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Negrete, Measures GS, SMC Expand Vote Margins

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By Jorge Casuso

November 16, 2022 -- Councilmember Lana Negrete, as well as Mayor Himmelrich's transfer tax hike and Santa Monica College's bond measure, expanded their leads in the only local competitive races left.

The latest update from the LA County Registrar on Wednesday -- which included an additional 105,160 ballots -- further widened Negrete's lead over Natalya Zernitskaya in the race for the third open Council seat.

Planning Commissioner Caroline Torosis now leads with 14,212 votes, followed by Jesse Zwick with 12,827, both of whom built large leads in the initial counts released early last Wednesday morning.

Negrete, who has 9,330 votes, distanced herself from Zernitskaya by another 62 votes on Wednesday and now leads in the race for the final seat by 782 votes.

The target of the most negative local campaign in recent memory, Negrete has steadily increased her lead in each of the six post-Election Night ballot counts and seems headed for re-election.

Meanwhile, Measure GS -- the transfer tax bankrolled with $385,000 in contributions from Himmelrich and her husband Michael Soloff -- appears headed to pass.

The $53 per $1,000 transfer tax on Santa Monica properties that sell for more than $8 million expanded its margin by 188 votes on Wednesday.

It now leads with 15,246 yes votes, or 52.46 percent, to 13,815 no votes, or 47.54 percent. The measure needs a simple majority to pass.

Measure SMC, Santa Monica College's $375 million bond measure, which needs 55 percent to pass, now has 56.66 percent yes votes to 43.34 no votes.

The School and College Board races were decided shortly after the polls closed.

In the race for four open School Board seats, incumbents Laurie Lieberman and Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein, Malibu resident Stacy Rouse and Alicia Mignano are all more than 5,000 votes ahead of the fifth-place candidate.

While College Board incumbents Sion Roy, Nancy Greenstein and Barry Snell, along with Tom Peters, are now nearly 11,000 votes ahead of the only other candidate in the race for four open seats.

Seven of the nine local ballot measures were also all but decided in the first tally six hours after the polls closed.

The total election results count is now 1,997,887 votes, or 35.5 percent of registered voters, leaving an estimated 463,050 ballots left to be processed

Of those, an estimated 453,000 are mail-in ballots, 10,000 are conditional voter registration ballots and 50 are provisional ballots.

The estimated number of outstanding mail-in ballots includes those postmarked by Election Day and received by November 15, according to election officials.

"The estimate also includes ballots that are pending signature cures
from voters whose signature on the Return Envelope was missing or did not match their registration record.

"These voters have been notified with instructions on how to cure their ballot to be counted," the Registrar said.

The next ballot count update will be on Thursday.

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