Close Contests: Some races have candidates separated by 20 votes or less

Close Contests: Some races have candidates separated by 20 votes or less

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Spotlight Schools is a nonpartisan, hyperlocal newsroom covering education in Orange County and this is our weekly newsletter.

This week's newsletter may look a little different as it is dedicated to only covering the preliminary results from yesterday's General Election with a focus on the races for school boards in Orange County.

If you haven't signed up for our newsletter, click here. And be sure to visit the Spotlight Schools website to read more local education news, check out past editions of our newsletter, learn more about our newsroom and even become a supporter of our journalism. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter for news and updates. 

Please send feedback/story ideas/questions to hello@spotlightschools.com.

Yours in knowledge,

Jeannette Andruss, Co-Founder and Chief Editorial Officer

🗳 Vote 2022: Preliminary Election Results for School Board Races in O.C.

Election Day is over and now comes the task of counting all of the votes. In Orange County, voters have been able to cast ballots for weeks. And it could take local election officials many days to tally all the votes.

Here’s why: ballots can be processed as early as seven days before Election Day but cannot be counted until the polls close, as CalMatters reports. In addition, mail-in ballots postmarked as late as Election Day can be counted through Nov. 15.

That means it could take more time to determine the winners of close contests. Early election results show a few tight races for school boards in Orange County.

The two candidates running to represent Trustee Area B on the Cypress School District Board of Education are currently separated by just 12 votes. In the race for Los Alamitos Unified School District Board of Education, Trustee Area 1, the leader is just 20 votes ahead.

The Orange County Registrar of Voters’ office released updated tallies around six times after the polls closed last night and into early this morning representing the first batch of mail-in ballots received before Election Day and unofficial results from in-person voting. 

The ROV office’s reporting schedule states it will post updates every weekday by 5:00 p.m. until the last official results are posted. Track the updates here. County elections officials must certify results by Dec. 8. California's Secretary of State will certify the election results on Dec. 16. 

While the outcome of many races has yet to be determined, Spotlight Schools is sharing preliminary results from the ROV's office on school board races across Orange County.

Scroll below to see screenshots of tables from the ROV's website showing unofficial results for the races for 24 school boards out of the 28 school districts in Orange County. These tables represent vote counts that were released around 12:15 a.m. today. (Be sure to check the Spotlight Schools Instagram account where we will be posting updated results in the days ahead.)

Unofficial election results as of 12:15 a.m.

Remember, some districts that were scheduled to hold elections this November did not. That’s because “the number of candidates that qualified for the ballot is equal to or less than the number of seats up for election in that office,” according to the O.C. Registrar of Voters, Bob Page. In these cases, the candidates will be appointed to the seat per election law. See which school districts were impacted here.


California voters also decided on two other issues directly related to education including the race for the state’s top education official, the Superintendent of Public Instruction. As of 12:39a.m., incumbent Tony K. Thurmond was leading challenger Lance Christensen 63.5% to 36.5%. For the latest vote tally, click here

It appears public schools will receive more funding for arts education. Proposition 28, which would require the state to spend more money, around $1 billion annually, on arts and music education in public schools, is passing with 61.9% voting in favor as of 12:39 a.m. today. For the latest vote tally, click here. Read more about what passage of Proposition 28 could mean for public schools from EdSource.


While we do not yet know the official turnout for yesterday's midterm election, it appears that people were more energized to vote in 2022 than in the recent past. 

According to recent voter registration data from California’s Secretary of State, nearly 22 million people, or 81.63% of people eligible to vote in the state, registered to vote for the Nov. 8 election. That’s up from 78.16% from the midterms of 2018.

The California Republican Party, conservative groups and candidates had been organizing around education, parental rights and frustration over Covid-19 policies in public schools in their campaigns for local school boards, as reported by CalMatters and EdSource.

According to recent surveys of midterm election voters, education was not the top issue for many people. A recent poll from The National Parents Union showed that parents were more motivated to vote in the midterm election but it was the economy, not education that was “the big issue galvanizing them,” according to national education news outlet The 74. A recent Pew Research study showed the economy as the top priority for voters. 

Share your thoughts! Please tell us what motivated you to vote, or not, in your local school board election. Email hello@spotlightschools.com.

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