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February 5, 2023

Election 2020: Live updates from Gilroy


Marie Blankley, who is on pace to become Gilroy’s next mayor, shared a photo and statement with the Dispatch:

I am deeply humbled and appreciative of everyone who has supported me. I’m empowered by the confidence the voters place in me. I want the best for Gilroy, my hometown, and will work everyday to do what I think is best for our city.

Marie Blankley (center) is joined by her supporters during an election night gathering at her home. Submitted photo


President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden are locked in a tight race as Election Day comes to an end.

The contest isn’t nearly as close among Santa Clara County voters.

Biden received 78 percent of the county’s votes, while Trump garnered 20.30 percent, according to early election results released at 10pm Nov. 3.

Although Trump has received more financial support from Gilroy residents, Biden leads the vote count in every precinct in the city, early results show.


Zach Hilton, in the third round of early results, has maintained his first-place standing in the five-person Gilroy City Council race.

As of 10pm, Hilton received 25.02 percent of the votes, leading Fred Tovar by 549 votes.

Three will be elected to the council, which so far appears to be Hilton, Tovar and Rebeca Armendariz.

Hilton released the following statement to the Dispatch:

Thank you to everyone who supported me in this journey, congrats to all the other candidates who won tonight, and to those that lost, know that by you running for office, you have kept our democracy alive. Having choices on the ballot is important to our democracy. I joined the City of Gilroy Bicycle Pedestrian Commission because I saw a lack of leadership in my community when it came to bike and ped. I couldn’t agree more with Bill Gates when he stated, “I like to push the level of risk of doing things that wouldn’t happen without leadership and vision.”

Whether it’s accomplishments we have made in Safe Routes To School, welcoming new businesses that push the comfort level and allow us to grow as a Community, like a Hillside Adventure Park behind Gilroy Gardens, the introduction of e-bikes/e-scooters, or paving the way for our own community to have the ability to develop and maintain a BMX Bike Park in our park system. The role that our Commission plays in the community makes me proud each day. Along that journey I saw too many missed opportunities and I am proud to say today that with all the support and love from you all, we will finally have a seat at the table. To my donors and supporters, thank you so much for believing in this campaign. All along, it was always about you. Those that walked neighborhoods, made phone calls, jumped on LIVE Q&A’s, sent out mailers, placed lawn signs, placed large campaign signs, spread the word about the campaign around the region, and were there to focus me…thank you from the bottom of my heart. To those that didn’t vote for me, know that I will work hard to represent a Gilroy that is Livable for All. I hope that over the next four years, I can gain your support.

Thank you to my best friend and wife Katie who is truly the one person that centers me in life and I love how we continue to support each other’s ventures. To my daughter Avery whom many of you know because she is usually at all these meetings with me (she was elected to her student council at El Roble this year), I bring you to these meetings for two reasons. One is because you are the best reminder to decision makers that we need to always think of the future generations, not just the current, and two, because I hope that it inspires you to always be a leader in your community and realize that you have control of your destiny. We as leaders have the responsibility to turn this City over to you in better shape than we received it.

What it all boils down to is that I’m a kid who was raised in Berkeley, California by a mother who instilled civic duty and question authority at a very young age. I wish Mom could be here tonight to see this in person. Thank you for entrusting me with this honor tonight, now it’s time to celebrate, and then get to work.


Local tax measures that would fund water and flood protection-related projects and Caltrain are winning handily with early election results tallied so far by election officials.

Measure S—a parcel tax that would continue to fund Valley Water’s Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection program—is winning with about 77 percent of the votes counted so far. The measure requires a two-thirds majority for approval.

If approved, Measure S could raise up to $45.5 million annually for capital projects that improve the valley’s drinking supply and flood protection. These projects include $54.1 million for Anderson Dam; $46.3 million for Upper Llagas Creek; $10 million for the Pacheco Reservoir expansion; $9.8 million for pipeline improvements and upgrades; and $38.7 million for encampment cleanup, among many other projects, according to Valley Water.

Holding a commanding lead in three counties is Measure RR, a one-eight cent sales tax that would raise up to $100 million annually for the next 30 years to fund Caltrain operations and improvements. The measure was proposed by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, and was thus on the ballot in Santa Clara, San Mateo and San Francisco counties on Nov. 3.

As of 9pm, Measure RR is ahead of the two-thirds majority required to win in all three counties: 69 percent in Santa Clara, 75 percent in San Francisco and 73 percent in San Mateo.


Zoe Lofgren appears headed to a 14th consecutive term in Congress based on early results.

As of 8:43pm, the Democratic San Jose congresswoman garnered 77.4 percent of the vote against Republican challenger Justin James Aguilera for California’s District 19 seat on the House of Representatives.

The 19th District covers most of Santa Clara County, including all of Morgan Hill and parts of Gilroy.

For District 20, incumbent Jimmy Panetta, a Democrat, has a resounding lead in early results, garnering 81.4 percent over Republican Jeff Gorman.

Panetta, who was first elected to the seat in 2016, is seeking a third term representing California’s 20th District, which covers parts of Gilroy, San Benito County, the City of Santa Cruz and the southernmost reaches of Monterey County.

