With likely millions of ballots still uncounted, final vote tallies in several California legislative, House and ballot measure contests will take days and possibly weeks to emerge.
As of mid-day Wednesday, election officials had reported counting 9.96 million ballots cast out of 19.4 million registered voters, a 51 percent turnout – for now. The ballot number and turnout percentage are sure to grow when millions of late-arriving ballots are processed and counted.
A state law allows election officials to count any ballot postmarked by Election Day that arrives within three working days. That deadline lands on Friday, the federal Veteran’s Day holiday, pushing the effective date to Monday.
In addition, voters Tuesday dropped off untold numbers of mail ballots at polling places, and election workers have to verify that that those people didn’t also cast an in-person ballot. Many provisional ballots also were cast. Orange County alone, for example, had an estimated 410,000 ballots unprocessed ballots Wednesday, almost double the total from this year’s presidential primary, when about one-quarter of the 8.5 million ballots ultimately counted were late-arriving mail and provisional ballots processed after Election Day.
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The first tally of unprocessed ballots from Tuesday’s election is scheduled for Thursday.
“It’s a multi-step process that just physically takes some time,” Orange County Registrar Neal Kelley said, saying the work involves multiple rounds of sorting, signature checking, scanning and other checks.
Outstanding ballots bear on district and statewide contests around the state, including Sacramento County’s 7th Congressional District race. Less than 2,100 votes separate Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, from his Republican challenger, Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones.
“With so many ballots left to count, the race is far from over and it may not be until next week or later that we know the outcome,” Jones said in a statement.
Other close races around California and the margins as of Wednesday afternoon:
49th Congressional District (San Diego, Orange counties): Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, one of the top House Republicans, leads Democratic challenger Doug Applegate by 3,980 votes.
12th Assembly District (Modesto): In an all-Republican race, Heath Flora leads Ken Vogel by 4,451 votes.
27th Assembly District (San Jose): In an all-Democrat race, San Jose Councilman Ash Kalra leads former council member Madison Nguyen by 3,854 votes.
40th Assembly District (Redlands): Assemblyman Marc Steinorth, R-Rancho Cucamonga, leads Democrat Abigail Medina by 4,530 votes.
60th Assembly District (western Riverside Co.): Democrat Sabrina Cervantes leads Assemblyman Eric Linder, R-Corona, by 3,753 votes.
65th Assembly District (Orange County): Democrat Sharon Quirk-Silva leads Assemblywoman Young Kim, R-Fullerton, by 1,542 votes.
29th Senate District (parts of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties): Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang, R-Diamond Bar, led Democrat Josh Newman by 3,887 votes.
Proposition 53 (revenue bond restrictions): Voters were rejecting the measure by 242,651 votes.
Proposition 66 (death penalty speed-up): The measure had a 151,496-vote lead.
Proposition 67 (plastic bag ban referendum): The yes-side had a 338,449-vote lead.