The Sacramento County Elections office reported Thursday that a member of its warehouse crew found 407 uncounted ballots cast in the Nov. 6 election sitting unopened in a sealed bag on a shelf.
Jill LaVine, registrar of voters for Sacramento County, said that 92 precincts were associated with the newly discovered ballots. The ballots were found Feb. 7 as workers were going through red supply bags in preparation for the next election.
LaVine said an analysis showed that the ballots - had they been counted - would not have changed the outcome of any of contest in the 92 affected precincts.
"Upon discovery, after my stomach dropped, we called County Counsel, I called the Secretary of State legal counsel, I alerted the board (of supervisors) and then we went through the ballots and put them in precincts" to determine if any could alter a close race, LaVine said.
Typically, ballots are delivered to the Elections Department in pink bags, LaVine said. But there were so many vote-by-mail ballots that a worker at the Natomas Community Center, one of the voting places, asked the driver of a nearby county elections supply truck for an additional bag.
Instead of receiving a bag designated for overflow ballots, she was given a red supply bag, which typically holds provisional envelopes, pens, registration cards and the like.
When the bags were delivered to Elections headquarters later for counting, the red bag was diverted to a supply shelf.
The 407 uncounted ballots are to remain sealed and will be stored for 22 months, as required by law, before they are shredded, LaVine said.