Race to the finish in special San Mateo County supervisor election 

As a six-way race for an open San Mateo County supervisor seat comes down to the wire, election officials say the Peninsula’s first all-mail supervisor contest is producing encouraging results.

With Election Day on Tuesday, officials have begun processing thousands of ballots for the exceptionally competitive race for the open District 1 supervisor seat.

The contest includes four well-funded and well-established candidates — Burlingame Mayor Terry Nagel, Millbrae City Councilor Gina Papan, county Community College District board President Richard Holober and San Mateo Union High School District Trustee Dave Pine.

Demetrios Nikas, a resident of unincorporated San Mateo County, and Burlingame resident Michael Stogner also are running.

So far, about 22 percent of the roughly 340,000 voters have returned their mail-in ballots, Elections Manager David Tom said.

That has already eclipsed the 15.7 percent mark in the most recent special supervisor election in 1997, when Rich Gordon narrowly won, Tom said Thursday.

“The returns are slowing down somewhat, but we’re still way ahead of the percentage of returns from the previous election,” Tom said.

The election will cost the county about $1.1 million, compared with $1.6 million for an election with polls, Tom said. Also, it’s unique because the winner simply has to receive the most votes; unlike most supervisor elections, there is no runoff if a candidate does not receive more than 50 percent of votes.

Whomever wins the seat vacated by Mark Church — who, as the new assessor-clerk-recorder, is in charge of Tuesday’s election — will join a five-member board aiming to build a new jail and close a gap in next fiscal year’s budget.

A theme of the campaign has been dealing with the $82 million deficit, and each candidate has emphasized a need to reduce public employee costs, including reforming pensions.

How to vote

By mail
If you haven’t sent in your ballot, elections officials say you should not mail it now because it might not arrive by Tuesday. Ballots can be dropped off at any city hall by 5 p.m. Tuesday.

In person
Vote Monday or Tuesday at the Elections Office, 40 Tower Road in San Mateo, or the county offices at 555 County Center in Redwood City. Offices are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

sbishop@sfexaminer.com

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Shaun Bishop

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Monday, Sep 15, 2014

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