Political Notebook

Early Fresno city mail ballot returns favor Democrats over Republicans

Mail ballots are already being cast in the Fresno mayor’s race between Henry R. Perea, left, and Lee Brand. As of Thursday, 6,248 ballots had been returned.
Mail ballots are already being cast in the Fresno mayor’s race between Henry R. Perea, left, and Lee Brand. As of Thursday, 6,248 ballots had been returned.

It’s been close to two weeks since City of Fresno residents began voting ahead of the November 8 general election, and so far half the ballots returned have been from Democrats.

These ballots matter in the Fresno mayor’s race. It is technically non-partisan, but mayoral candidate Henry R. Perea must like what he sees so far because he’s a Democrat.

That said, his opponent, Republican Lee Brand, has been making direct pitches to Democrats, including a mail piece this week that says “Join Democrats and community leaders in supporting Lee Brand.”

In fact, both candidates have been trying to woo voters from the opposing party.

And the race is technically non-partisan, so while nobody hides their party registration, it seems slightly less important than partisan races at the state and federal levels.

That said, the sample size to date is very small, and could change as more ballots are received at the County Clerk’s office.

As of Thursday, only 6,248 ballots had been returned. Of those, 50 percent are from Democrats, 34 percent from Republicans, 16 percent from third parties and independent voters and 23 percent from Latinos.

So far, both Democrats and Republicans are outperforming their registration numbers, while Latinos and third parties/independents are underperforming.

There’s 224,682 registered voters in the City of Fresno, and of those, 119,794 have signed up to vote by mail. That means that as of Thursday, 5.2 percent of registered voters have returned their ballots.

Of the entire voter registration universe, it is around 2.8 percent.

The number will certainly grow. Mail ballots will be counted up to and a few days past Election Day, and voters will also go to the polls on November 8.

City of Fresno Mail Ballots

Issued: 119,794

Returned: 6,248*

Percent return: 5.2

* As of Oct. 20

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