Alameda County Ballot Count Completed—
Record Non-Presidential Year Turnout in Berkeley.

Rob Wrenn
Monday November 19, 2018 - 11:36:00 AM

The Alameda County Registrar of Voters has finished its count of ballots cast in the November 6 election. A majority of those votes, 56%, were counted after election day, but, in Berkeley, votes counted after election day were similar to those that had been reported when counting ended at 2 a.m. on election night.

None of the local Berkeley races were close and votes counted after election night did not alter the outcome of any local races. The final percentage for the winning candidate in each of the four City Council races was within 3% of their percentage of the vote count as of the end of election night counting. Kate Harrison was at 52.7% at 2 a.m. on election night and finished with 52.9%. The biggest change, 2.2%, still not large, was in District 7 where Rigel Robinson was at 54.4% on election night but ended up at 56.6% when all the votes were counted. (Percentages were calculated without factoring in a very small number of write-ins.) 

Berkeley City Council, Auditor 

Incumbent Council members Kate Harrison in District 4 (Downtown and Central Berkeley) and Lori Droste in District 8 (Southeast Berkeley) won re-election by comfortable margins. In the two seats without incumbents, recent UC grad Rigel Robinson won in District 7, the student supermajority district in the Southside/Telegraph area defeating Ces Rosales, while Rashi Kesarwani, a member of the Housing Advisory Commission, defeated Igor Tregub, a Rent Board commissioner, and Margot Schueler, a Public Works Commissioner, in District 1 (northwest Berkeley), which Linda Maio had represented since 1992. 

In District 1, Kesarwani fell short of 50% of first choice votes, but with ranked choice voting, she won when second choice votes cast for the third place candidate Margo Schueler, and for the fourth place candidate, Mary Behm Steinberg, were counted. The transfer of Schueler RCV votes favored Kesarwani over Tregub by 575 to 532 and put Kesarwani over 50%. 

In the Auditor’s race, Jenny Wong defeated Vladislav Davidzon by a huge margin, 92% to 8%. With 46,161 votes, Jenny Wong was easily the City’s top vote getter. 

Berkeley City Council -November 6 Election 


City Council  

District 1 


Number of Votes  


Percent of Votes  


Rashi Kesarwani  






Igor Tregub  






Margo Schueler  






Mary Behm-Steinberg  







District 4 






Kate Harrison  






Ben Gould  






Greg Magofna  







District 7 






Rigel Robinson  






Ces Rosales  






Aidan Hill  







District 8 






Lori Droste  






Mary Kay Lacey  






Alfred Twu  






Russ Tilleman  






Does not include small number of write-in votes 


School Board and Rent Board 

In the race for School Board, the three candidates who gained all the major endorsements and who had well-funded campaigns won easily over three other candidates who all fell short of winning even 5% of the votes cast. The winners were incumbent board member Ty Alper with 35,830 votes, and newcomers Ka’dijah Brown, a public school teacher and former chair of the city’s Youth Commission with 35,735 votes, and Julie Sinai, former chief of staff to Mayor Tom Bates, with 30,035 votes. Candidate Dru Howard finished fourth with 5710 votes, while candidates Norma Harrison and Abdur Sikder received 4605 and 4019 votes respectively. 

In the race for Rent Board, the slate of candidates selected by the Tenant Convention in the April won an easy victory. Incumbent commissioner James Chang was the highest vote getter with 32,532 votes. UC student Soli Alpert, the only non-incumbent on the slate, finished fifth in the race for five seats with 21,867 votes. Judy Hunt, who had been elected to the board in 2012 with landlord backing, finished sixth with 16,247 votes. Unlike in 2012, this year she was not running as part of a full slate of candidates. Incumbents Paola Laverde, Maria Poblet and John Selawsky, were also re-elected with 28,852, 25,433, and 25,419 votes respectively. Candidates David Buchanan and William “Three Hundred” Barclay Caldeira finished far behind, seventh and eighth, with 9937 and 5690 votes respectively. 

Berkeley Ballot Measures 

Berkeley voters overwhelmingly approved Measure O, the $135 million affordable housing bond measure, with 77.5% voting yes. Two-thirds approval was required. Measure P to increase the property transfer tax on properties selling for over $1.5 million also passed easily with 72.4% of the vote; only majority approval was required. Measure P passed despite massive spending by real estate interests in opposition to the measure. Through October 20, the No on P committee, “sponsored by realtors” had raised $238,250 to oppose the measure. The money came from the California Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. This money paid for a series of mailers opposing the measure. 

Measure Q passed easily as well with 71%, but provisions allowing rent control on rental units first occupied after June 30, 1980, with a 20 year exemption, will not take effect because of the defeat of state Proposition 10. Proposition 10 passed by a 52% to 48% margin in Alameda County, and certainly by a higher margin in Berkeley, but was defeated statewide with the current margin being 60% to 40%. San Francisco was the only other county with a majority of voters supporting the measure. Measure R, the Vision 2050 measure got the broadest voter approval with 85% voting yes. The measure calls for developing “a 30-year plan to identify and guide implementation of climate-smart, technogically-advanced, integrated and efficient infrastructure to support a safe, vibrant and resilient future for Berkeley.” 

Berkeley Ballot Measures November 6 Election 




Yes votes  


Percent Yes  


O affordable housing bonds  






P Increase in transfer tax  






Q Rent Control  






R Vision 2050  







Assembly District 15 

Buffy Wicks defeated Jovanka Beckles by a margin of 9,794 votes, 54% to 46%, in the Alameda County portion of the 15th Assembly District. In Contra Costa County, the counting of ballots is nearly complete and Wicks leads by 5382 votes, also a margin of 54% to 46%. When the Statement of Vote for the counties becomes available, it will be possible to see how Wicks and Beckles did in Berkeley and in other cities in the district. Beckles is part of the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA). RPA’s mayoral candidate Vice-Mayor Melvin Willis was defeated by incumbent mayor Tom Butt, who supported Wicks. RPA elected only one of its two candidates to the Richmond City Council, incumbent Eduardo Martinez. 


Turnout was way up this year in Berkeley compared to the last non-presidential election. Countywide, turnout was 67%. In Berkeley, 41,393 of 55,768 vote by mail ballots were returned, or 74%, according to the latest data available on the County Registrar of Voters Web site. In addition over 11,000 votes were cast at the polls. (The final total will be reported when the official Statement of Vote is released by the Alameda County Registrar of Voters.) 

The number of votes in Berkeley set a record for a non-presidential election year. 40,301 votes were cast in Berkeley in 2014, a 50% turnout, and 49,640 in 2010, a 63% turnout. Until this year the number of votes cast in a non-presidential year had never reached 50,000. Turnout was still well below that of a presidential year. In 2016, 65,430 votes were cast in Berkeley, a 78% turnout. The record year was 2008, when Obama was elected for his first term, when there were 66,703 votes. 

Student turnout was poor this year, though substantially higher than in 2014. Only 2809 votes were cast for Council candidates in District 7, the student super-majority district.