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LAUSD Election Results: District 2 And 6 Candidates Declare Victory, But Votes Are Still Being Counted

District 2 Results

District 6 Results

Here's L.A. County's schedule for the release of new vote totals
  • Estimated time of the following releases is between 4- 5 p.m.

  • Tue, Nov. 22 | Fri, Nov. 25 | Tue, Nov. 29 |Fri, Dec. 2

  • And if needed, Monday, Dec. 5

  • The vote count as of Nov. 18:

    • 2,441,323 ballots have been processed and counted
    • 80% of those were mail-in ballots
    • 20% voted in person
  • Still to be counted:

    • Vote by Mail ballots: 22,200
    • Conditional Voter Registration ballots: 3,000
    • Provisional ballots: 50

About these districts

After 10 days of ballot-counting in tight races for two seats on the L.A. Unified school board, two candidates declared victory Friday night.

In LAUSD Board District 2 — which spans several neighborhoods in central and east L.A. — Rocío Rivas declared victory over María Brenes.

“There is so much work to be done,” Rivas said in a statement on her Twitter account, “and I am ready to bring my very best to all of our constituents — teachers, students, parents, neighbors. You can count on me to serve our district with unwavering dedication.”

Meanwhile, incumbent Kelly Gonez said she believed she would win re-election to the District 6 seat, which covers much of the east San Fernando Valley. Her opponent, Marvin Rodríguez, has not conceded; the count in that race does remain close.

What's At Stake

For the last decade, LAUSD board elections have been a running referendum on the role of charter schools and teachers unions in the nation's second-largest K-12 district. In the past, outside interest groups have poured money into wave after wave of attack mailers, hoping to sway voters in elections that directly affect the futures of half-a-million LAUSD students.

This year has been a little different. Charter politics have been part of this campaign; charter-allied donors and their rivals, United Teachers Los Angeles, both spent heavily. But combined, they've spent far less than in recent elections, and on far fewer negative ads.

Meanwhile, a third group is spending far more than it's ever spent on an LAUSD race: SEIU Local 99, the labor union that represents non-teaching district workers, and whose priorities don't match either the "pro-charter" or "pro-UTLA" positions.

Plus, the COVID-19 pandemic stirred up other issues that have crowded out the debate over charter schools, issues like: lower test scores, dropping student enrollment, and finding a role for school police after 2020's racial reckoning.

Board District 2 Candidates

María Brenes

Since 2002, Brenes has run the Boyle Heights-based advocacy group InnerCity Struggle, which has organized residents around a number of issues, including education. Brenes' organization is part of a coalition that has pressured LAUSD to adopt less-restrictive discipline policies, raise graduation standards, and funnel more funding into the district's neediest schools. Brenes has touted her endorsement by SEIU Local 99. She's also received the support of philanthropist Bill Bloomfield and Reed Hastings — teachers union critics who have often allied with charter school causes.

Rocío Rivas

In 2019, Rivas ran against Jackie Goldberg for the open District 5 seat on the LAUSD Board. After losing to Goldberg, Rivas went to work for her. After the LAUSD board's electoral boundaries changed, Rivas opted to run for the re-drawn district that now included her home: District 2. Rivas boasts a doctorate in comparative and international education and briefly worked as a contracted researcher with LAUSD. Before joining Goldberg's office, Rivas was an activist with ties to several UTLA-adjacent causes; the teachers union has endorsed Rivas.

Board District 6 Candidates

Kelly Gonez

A former classroom teacher and U.S. Department of Education staffer, Gonez won this East Valley seat in 2017 and currently serves as the board's president — the youngest person to ever hold that title. She won her first term with the support of pro-charter groups. As she seeks a second term, Bloomfield and Hastings are spending to boost her candidacy. But she also won UTLA's endorsement, further complicating the narrative about charter-versus-union politics in LAUSD elections. She's also benefitted from SEIU Local 99's financial support.

Marvin Rodríguez

For 17 years, Rodríguez has taught in L.A. public schools, including the last nine years at Cleveland Charter High School, an LAUSD-run campus in Reseda. In 2003, Rodríguez was deployed to Kuwait and Iraq after his unit in the Marine Reserves was activated. After he returned to the U.S., he completed his degree at Cal State Northridge and got a job teaching in a local charter school.

A Note On The Results

  • Keep in mind that in tight races particularly, the winner may not be determined for days or weeks after Election Day. In L.A. County, the first batch of results released includes vote by mail ballots received before Election Day, followed by early votes cast at vote centers before Election Day, then votes cast in-person on Election Day. This process is expected to wrap up in the early hours of Nov. 9. Then, additional results will be released following a schedule you can see on the county's site. In California, ballots postmarked on or before Nov. 8 are counted toward the results as long as they arrive within seven days of the election. Results must be certified by county election officials by Dec. 8.

Tracking Your Ballot

You can track the status of your ballot:

If your mail-in ballot is rejected for any reason (like a missing or mismatched signature), your county registrar must contact you to give you a chance to fix it. In Los Angeles County, the registrar will send you a notification by mail and you have until Nov. 28 to reply and "cure" your ballot.

How We're Covering This Election

  • Early voters and mail-in ballots have fundamentally reshaped how votes are counted and when election results are known.

  • Our priority will be sharing outcomes and election calls only when they have been thoroughly checked and vetted. To that end, we will rely on NPR and The Associated Press for race calls. We will not report the calls or projections of other news outlets. You can find more on NPR and The AP's process for counting votes and calling races here, here and here.

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