The three elections that will determine the majority of the makeup of the College of the Canyons board of trustees for the coming years received their first ballot return numbers shortly after 8 p.m. on Tuesday.
The Santa Clarita Community College District, which governs COC, has a five-member elected board whose elections are held every two years, with the trustee areas staggered.
The first board meeting in the December following the election is the swear-in date for the candidates selected in November. The terms are for four years.
This year, three seats on the board were open in Trustee Areas 2, 3 and 4.
In Trustee Area No. 3, the only election where an incumbent was not running to retake their seat, Sebastian Cazares and Fred Arnold were running a close race on Tuesday heading late into the night.
“I think even though you expect a lot of people to reject a young candidate, I think a lot of people in our community have been wanting youth and student representation,” said Cazares on Tuesday, after the 20-year-old watched the first batch of votes come in showing him in the lead. “And I just had a good feeling that the voters would support our students and a youth leader stepping up.”
“The process was exhilarating and challenging during COVID, it required you to have creativity when it came to reaching out to the electorate,” said Fred Arnold, Cazares’ opponent in the Area No. 2 race. “There’s so many different facets to running for any elected office and it has allowed for a lot of creativity and thoughtfulness.”
Both candidates thanked the volunteers and people in their lives who had helped support them and establish their campaigns.
“The other thing I learned the most and that is if you just put a lot of effort into everything you do, and you treat people with kindness and respect, when you need help, they’re always there,” said Arnold. “My volunteers have been amazing.”
“I think the election will reflect not only the uniqueness of my candidacy, but also my dedication to the college, and this community and the support I’ve gained from the faculty (at COC),” said Cazares. “I hope that the results are going to be reflective of the campaign we ran and also that this community is ready for a student voice.”
As of 10:25 p.m. on Tuesday the results for all three elections had not yet been decided. However, as of the press deadline, the partial results were as follows for each race:
Trustee Area No. 2 (as of 10:25 p.m.)
Edel Alonso (Incumbent): 10,883 (60.81%).
Tony Watson: 7,014 (39.19%).
Trustee Area No. 3 (as of 10:25 p.m.)
Sebastian Cazares: 10,479 (53.02%).
Fred Arnold: 9,287 (46.98%).
Trustee Area No. 4 (as of 10:25 p.m.)
Michelle Jenkins: 9,744 (51.27%).
Jerry Danielsen: 9,261 (48.73%).