John Laird leads Vicki Nohrden for the State Senate 17th District seat in the first round of reporting, early unofficial results show.

Laird, a Democrat, had 69.6 percent of the votes, while Nohrden garnered 30.4 percent.

The 17th District encompasses Gilroy and Morgan Hill, as well as all of Santa Cruz and San Luis Obispo counties and parts of Monterey County.


Melissa Nicholson Aguirre received double the amount of votes over incumbent BC Doyle in the Gilroy Unified School District Governing Board Area 6 contest, early results show.

As of 8pm, Aguirre garnered 1,001 votes, while Doyle received 490.

In Area 2, incumbent Mark Good has a large lead over challenger Nirza Starks, with 65.04 percent of the votes.

In Area 3, Michelle Nelson has 65.56 percent of the vote. Jonathan Hurtado, who dropped out of the race in early October after a District Attorney investigation reported that he falsified his address on campaign documents, received 546 votes. Kevin Moller garnered 220 votes.


Marie Blankley has taken a commanding lead in the Gilroy mayoral race, the first round of results show.

Blankley earned 68.66 percent, or 8,006 votes, compared to her opponent Reid Lerner’s 3,655 votes.

In the Gilroy City Council race, Zach Hilton led all vote-getters with 6,657 votes, early results show.

Three seats are up for election, with incumbent Fred Tovar and Rebeca Armendariz placing second and third, respectively.

Incumbent Carol Marques is finding herself 845 votes out of the top three, according to early results. Danny Mitchell is fifth in the five-person race, with 13.84 percent of the vote.

The next vote count update will be at 9pm, according to county elections officials.


The polls are now closed across California. 

County elections officials will work through the night counting ballots. 

“California elections officials prioritize the right to vote and election security over rushing the vote count,” said Secretary of State Alex Padilla. “By law, county election officials have 30 days to count every valid ballot and conduct a post-election audit. Every vote-by-mail ballot goes through signature verification. Several safety nets to protect voting rights, including Same Day Voter Registration and provisional ballots, require additional processing time by elections officials, but we’d rather get it right than get it fast.”


The waiting game is approaching.

Polls close at 8pm, and early results are expected to be released shortly after on the county elections website.

The large election night parties have become a thing of the past thanks to Covid-19. Many Gilroy candidates that we talked to said they were going to have small gatherings at home or at various businesses around town.


Election Day is going smoothly from the public safety perspective, Gilroy Police Sgt. John Ballard said Tuesday afternoon.

Tensions are high across the country as law enforcement braces for possible unrest as the early results are released.

“We do have increased staffing and other officers remain on stand-by as a precaution,” Ballard said.

Although there are no known specific election-related threats of violence or property destruction in South County, law enforcement authorities are advising residents to report any suspicious behavior on Election Day.

Morgan Hill Police and the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center on Nov. 2 issued the following “unified message” to describe their role in providing public safety during the election:

Although we have no known threats at this time, we are asking for the public’s assistance with addressing crime and threats in our community from those that may be planning violence or attempting to disrupt the election. Public safety measures can only be effective when they involve strong collaboration between law enforcement and the communities that we serve. All federal, state and local public safety and election officials are united in efforts to make this election safe.

One of our efforts relates to suspicious activity reporting, a concept in which law enforcement and homeland security leaders have partnered with communities to create a strategy that unifies the work of agencies and organizations in identifying and sharing information reasonably indicative of preoperational planning associated with terrorism or other criminal activity, while protecting privacy, civil rights and civil liberties.

Law enforcement, homeland security and elections professionals, want to ensure that the public understands how to report suspicious activity to their local law enforcement agency related to the elections. We also want to ensure that all law enforcement agencies understand the process for the collection, analysis, and submission of suspicious activity reports to the NCRIC and the FBI. With your help, law enforcement will have the ability to identify and stop potential threats of violence in your community.


The public should contact law enforcement via 9-1-1 when an immediate response is needed regarding suspicious activity for any type of crime, including terrorism. Your local law enforcement agency will share your reporting with the NCRIC and FBI.

We are asking the public to call 9-1-1 if they see any of the following suspicious behavior:

• Breach/Attempted Intrusion

Unauthorized personnel attempting to enter or actually entering a restricted area, secured protected site, or nonpublic area. Impersonation of authorized personnel (e.g., police/security officers, janitor, or other personnel).

• Misrepresentation

Presenting false information or misusing insignia, documents, and/or identification to misrepresent one’s affiliation as a means of concealing possible illegal activity.

• Theft/Loss/Diversion

Stealing or diverting something associated with a facility/infrastructure or secured protected site (e.g., badges, uniforms, identification, emergency vehicles, technology, or documents {classified or unclassified}), which are proprietary to the facility/infrastructure or secured protected site.

• Sabotage/Tampering/Vandalism

Damaging, manipulating, defacing, or destroying part of a facility/infrastructure or secured protected site.

• Cyber Attack

Compromising, or attempting to compromise or disrupt an organization’s information technology infrastructure.

