The procrastinator’s guide to Election Day in the Coachella Valley

No matter which of the nine cities you live in, we’ve broken down everything you need to know as one of the more consequential elections of recent years plays out.
Voters in La Quinta and across the Coachella Valley should know most of the outcomes of local races after votes are counted Tuesday evening.

Across the Coachella Valley, voters who haven’t already mailed their ballots back will complete that task or take to the polls Tuesday, helping fill seats and decide issues in all nine cities, on school boards and water districts, and in statewide and federal races.

No matter which of the nine cities you live in, we’ve broken down everything you need to know as one of the more consequential elections of recent years plays out.

Make sure to check out the complete guide to all races in the state courtesy of our partners at Cal Matters. You can also look up where to vote in person and everything on your ballot using this guide.

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National

The new US Census brought a change of districts for many, and in the valley it was no different. You can find your new district here by scrolling to the bottom to type in your street address. The following are races valley voters will be deciding:

  • The 41st Congressional District – composed of roughly of Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, La Quinta, Indian Wells, and Western Riverside County – will see incumbent Republican Rep. Ken Calvert taking on challenger Will Rollins.
  • The 25th District – which contains Indio, Coachella, Hemet, and parts of the Imperial Valley – has incumbent Democrat Rep. Raul Ruiz facing off against Republican Brian Hawkins.

State

Aside from contests for governor and other larger contests, as well as multiple ballot measures, there are a few local races for local representation in Sacramento. You can find your new district here by scrolling to the bottom to type in your street address.

Only one district (the 18th, which contains Indio, Coachella, and the Imperial Valley to the Mexico Border) will see a race for California State Senate. That contest is between Democrat Steve Padilla and Republican Alejandro Galicia.

In the State Assembly, both the 36th District and the 47th District have races being decided Tuesday. In the 36th, incumbent Democrat  Eduardo Garcia is challenged by the GOP’s Ian Weeks.

City

The city level is where things get the most interesting for most of you. Following is a city-by-city breakdown of what to expect.

CATHEDRAL CITY

Find your district here.

  • District 3: Mark Carnevale, the incumbent, is running unopposed.
  • District 4: Incumbent Ernesto Gutierrez is running against Rick Saldivar and David
  • District 5: Incumbent Raymond Gregory is running unopposed
COACHELLA

In Coachella, voters will decide on the mayor and two city councilmembers.

  • Mayor: Current Mayor Steve Hernandez is running against Denise Delgado.
  • City Council: Josie Gonzaes is the only incumbent vying for one of the two seats up for grabs. She’s up against Yurema Arvizu, Stephanie Virgen, and Frank Figueroa.
DESERT HOT SPRINGS

Find your district here.

  • District 1: Gary Gardner is the incumbent and he’s running unopposed.
  • District 3: Adam Sanchez is running against incumbent Jan Pye.
INDIAN WELLS

Indian Wells also doesn’t vote in districts, and also has three City Council seats up for grabs. Two of the seats are regular four-year terms, and the remaining seat is a two-year term to fill a vacancy after a council member resigned this year. 

  • Running for the full four-year term (Voting to fill two vacancies): Incumbent Dana Reed will face off against Toper Taylor, Ivan Moad, Douglas Hanson, and Bruce Whitman
  • Running for the short two-year term (Voting to fill one vacancy): One of two former councilmembers, Ty Peabody or Ted Mertens, will fill the vacant spot on council for two years. 
INDIO

Find your district here.

  • District 2: Incumbent Waymond Fermon is running unopposed. 
  • District 3: In the only contested race in Indio, incumbent Elaine Holmes is running against Jonathan Matthew Becerra
  • District 4: Oscar Ortiz, the incumbent, is running unopposed.
LA QUINTA

La Quinta voters are voting for a mayor with a two-year term and two city councilmembers with four-year terms.

  • Mayor: Alan Woodruff and Robert Sylk are running against incumbent Mayor Linda Evans.
  • Council Member: The lone incumbent, John Peña, is running for reelection against Deborah McGarrey, Richard Gray, Joseph Johnson, Brian Hanrahan.
  • Measure A: The measure would change city law to phase out permits for short-term vacation rentals (STVR).
    • A “yes” vote is in favor of prohibiting STVR permits.
    • A “no” vote is in favor of keeping STVR permits as they are.
    • Read more here 
PALM DESERT

Find your district here.

