Preliminary Santa Monica election results showed Caroline Torosis, Jesse Zwick and Lana
Negrete in the lead for city council and incumbents leading the school board race, but results were too early to call by press time.
The LA County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office began releasing early voting results shortly after polls closed Tuesday, but most races were too close to call by Daily Press deadline on Tuesday night.
In the City Council race, attorney and Rent Control Board Member Caroline Torosis was in the lead as preliminary votes were counted, followed by fellow progressive candidate Jesse Zwick, incumbent Lana Negrete and a third progressive, Natalya Zernitskaya. Change Slate candidates Armen Melkonians and Albin Gielicz were in sixth and seventh place, respectively, but the race was too early to call.
Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) Board of Education incumbents Laurie Lieberman and Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein were in the lead on the school board race as results began to flood in, followed by Stacy Rouse and Alicia Mignano.
In the competition between two seemingly similar but fundamentally different property transfer tax measures, Measure GS — proposing a third tier transfer tax rate of $56 per $1,000 of value for property transfers of $8,000,000 or more — had taken just over 50% of early votes reported. The other property transfer tax proposal, Measure DT — proposing an additional incremental tax of $25 per $1,000 of the value in excess of $8 million — had received just 33% of votes counted by Tuesday night.
Measure CS, an increase to transient occupancy tax, had taken a healthy lead with 73% of early votes.
As of 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, LA County was reporting on 979,859 ballots counted; about 87% of those were vote by mail ballots, to 13% in-person. Information on Santa Monica voter turnout was not yet available. More results were to be released in coming days, with final vote certification due later in November.
Despite some anecdotal complaints on social media, voters and election workers from across Santa Monica reported positive attitudes and bright smiles at Vote Centers on Election Day and throughout early voting.
“People have been very positive. I’ve gotten a lot of thank-yous from voters on their way out,” Santa Monica Democratic Club volunteer Janine Bush said Tuesday. Bush was at the end of a three-hour shift handing out fliers. Standing on the sidewalk outside the 100-foot Vote Center perimeter, Bush said even from that distance she could feel the positive energy at the National Typewriter Company Vote Center.
“I enjoy it to see the civic engagement — it never gets old,” Bush added.
Workers at the location also said voters had been “very friendly and up-beat.”
Attendance varied across the city with some vote centers, like Roosevelt Elementary School, filling up while others were quiet. Poll workers at Joscyln Park said they had seen a steady stream of 4-6 voters throughout the day, far fewer than the 15 they were set up to accommodate.
Election workers at the National Typewriter Company location in the early afternoon on Tuesday reported they had been busy all day, despite the Vote Center’s peculiar location at Olympic Boulevard and Euclid Street — a dead end. Parking there was sparse and the Vote Center entrance was not visible from busy Olympic, but short lines were forming on and off in the early afternoon. This came after three very slow days of early voting, workers at the location shared.
Some Santa Monica residents at both Roosevelt and Joscyln park were surprised to learn they couldn’t vote in the Los Angeles mayor’s race between Rick Caruso and Karen Bass.
New Santa Monica resident Emily Meyer opted for same-day voter registration and said the whole process went off without a hitch. Meyer learned of same-day registration, Googled the nearest Vote Center and was able to cast a ballot on Tuesday without waiting in line. The inclement weather did not dampen the new voter’s spirits.
“I’m from the East Coast, so rain doesn’t really bother me,” Meyer said.
National Typewriter Company proved a popular Vote Center among the nine centers open in Santa Monica on Election Day; later in the evening, state Sen. Ben Allen, an incumbent running to retain his seat representing CA Senate District 26, posted on social media that he and his family voted there in person.