• Expressed or Implied Threat

Communicating a spoken or written threat to commit a crime that will result in death or bodily injury to another person or persons or to damage or compromise a facility/infrastructure or secured protected site.

• Weapons Collection/Discovery

Collection or discovery of unusual amounts or types of weapons*, including explosives, chemicals and other destructive materials, or evidence, detonations or other residue, wounds, or chemical burns, that would arouse suspicion of terrorism or other criminality in a reasonable person.

* This activity is not inherently criminal behavior and is a constitutionally protected activity that must not be documented by law enforcement in a suspicious activity report that contains personal identifying information (PII), unless there are articulable facts or circumstances that clearly support the determination that the behavior observed is not innocent, but rather reasonably indicative of pre-operational planning associated with terrorism or other criminal activity.

Race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity must not be considered as factors for reporting (but attributes may be shared in specific suspect descriptions for identification purposes only).


Besides the steady flow of voters at the three Vote Centers, all is quiet around Gilroy during the early afternoon of Election Day.

Expect to see more activity such as sign waving later in the afternoon, as candidates and their supporters make one final push to draw voters.

Traffic was light on the freshly paved First Street early afternoon Tuesday. Photo: Erik Chalhoub


As it has across the state, early voter turnout and ballot returns in Santa Clara County have set records. As of Tuesday morning, 687,265 ballots were cast in Santa Clara County, according to elections officials. That compares with 349,042 at the start of Election Day in the 2016 Presidential General Election.

Polling closes at 8pm.

Election results will be available at The first results with preliminary Vote by Mail ballot tallies will be online shortly after voting ends at 8pm.The Registrar of Voters’ Office will post updated results on its website at Election Results and on its Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages twice daily, at 10am and at 5pm through the week of the election. After the week of the election, results will be updated daily at 5pm. Included in the daily updates are ballots such as provisional and damaged and/or unreadable ballots.


The Gilroy Police Department, one of three Voting Centers in the city, has been busy with a steady stream of voters since it opened Oct. 31.

In fact, as of Nov. 2, it is the 10th most visited Vote Center out of the nearly 100 throughout the county, according to county voting staff.

Julie Guerrero, Vote Center lead, stands inside the center at the Gilroy Police Department late Tuesday morning. Photo: Erik Chalhoub

During the late morning on Election Day, voters waited to enter the center in a socially distant line that reached the police department’s steps.

“We’ve been busy since we’ve opened,” said Julie Guerrero, one of the lead staff at the center.

Guerrero said the center has been drawing many first-time voters, adding that the site was much busier than it was during the primary in March.

Vote Center staff Raymart Rota wipes down a voting booth after it had been used. Photo: Erik Chalhoub

“We’re excited that we have all these new voters,” she said. “It’s amazing. Everyone seems very positive.”

Guerrero said the site hasn’t had any issues, with all voters wearing their masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19 while staying at least six feet apart from each other.

Guerrero, a Gilroy resident who has been working voting sites for 40 years, noted the uniqueness of the pandemic during the election, but said otherwise Election Day has felt the same as in previous years.


Santa Clara County Supervisor Mike Wasserman, who represents South County on the board of supervisors, issued the following Election Day statement this morning:

I have heard it too many times: “My one vote doesn’t make a difference.” This statement is simply not true. In Santa Clara County alone, several recent races were so close that they triggered recounts, including one race that was decided by a two-vote margin!

The 2000 presidential election was one of the most contentious and closest in American history. After 105,421,423 ballots were cast, George W. Bush lost the popular vote by 543,895, but won the electoral college with 271 votes to Al Gore’s 266.

Looking further back, the 1876 presidential election was marred by allegations of voter fraud, voter suppression and threats of violence. It became the longest and most controversial election up to its time and threatened to tear apart the country. Finally, on March 2, 1877 Rutherford B. Hayes lost the popular vote to Samuel J. Tilden by some 250,000 votes but won the electoral college by a single vote!Your vote matters. Please return your ballot at any of the county’s 98 drop boxes today or visit a vote center to participate. It is our duty and our right to pick our representatives. Results will become available after 8:00 pm.


The Gilroy Dispatch will be posting live election updates throughout the day (and night) on Nov. 3.

We’ll be updating this post frequently with election-related news, photos, reactions, results and any other tidbits we can find.

Gilroy voters will choose a new mayor, as well as three city council members and three Gilroy Unified School District trustees, among other races.

As of Oct. 30, 1,022,243 voters are registered in Santa Clara County, according to the Registrar of Voters’ Office.

As it has across the state, early voter turnout and ballot returns in Santa Clara County have set records. As of Oct. 29, 511,326 ballots have been cast in Santa Clara County. That compares with 260,991 at the same point in time before the 2016 Presidential General Election.

“Just a couple of weeks ago we broke a record for reaching the one million registered voters mark in Santa Clara County, now we’re seeing a record number of ballots being returned early,” said Registrar of Voters Shannon Bushey. “It is exciting to know that there are so many voters in Santa Clara County—whether brand-new voters or longtime voters or somewhere in between—who are eager and excited to be part of the democratic process.”

Keep checking this post frequently for updates.

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