Voters flock to the polling stations, many for the first time

LEFT: Jose Jimenez, 20, drops off his ballot after participating in his first vote since becoming a legal adult. RIGHT: Carmen Hernandez, 69, fills out her ballot for the 2018 election. It was her first chance to vote since becoming a U.S. citizen about one year ago. (Photos by Todd Guild/Register-Pajaronian)

Early election results posted

UPDATED 10 p.m.:


With 34.1 percent of the precincts reporting at 11 p.m., the repeal of the statewide gas tax passed in 2016 was trailing Tuesday, with 55.3 percent rejecting Proposition 6.

Voters appear to agree, however, that the fall-back, spring-forward confusion of daylight savings time should be abolished, with 61.8 percent approval of Proposition 7.

Proposition 8, which would have regulated how much dialysis clinics could charge for their services, seems well on its way to defeat with more than 61.8 percent approval.

Proposition 1 is passing, with 52.5 percent of voters approving it. Prop. 1 would authorize $4 billion in general obligation bonds to fund housing for low-income people and veterans.

Proposition 2, which would provide housing for mentally ill people, is passing with 59.6 percent.

Proposition 10, which would have allowed for rent control on residential properties, was headed to a resounding defeat with 64.4 percent of voters rejecting it.


Longtime Pajaro Valley Unified School District Trustee Willie Yahiro appears to have retained his seat in Trustee Area 4, with just over 47 percent of the vote. Daniel Dodge Jr. is trailing with 34.5 percent. Jenni Veitch-Olson has garnered 17 percent.

jennifer schacher

ABOVE: Jennifer Schacher reacts when she learns she leads early polling results for the PVUSD Trustee Area 5 seat during an election night party at the Watsonville Elks Lodge as Watsonville Mayor Lowell Hurst and others congratulate her. Photo by Erik Chalhoub/Register-Pajaronian

Challenger Jennifer Schacher is edging out incumbent Leslie De Rose for the Trustee Area 5 seat, with about 65.2 percent of the vote.

In Trustee Area 7, Jennifer Holm has a large lead over Bill Beecher, with 68.5 percent.


jimmy dutra carmonas

County Supervisor candidate Jimmy Dutra interacts with Watsonville City Council District 7 candidate Lupe Rivas (left) and District 5 incumbent Rebecca Garcia during an election party at Carmona's BBQ Deli. Photo by Erik Chalhoub/Register-Pajaronian

As of 10 p.m., incumbent Greg Caput’s lead grew over Jimmy Dutra for the Fourth District seat on the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors.

Caput netted 1,647 votes, with Dutra at 1,353.


In the three-person race for the District 7 seat, Ari Parker nabbed 53.69 percent of the vote. Steve Trujillo and Lupe Rivas are currently at second and third, respectively, separated by only 15 votes.

ari parker

Watsonville City Council District 7 candidate Ari Parker (left) is congratulated by her mother Aurora Parker when the early results were announced at an election party at the Watsonville Elks Lodge. Photo by Erik Chalhoub/Register-Pajaronian

Incumbent Rebecca Garcia took a large lead for the District 5 seat over Casey Clark, gathering 244 votes to Clark’s 131.

In District 4, which will be the mayor’s seat in 2019, Francisco “Paco” Estrada has an edge over Jenny Sarmiento, with 53.61 percent of the vote.

So far, only 10 voters have submitted write-in candidates against Lowell Hurst, who is running unopposed in District 3.


J. Dan Rothwell took a commanding lead over Louis Tuosto for the Area 6 seat, gathering 67.73 percent of the vote.


52.37 percent of voters have voted for Measure H, a $140 million general obligation bond to fund low and moderate income housing in Santa Cruz County. To pass it will need at least a 2/3 majority lead. 

Measure G, a half-cent sales tax for emergency and city services in unincorporated areas, is passing with a 64.03 percent lead.

The Greenway initiative, Measure L, is passing, with 52.54 percent of voters in favor. The measure bars the City of Capitola from performing any construction in Capitola Village for the Regional Transportation Commission’s planned 32-mile pedestrian and bicycle trail.

Measure O, which increases the Transient Occupancy Tax in Watsonville by 1 percent, is passing with a 73.56 percentage.

The La Selva Beach Recreation parcel tax, Measure P, is also ahead with 78.11 percent of voters in favor.


Democrat Gavin Newsom has garnered 56.1 percent of the vote, with some news agencies claiming victory for him over Republican John Cox.


With 53.7 percent of the vote, incumbent Diane Feinstein seems poised to hold onto her seat over Democratic challenger Kevin De Leon.


Incumbent Democratic Senator Jimmy Panetta has beaten Ron Kabat with 79 percent of the vote.


WATSONVILLE — Carmen Hernandez has lived in Watsonville for 45 years, and became a U.S. citizen about one year ago. She voted for the first time on Tuesday, fulfilling a dream she said she has harbored for years.

Also a first-time voter, Jose Jimenez, 20, headed to his polling station to consider 11 state propositions, several elected leaders and a handful of local measures.

Both came to the top floor of the Watsonville Civic Plaza, joining hundreds of people who lined up in the polling station to drop off their ballot.

Choosing new leaders, Hernandez said, is a responsibility not to be taken lightly.

“I’m happy, but a little nervous,” she said through a Spanish interpreter. “I want to choose people who will do the right thing for the community.”

Hernandez, whose husband relies on dialysis treatments, said she was also looking to have her voice heard on Proposition 8, which would affect how clinics that provide that service charge their patients.

Jimenez, who took nearly a half-hour to pore over his ballot, said he was eager for the opportunity.

“It’s exciting to know that you can make a difference,” he said.

Watsonville City Clerk Beatriz Vazquez Flores said that the polling station was unusually bustling for a midterm election.

“We’ve been very busy,” she said.

Many voters requested mail-in ballots, and several came in to drop them off.

In addition, dozens of people who missed the Oct. 22 deadline to vote did so on the same day they voted, thanks to a new California law that allows conditional ballots.

But those are a minority this year. A record 19.6 million people turned in their registration forms by the deadline, according to California Secretary of State Alex Padilla.

That makes up 78.1 percent of eligible Californians, the highest number for a midterm election since 1950, Padilla said.

“It has been nearly 70 years since we’ve seen a higher percentage of eligible citizens registered to vote for a midterm election,” Padilla said. “Registering to vote is just the first step in doing your civic duty — if you’re one of the over 19.6 million registered voters in California, make sure you cast your ballot by Election Day.”

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