By Kristin Lam
Sacramento County residents might not know who wins the sheriff’s race until next week, as less than half of the estimated votes have been reported as of Wednesday, according to an elections spokesperson.
Less than half of the total votes cast in the race between Assembly member Jim Cooper (D–Elk Grove) and Undersheriff Jim Barnes have been counted, Sacramento County elections spokesperson Janna Haynes said. Cooper leads the early results with 55%.
“In no way, shape or form can the sheriff’s race be decided at this moment, because the number of ballots could easily sway that competition one way or another,” Haynes said.
Haynes estimated the office will finish counting less than half of the remaining 155,000 ballots by Friday. The county will likely report a significant increase, but Haynes said elections officials will probably tabulate the majority of ballots by June 17.
Barnes’ campaign consultant Andre Levesque said they’re looking forward to the next election update, which is expected Friday at 4 p.m.
“With less than half of the votes tabulated, the election is very much incomplete,” Levesque said. “The undersheriff is optimistic because the remaining votes could very well trend in his favor.”
Considering the amount of ballots remaining, Cooper said he feels cautiously optimistic and will be watching the polls. He also thanked his supporters who’ve given him the early lead.
“A lot of folks wanted change in the sheriff’s department,” Cooper said. “They wanted a sheriff to get along and build those relationships out in the community and with other elected officials. I was very humbled by the amount of support I got, and I look forward to serving as their next sheriff.”
Outgoing Sheriff Scott Jones endorsed Barnes, who has worked for the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office for 24 years. Before rising to undersheriff, Barnes worked as a sexual assault investigator and homicide supervisor.
Cooper unsuccessfully ran against Jones for sheriff in 2010. The Democratic lawmaker previously worked for the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office for 30 years. Cooper also served as Elk Grove’s first elected mayor.
The remaining ballots left to count were mailed or put in drop boxes, Haynes said. The county has seven days to receive ballots postmarked by election day, and Hayes said it typically sees the most returns in the first three days after.
The elections office reported all of the in-person votes in Tuesday’s preliminary results, Haynes added. The office will release updates every Tuesday and Friday until certification.
After the update on June 17, Haynes said the office will likely go through conditional voter registration ballots and contact voters about any signature issues.
The county has 29 days to certify the election. The winner will become the next sheriff because a November runoff will not be necessary in the two-way race.
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