Palm Desert currently has just two districts, and in this election only voters in District 2 will be selecting members of the City Council. They will pick two out of the field of candidates. All voters will be voting on Measure “B.”

  • District 2: Mayor Jan Harnik is up for re-election against Gregg Akkerman, Evan Trubee, Gregory Meinhardt, and Carlos Garcia.
  • Ballot Measure “B”: This is  an advisory measure that asks voters for their recommendation on whether the city’s two districts should be split further into five districts.
    • A “yes” vote recommends dividing District 2 into four smaller districts to create a total of five districts.
    • A “no” vote does not recommend dividing District 2 into four smaller districts to create a total of five districts.
    • Read more here.
PALM SPRINGS

Find your district here.

  • District 1: Challenger Scott Nevins faces off against incumbent Mayor Pro Tem Grace Garner
  • District 2: Renee Brown and Jeffrey Bernstein are in the running for this seat where the incumbent elected not to run again.
  • District 3: Ron deHarte and Joy Meredith are facing off in another open seat where the incumbent chose not to run.
RANCHO MIRAGE

Rancho Mirage does not vote in districts, but has three City Council vacancies to fill. Candidates include the sole incumbent, Steve Downs, as well as Louisa Davis, Ken Ammann, Kim Martos, Meg Marker, and Lynn Mallotto.

School Boards

Three valley school districts and the community college district need to fill seats on their boards. The contests break down as follows:

Palm Springs Unified School District (PSUSD)

The district broadly covers Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs, Cathedral City, and Rancho Mirage. Find your trustee area by unchecking every box on the right except for “Trustee Area”

  • Trustee Area 3: Incumbent Karen Cornett is running unopposed.
  • Trustee Area 4: Candidate Charlie Ervin is running unopposed.
  • Trustee Area 5: In this contested race, incumbent John Gerardi is fighting for reelection against Kaden Cross.
Desert Sands Unified School District (DSUSD) 

This district comprises Palm Desert, Indian Wells, and La Quinta, and parts of Indio, Coachella, and Rancho Mirage. Find your trustee area here.

There will be four races to decide candidates in three trustee areas. One of the races is for a short term that will last until the winner of the full term takes office.

  • Trustee Area 1: Kailee Watson is running unopposed.
  • Trustee Area 2: In this Trustee Area, residents are voting on one seat, but two different terms. One is a short term and the other is the full-length term of four years.
    • Two candidates, Betty Callaway and Kurt Schoppe, are running for the full term only.
    • The remaining four candidates, Maryalice Alberg Owings, Humberto Alvarez, Jacob Alvarez, and Katherine Silveira, are running for both the short and full terms
  • Trustee Area 5: Voters in this Trustee Area will decide between Scott Baily and Michael Duran.
Coachella Valley Unified School District (CVUSD)

This district contains Coachella, Indio, Mecca, Thermal, Salton City. You can find your trustee area here.

  • Trustee Area 1: There are four candidates vying for two seats in this Trustee Area. Incumbents Joey Acuña Jr. and Blanca Hall are up against Valerie Garcia and Ben Gutierrez.
Desert Community College District (College of the Desert Board of Trustees)

Find your trustee area here.

  • Trustee Area 1: Larissa Chavez Chaidez is challenging incumbent Rubén AríAztlán Pérez for this seat.
  • Trustee Area 4: Joel Kinnamon is running against incumbent Aurora Wilson.

Healthcare Districts

The Desert Healthcare District has one race. You can find your zone here to see see if you’re voting for the candidates.

  • Zone 6: Two candidates are up for election – Kimberly Barraza and Chauncey L. Thompson.

Water Districts

Desert Water Agency (Find your division here), Mission Springs Water District (Find your division here), and Coachella Valley Water District (Find your division here) have contests on the ballot if you live within their borders.

DWA
  • Division 1: Voters will decide between Steve Bronack, Marcus John Miceli, and Steve Grasha in this race. 
  • Division 2: Alfred Valrie and Gerald McKenna are going head-to-head for this division.
  • Division 3: Two candidates, Jeff Bowman and D.G. Cook are facing off for this seat.
MSWD
  • Division 1: Incumbent Nancy Wright is seeking reelection against Amber Duff.
  • Division 5: Three candidates are up for election in this division, Andrew V. Alder-Larue, Alan “Alfie” Petit, and Ted Mayrhofen.
The Coachella Valley Water District
  • Division 1: Voters will decide between incumbent John Aguilar and Lewis Da Silva in this race.

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