwoman Kate Harrison who’s running to keep her District 4:
And Natalie Orenstein checks in with Rashi Kesarwani, candidate for City Council District 1, at the Spats watch party:
Update, 9:49 p.m. “Excited and tired.” That’s how Ben Gould, who’s running for City Council District 4 against incumbent Kate Harrison, said he was feeling tonight, talking to Berkeleyside’s Natalie Orenstein at the watch party at Spats in downtown Berkeley.
Update, 9:40 p.m. With about 8% of AD15 reporting, Wicks is still ahead by a comfortable margin — 61% of the vote to Beckles’ 39%.
Update, 9:17 p.m. One race that looks pretty clear right now is for Berkeley’s new city auditor: Jenny Wong has 91.5% (with 9,432 votes) to Vladislav S. Davidzon’s 8% (823). So far the ROV has tallied about 11,000 Berkeley ballots. Measure O (results below) has garnered the most response. For context, there were 40,301 ballots in 2014 (the last midterm election) and 65,430 in 2016.
Update, 9:10 p.m. Berkeleyside’s Natalie Orenstein is at the election night party at Spats on Shattuck Avenue. It’s the headquarters for the slate of School Board candidates Ty Alper, Ka’dijah Brown and Julie Sinai. According to Orenstein, “it definitely feels like a party.” She spoke to Brown (with plenty of ambient sound):
Update, 9 p.m. We know there is a lot of interest in the AD15 race between Buffy Wicks and Jovanka Beckles. Fewer than 4% of precincts have reported so far (under 17,000 votes), so there is zero that can be gleaned from the votes. But at this very early stage, Wicks is ahead 60% to 40%. Again, it’s very early.
Update, 8:58 p.m. School Board and Rent Stabilization Board tallies below. Alper, Brown and Sinai are on top in School Board (three seats), and the Community Power Slate is mostly on top, although the fifth slot may be a toss up. Still many votes to count.
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Update, 8:51 p.m. For context, District 1 has 1,542 votes tallied so far and Kesarwani has a comfortable lead. District 4 has 1,074 votes in, and Harrison is in front, just over the 50% mark for now. If ranked-choice voting comes into play, that could be a battle. District 7 has just 304 counted, and Droste is in front of District 8 by a large margin.
Update, 8:40 p.m. The early results on Berkeley’s four measures, again from the first count of mail-in ballots:
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Update, 8:37 p.m. And here are the other council races, from the earliest vote tallies. These only show the first count of mail-in ballots, which is why there are no precincts reporting:
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Update, 8:35 p.m. First results are now available, using the tally of mail-in ballots (which is why there are no precincts reporting):
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Update, 8:25 p.m. Two years ago we had early results by now, but so far there’s nothing from either the Alameda County Registrar of Voters or the state site. In addition to all the Berkeley races, we’ll be keeping a close eye on the AD 15 race.
Update, 8 p.m. Polls have closed and the Berkeleyside team is getting ready to fan out. In 2016, the first results came in around 8:20 p.m.
Original story, 5:12 p.m. It’s expected to be a historic midterm election Nov. 6 as the nation waits to see how turnout plays out in key races across the United States. In Berkeley, four City Council seats and several ballot measures are before voters, along with spots on the school and rent boards.
Tuesday evening, the Berkeleyside team will visit campaign hotspots and update this live blog as results come in throughout the night. Sign up for breaking news updates by email for the biggest developments. We may also send text alerts along with updates on social media.
According to the Alameda County registrar of voters (ROV), there are nearly 80,000 registered voters in Berkeley right now. The total adult population is estimated at about 107,000, according to Census figures.
Just over 70% of those registered are permanent mail-in voters, which is up from about 51% in November 2016, and from about 30% four years ago, according to the ROV.
The county reported that, as of Monday night, about 32% of Berkeley’s mail-in ballots had been returned. Those ballots should be among the first results released after polls close at 8 p.m. They appear to represent about 18,000 people. (These are estimates, as the numbers have been in flux Tuesday.)
November 2016 saw turnout in Berkeley of nearly 80% once all the ballots had been counted. Midterm years, when there’s no presidential race, have generally been much lower, however. In 2006 and 2010, turnout for the midterm elections was a bit over 60%. In November 2014 — the most recent midterm election — Berkeley turnout fell to 50%.
The special vote-by-mail election for the downtown Berkeley seat (District 4) in March 2017 had a turnout of just 28%. Kate Harrison won 1,607 votes to Ben Gould’s 992. The two face off again this year, with challenger Greg Magofña also in the ring.
Each council district had roughly 11,000 or 12,000 registered voters as of November 2016. In the midterm races, northwest Berkeley (District 1) tends to have the highest turnout, followed by downtown (District 4), the Elmwood (District 8) and Southside (District 7).
Midterm turnout tends to be in the 40% to 70% range depending on the council district. District 7 may have seen a historic low in 2014, however, when turnout was just 21%. Outgoing Councilman Kriss Worthington handily beat challenger Sean Barry that year with 832 votes to Barry’s 662. Neither man is running in District 7 this time around.
See complete 2018 Election coverage on Berkeleyside.