Following hand ballot count Torres-Walker beats Motts by 3 votes in Antioch Council race

Re-elected Antioch District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker and the final results of the election from the Contra Costa County Elections Division.

8 of the challenged ballots were not cured; results now certified; possible recount could be costly

“I don’t think I can do this without you…I want to partner with you” – Torres-Walker to Motts

Joy Motts and Tamisha Torres-Walker hug and speak following the hand ballot count on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022. Photo by Allen D. Payton

By Allen D. Payton

After waiting weeks for the ballot counting to be completed, including a hand count, a change in the lead then a tie as of last Wednesday, Nov. 23, and 19 challenged ballots that required curing, the Antioch City Council race in District 1 has been decided. Incumbent Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker beat challenger and former Councilwoman Jot Motts by just three votes. The final results according to the Contra Costa County Elections Division Torres-Walker ends with 1,467 or 34.36% and Motts has 1,464 votes or 34.29 percent of the vote. Diane Gibson-Gray ended the race with 1,339 votes or 31.26% to round out the close contest.

Following the hand count of the ballots at the county elections office on Thursday, the two candidates who were waiting and watching the hand count at the county elections office, along with one supporter, each, made brief comments, hugged and spoke with each other.

“It’s been a long haul,” Torres-Walker said with a laugh.

Speaking with Motts she said, “I don’t think I can do this without you. You love Antioch and I want to partner with you. I don’t know what people downtown want. You do. I want you to tell me, advise me and I want to work with you.”

A disappointed Motts agreed to then said about the election results and the hand ballot count, “I really appreciate they did this, that they took the extra time.”

Elections Services Specialist Evan Ayers (right) collects counted ballots from Elections Division staff during a hand count on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022. Photo by Allen D. Payton

Possible Recount Could Be Costly, 8 Challenged Ballots Not Cured

Regarding questions and discussions by some Antioch residents and others of a recount with the results so close, Assistant Registrar of Voters Helen Nolan said, “Anyone can ask for a recount, but they have to be willing to front the money to pay for it. The daily cost is anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000. It depends on the method the requester wants.”

“Yesterday, we used printed images of every ballot,” she explained. “A recount would not be dissimilar. We could use the images of the ballots which would take less time and cost less. The most expensive way and would take the longest time is if we have to pull the paper ballots from the stored ballots. That’s because we don’t store them by precinct anymore. They’re stored in batches as they came in. So, among the 1.3 million ballot pages from this election we’d have to find 4,500 ballots with the District 1 election votes on them.”

“If the election is overturned, they receive a refund,” she added.

Asked what difference another hand ballot count would make Nolan responded, “It wouldn’t. We’d be looking at the same ballots as we did, yesterday.”

However, during Thursday’s hand count the elections staff used copies of images of the ballots that had been scanned into the machines, not the actual ballots.

Elections Division Voting Systems Manager Travis Ebbert showed those watching yesterday’s count “three ballots that were adjudicated and required a human to make the decision,” Nolan explained. “We separate them by votes and anything you can’t tell they’re adjudicated and the vote determined. The two included votes for both candidates but the person had marked it out. That removed one vote each. The third one was either an overvote or it could have been a vote for either candidate and Tamisha still wins.”

“We went through all the ballots including the 11 out of the 19 challenged ballots were cured since Nov. 23,” she continued. “The other eight ballots remain challenged.”

“We didn’t get a letter back and we weren’t able to cure them,” Nolan stated. “Those were not counted, nor will those ballots be opened during a recount.”

“We’re required to keep everything for this election for 22 months,” she shared.

Asked about the latest vote totals on the Elections Division website Nolan said, “Those are the final numbers. We will be certifying them, today. But those numbers will not change.”

Results Certified

In a press release Friday afternoon, it was announced that Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder-Registrar Debi Cooper certified the results of the November 8, 2022 General Election today.

“Our elections team has once again administered an accurate, transparent, safe and secure election for Contra Costa County.  This team of expert staff made a very complicated and technical process look easy – it isn’t,” Cooper said. “I am proud of this talented group, who make democracy happen for Contra Costa voters and provide incredible service.  This includes: permanent staff, temporary workers, poll workers, and volunteers. I want to thank each of them for their hard work and civic service.  It is my honor and privilege to certify my last election as the head of this department.”

The Elections Division conducted the canvass to complete the official count of all qualified ballots and to perform audits to verify the tabulation equipment performed as intended.

The purpose of the canvass accomplishes four primary tasks: ensuring that every eligible ballot is counted, that voters only voted once, that proper procedures were followed, and that the vote tabulation system counted ballots properly.

The final turnout for this Primary Election totaled 394,153 ballots cast, representing 56.15% of the 701,969 registered voters of Contra Costa County.

The final official report for this election is now posted on the Contra Costa County Elections website at

the attachments to this post:

Ballot counting 2 12-01-22

Joy & Tamisha hug & talk 12-01-22

Tamisha Torres-Walker & final results

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