About 2 million ballots remain uncounted from this week’s primary election, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said Thursday.
The glut of mail-in ballots that arrived at election offices and polling places on Tuesday or were mailed that day means the outcome of some district-level races will be decided in the coming days as county election officials continue to process the vote. It also means that voter participation could near the 45 percent of registered voters the experts predicted if Padilla’s projections are correct.
Speaking at a Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce lunch, Padilla also said 6 million ballots have been counted so far.
As of early Tuesday afternoon, Padilla’s office had not posted county-by-county reports on the number of unprocessed ballots remaining. But assuming a total 8 million of 17.9 million registered Californians voted, that means 44.7 percent of registered voters and 32.5 percent of eligible residents cast ballots.
Padilla’s announcement falls in line with what experts had predicted. Tuesday’s turnout exceeded the 31.1 percent of registered voters who participated in 2012, but it fell well short of the 57.7 percent of registered Californians who cast ballots in 2008 when Barack Obama was running for the Democratic nomination against Hilary Clinton.
More Californians are mailing in the ballots, and a new law allows counties to receive ballots up to three days after the election as long as they are postmarked no later than Election Day. Those factors will likely delay some counties’ final voting reports a day or two, a Padilla spokeswoman said.
State law requires county elections officials to report their final results by July 8. Padilla has until July 15 to certify the results.
The outcome of a few still-undecided races will hinge on ballots yet to be counted. Among them:
▪ Assemblyman Roger Hernández, D-Baldwin Park, as of Thursday sits 222 votes out of second place as he seeks to extend through November his challenge to Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-Norwalk. He trails Republican Gordon Fisher for the second spot on the Nov. 8 ballot.
▪ Democrats Daniel Parra and Emilio Huerta, currently under 500 votes apart, are vying to take on Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, in the fall.
▪ Candidates are battling for second place, and a spot in the general election, in two liberal Assembly districts. In the Peninsula’s 24th Assembly District, Democrat Vicki Veenker has a lead of about 1,200 votes over Republican Peter Ohtaki. Around 1,700 votes separate Democrat Ash Kalra and Republican Van Le in the 27th Assembly District near San Jose.
Jeremy B. White of The Bee Capitol Bureau contributed to this report.