by Jim Nintzel
One of the sleepiest election cycles in recent memory is coming to an end next Tuesday, Nov. 5, as city voters decide the Ward 3 race between incumbent Democrat Karin Uhlich and GOP challenger Ben Buehler-Garcia, and the Ward 5 race between incumbent Democrat Richard Fimbres and GOP challenger Mike Polak.
It’s the second election cycle to feature the city’s all-new, all-mail election system, with ballots sent to every voter and just seven polling places set up around town.
The ballots went out on Oct. 17 and a brief look at the returns as of Tuesday, Oct. 29, shows that the Democratic candidates are looking pretty good.
A total of 16,425 Democrats have returned their ballots, while just 9,146 Republicans have sent theirs back in. Another 6,653 voters that we can loosely call independents have also sent in their ballots.
So unless Buehler-Garcia and Polak are getting highly unlikely crossover numbers, the Dems have a solid lead.
But the all-mail system is a new one and those returns represent just 14 percent of the 225,294 ballots that were sent out. So a bunch of voters may still send in their ballots this week, and a bunch may still drop them off on Election Day.
BTW: If you haven’t yet mailed in your ballot by Thursday, Oct. 31, you’ll want to drop it off at one of the six polling places on Election Day. Here's where they'll be.