The Riverbank Elections Office was the only one open at City Hall last Friday. It was a rare occurrence with city offices, which are usually closed on alternating Fridays.
City Elections Clerk and Election Official Annabelle Aguilar was alone in her office on that day, since it was the official filing deadline for this year’s council elections. The filing period officially closed at 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 10.
According to local election codes, if the incumbent does not file for reelection by the deadline, the period would be extended by five days for other applicants to file their nomination papers.
In the case of the election in the newly formed District 3, both council members Cal Campbell and Leanne Jones-Cruz have filed nomination papers by the deadline, so there would be no extension on that deadline, and since there is no incumbent in the new District One, no extension there, either.
There are three candidates who met the deadline for filing in the new District 1.
In November, the changeover to the new “By-District” Election System will be completed.
In response to the possibility of legal challenges and the state Voting Rights Act of 2001, city-wide voting and candidacy is transitioning to the “by-district” system, according to officials. Votes will now be made for candidates within a specific geographic boundary or district.
Back in the 2016 General Election, district boundaries were set and Council member Darlene Barber-Martinez, representing District 4, in central Riverbank, and newcomer (at the time) Cindy Fosi, representing District 2, in southwestern Riverbank, were elected.
Districts 1, in the east, and 3, in the northwest, also were set but not voted upon, since the seats of the other two council members, Cal Campbell and Leanne Jones-Cruz, were not up for re-election.
This year they are.
The trouble for voters is, both Campbell and Jones-Cruz live in District 3, and will be running against each other in the fall, since no other candidates qualified by the deadline.
City records show that Jesus Aguiniga took out nomination papers on Aug. 9, the day before the deadline, but according to Aguilar, they were not returned.
Following the fall election this year, District 1 and District 3 will be formally established.
Residents Luis Uribe, Vernon “Jack” Whorton, Jr., and Eva Nash all filed their nomination papers by the deadline for the District 1 seat. Nash first filed her papers by Aug. 9, but didn’t quite have enough qualifying signatures.
She made a ‘supplemental’ filing by the deadline on Friday that brought her enough signatures.
Mayor Richard D. O’Brien’s seat is not affected in the fall, because it is elected “at-large,” meaning the entire city can vote for him. And since he was re-elected in 2016, it won’t be until 2020 that electors will cast their votes in that race again.
There will be another matter for voters on the fall ballot, Measure B. It will decide whether the city can impose a business license tax, up to 10 percent on cannabis businesses and dispensaries, to help fund general municipal services.
A simple 50-percent plus one vote will pass, or defeat, the measure.