10-way Race For Natomas School Board May Be Too Close To Call

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz
The 10-way race for three spots on the local school board is likely the most high-stakes contest on today’sballot for Natomas-area residents.

But with so many candidates, and more than 50 percent of voters voting by mail, the results may be too close to call after polls close tonight, said Sacramento County Elections spokesman Brad Buyse. The polls remain open until 8 p.m.

“This is another election where we see more candidates than there are seats up for vote,” said Buyse, pointing to the 54 candidates vying for 15 seats on a proposed charter commission for the city and eight candidates jockeying for seats on the neighboring Rio Linda/Elverta Water District board.

Buyse said it’s important voters exercise their right to vote for three candidates in the Natomas Unified School Board race. There are 32,297 registered voters in thedistrict.
I find it interesting with all the politico on Facebook, the only lawns signs I see up are for (Natomas Unified School District) candidates. Our local fight must be stronger than our national… -Natomas resident

In an online field poll conducted by THE NATOMAS BUZZ, more than 86 percent of respondents said the Natomas school board race was “very important” to the community. Of those survey takers, about 72 percent said they planned to votefor three candidates, but 16 percent planned to vote for only two candidates and 11 percent said they would vote for only one.

“There have been contests in pastthat if the public had … not undervoted the contest, different candidates would have succeeded and won the office,” Buyse said.

An undervote occurs when the number of choices selected by a voter in a contest is less than the maximum number allowed for that contest or when no selection is made for a single choice contest.

“That’s very important for that district,” said Buyse. “We’ve seen that over the years. It has always been a high candidate district.”

In 2010, Natomas school board incumbent Teri Burns narrowly won re-election over then-newcomer Ryan Herche by only 20 votes in a six-way race for two seats on the Natomas Unified school board. There were nearly 15,000 undervotes that election.

This year, incumbents Bruce Roberts and Sue Heredia are running for three seats along with repeat candidates HK Allen, Briza Trujillo Cardenas and Herche; and newcomers Josh Baker, Michael Bedrosian, Karen Bernal, Scott Dosick and Vina Guzman.

In the same online field poll, respondents said they were leaning toward candidates who are involved in Natomas schools, who have experience with finances and are knowledgeable about state education policy.

Those taking the survey said issues with the most impact on how they will vote today wereschool budget cuts, past board decisions and test scores, followed by parent/community engagement and district leadership turnover. Labor relations was ranked as having the lowest priority in their decision making.

After the election polls close tonight, Buyse said his office will be busy counting every vote cast in personand by mail. Final election results will be posted in 28 days, hesaid.

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