Updated Nov. 15 at at 2:20 p.m.
CALIFORNIA CITY — An update by Kern County Elections Department continues to support faces on the California City city council.
The update was posted at 3:37 p.m. on Sat, Nov. 14.
The unofficial results show Jeanie O’Laughlin maintaining a solid lead for mayor, with 1,443 votes, or 37.83% of the vote. Councilman Nick Lessenevitch, who still has two years left on his term, came in second at little over 10 percentage points behind, or 27.76%, earning 1,039 votes. Mayor Pro Tem Don Parris was third with 494 votes, incumbent Mayor Chuck McGuire with 465 votes and candidate Samuel Pope, Sr. with 373 votes
Karen Macedonio and planning commission chair Jim Creighton also maintain their leads for the two available full-term city council seats. Macedonio earned 2,236 votes, or 41% of those cast, followed by Creighton with 1,7537 votes. Incumbent Councilman Ron Smith trailed in third with 1,455 votes.
In the bid for the short-term council seat, businessman Kelly Kulikoff pulled ahead of candidate Kim Welling in the most recent update. Kulikoff, as of Saturday, was ahead with 1,268 votes (34.68% of the vote) to Welling’s 1,217 votes (33.29%). In third place was LaMiya Patrick with 693 votes and Marcus Fair with 78 votes.
In other local races, some candidates still maintain their lead from the initial results reported following the Nov. 3 election.
For the two available Mojave Unified School District governing board seats, incumbent and current board president Larry Adams remains in the lead with 2,097 votes (or 27.18%), followed by candidate Brandon Tate with 1,691 votes (21.92%). Candidate Carolinda Fleming came in third with 1,431 votes, followed by incumbent Toni Evans with 1,339 votes and Rueben Garcia with 1,158 votes.
Three new faces are still in the making for the Mojave Air and Space Port board of directors since the Nov. 10 update.
Candidate Robert Morgan leads with 2,498 votes, or 24.76%, followed by Chuck Coleman with 2,240 votes (22.2%). For the third seat, candidate Diane Barney maintains a scant lead over incumbent David Evans; Barney earned 1,413 votes while Evans has 1,401 votes. Trailing behind are incumbents Terry Allred (1,290 votes) and Andrew Parker (1,247 votes).
For the two seats on the Southern Kern Unified School District board of trustees in Rosamond, candidate Robert Vincelette holds his lead with 3,923 votes (42.98% of the ballot), while incumbent Carol Robinson appears to keep her slim lead with 2,529 votes (28.63%); candidate Dewine Moore has 2,592.
Kern County Elections still has to verify signatures on tens of thousands of mail-in ballots and count them, according to Mary Bedard, the county auditor-controller and registrar of voters.
"I know everybody is concerned," Bedard said. "We're running through as fast as we can with the space we have and equipment we have."
The Bakersfield Californian reported that counting paper ballots is a multistep process that is painstaking, humble work in some ways and completely automated in others. To be sure, it is a far cry from the speed of counting votes that have been cast on a machine in-person.
According to the Californian one of the first steps in the process is to run the sealed envelopes containing the ballots through a machine that scans the signature on the outside of the envelope. (While drop boxes for mail-in ballots were made available throughout the county, Bedard said most ballots arrived through the mail.)