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Three Santa Monica Races Remain Close

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By Jorge Casuso

November 14, 2022 -- Three Santa Monica races remained undecided Monday, as LA County election officials continue to process the nearly than 750,000 mail-in ballots still to be counted.

In one of the close races, Councilmember Lana Negrete has been slowly expanding her lead over Natalya Zarnitskaya for the final spot in the race for three Council seats.

Negrete led by 606 votes after the LA County Registrar announced the latest tallies Saturday afternoon, expanding the 563 vote lead she held after overtaking Zarnitskaya on Thursday.

It is not known how many of the ballots left to be counted were cast in Santa Monica elections.

Meanwhile, Measure GS -- Mayor Sue Himmelrich's $53 per $1,000 transfer tax on Santa Monica properties that sell for more than $8 million -- has added 46 votes since Thursday's count.

It led on Saturday with 11,353 yes votes to 10,503 no votes, or 51.94 percent. The measure needs a simple majority to pass.

Measure SMC, Santa Monica College's $375 million bond measure, also expanded its narrow lead, adding 1,188 votes after Saturday's tally.

It now leads with 14,150 yes votes to 11,400 no votes, or 55.38 percent. It needs 55 percent to pass.

Saturday's update included 77,429 ballots processed since the previous count on Friday.

The total election results count is now 1,608,639, or 28.58 percent of registered voters, leaving 739,300 ballots left to be processed.

Of those, 718,000 are mail-in ballots, 21,000 are conditional registration ballots and 300 are provisional ballots.

The number of outstanding ballots could grow as the Registrar continues to accept ballots that are postmarked by Election Day and received through tomorrow, election officials said.

It could take days to determine the outcome of close races in Santa Monica, since the counting process requires a number of steps, including verifying signatures and extracting and preparing the ballots, officials said.

The next count will be released this afternoon.

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