Update: Race Flips – Anderson vs. Vaus for County Supervisor: Fun with math

Barry Jantz Barry Jantz 2 Comments


Update – 11/10/20, 8:10 p.m. (See prior posts below)

With 2,078 ballots added today in District 2, the race has flipped in favor of Joel Anderson, who now leads Steve Vaus by seven votes. Seven.

To be clear, that’s seven out of over 286,000 cast. You’d have to go three spaces to the right of the decimal point for the percentage difference to even register.

Anderson received 52.84 percent of today’s added votes. About 33,000 ballots remain left to count region-wide.

Update – 11/9/20, 8:00 p.m. (See original post below)

Only 2,840 votes were added today in District 2, out of over 18,500 ballots tallied region-wide. Joel Anderson received 51.62 percent of the added votes. The gap between Anderson and leader Steve Vaus narrowed from 203 to 111 votes, out of over 284,000 votes cast in the race. About 43,000 ballots remain left to count throughout the county.

Original Post – 11/9/20, 10:45 a.m.

Sometimes you can expect close races of a few votes difference in smaller seats. But when over a quarter million votes are cast in a Board of Supervisors race, essentially one-fifth of San Diego County, a tantalizingly close contest is a bit unexpected.

But here we have it in the Second District, a race that pits former State Senator Joel Anderson (pictured, right) against Poway Mayor Steve Vaus (pictured, left), two Republicans vying to succeed a termed-out Supervisor Dianne Jacob.

When the first tally came up one week ago on election night, Vaus led Anderson by just over 4,000 votes, with about 198,000 ballots counted.

Since then, nearly every update has seen Anderson whittling away ever so slightly into the Vaus lead. Thursday through Sunday, the gap between the two has dwindled, from 1,245 votes, then daily to 914, to 715, to 414, and now to 203.

Over 281,000 votes cast, and the margin is .08, Vaus with 140,907 and Anderson with 140,704. This is the stuff of classics.

This very slight Anderson advantage in ballots mailed closer to election day is likely a result of his endorsement by the local Republican Party, resonating a tad more (and I do mean a tad) with Republicans, as many may have waited later to send in their ballots.

Now it comes down to the number of ballots left to count and whether Anderson can continue the rate he’s been getting of roughly 50.5 to 51.2 percent of each daily update.

The Registrar of Voters reports 64,000 ballots left to count throughout the region.

Let’s say 12,500 of those are in District 2 (no one really knows). If Anderson gets 50.85 percent of those (the same rate he had in Sunday’s update of over 12,000 ballots), he’d gain 212 more votes than Vaus does and win the race by nine votes.


It’s important to remember that even though there are 64,000 ballots remaining to count now, additional votes are likely still trickling in, mailed by election day but just reaching the Registrar’s office.

The more ballots left to count, the seeming benefit to Anderson. The fewer ballots, advantage Vaus.

But the race is definitely in play. It’s just close. Way.

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Full disclosure: I know both candidates. Anderson has been my close friend since college. I still believe I wrote this “straight up.”


Comments 2

  1. Keeping my fingers crossed for Joel! So are there any provisional ballots left to be counted and what about military ballots?

  2. Notable in this and other posts about close races: No mention of “illegal” ballots or voter fraud. California must be a haven for genuine democracy.

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