It looks more and more like incumbent Barbara Payne and former vice mayor Randy Shelton will return to the Galt City Council, with incumbent Tim Raboy tasting defeat after more than nine years on the council.
With all 17 precincts counted, Payne has 1,885 votes (22.3 percent), Shelton has 1,730 votes (20.4 percent) and Raboy has 1,383 votes (16.3 percent). Two seats were available in Tuesday's election.
Candidates Tom Santillan, George Romano, Rick Salton, Kelly Keagy, Rodney Stanhope and Frederick Goethel trailed in the voting.
That doesn't mean the contest is over, though. Shelton has a 347-vote lead over Raboy for the second and final council seat, but Sacramento County has 121,000 votes-by-mail and 19,700 provisional ballots from throughout the county to tally.
City Clerk Liz Aguire said she has told council candidates to sit tight and wait for the Sacramento County Voter Registration and Elections Department to tabulate those extra ballots. The county has 28 days from election day to certify the election, but an update is expected on Friday, according to county officials.
Aguire estimates that perhaps only 200 ballots within the Galt city limits remain to be counted, so it appears to her that Payne and Shelton will prevail over Raboy. If Aguire is right, then Payne and Shelton are the winners.
"What I can't take into account is voter turnout," Aguire said. "I don't know what that is yet."
Shelton said Wednesday, "I remain optimistic about it, but I can't celebrate until it's over."
Galt City Council members recall all too vividly how close the 2006 election was. Donald Haines and Darryl Clare claimed easy victories, but the vote count between Shelton and Andrew Meredith kept going back and forth, even after election day.
Early results on election night two years ago showed Shelton beating Meredith, but after all 10 precincts were tabulated, Meredith held the lead by 70 votes.
After the first update of vote-by-mail ballots on Nov. 14, 2006, Shelton took over the third spot by 31 votes and held on until the last absentee ballots were counted later in the month. In the final tally, Meredith was elected by 27 votes over Shelton.