Capitol Alert

Yes, California has many ballots to count; No, Sanders won’t win

One week after California handed a large – if mostly symbolic – victory to Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary, elections officials are still counting more than 2 million outstanding ballots.

That’s an impressive number, more than four times the total number of registered voters in Washington, D.C., which holds its Democratic primary today. If you are a Bernie Sanders supporter – or follow one on Twitter – you might still think he has a chance to win California.

Think again.

Clinton, who became the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee a day before the California primary, currently leads Sanders by about 12 percentage points in California, or 472,826 votes.

The gap has tightened marginally since last week, with Sanders performing better – but still not beating Clinton – in late-tallied votes. According to the California Secretary of State’s latest figures, updated Tuesday, about 2.1 million absentee, provisional and other ballots have yet to be counted.

To surpass Clinton, Sanders would need to win remaining votes by a greater than two-to-one margin, according to Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll. It is likely that Clinton’s lead in California will shrink, possibly to single digits, he said. But nothing in the ballots counted on election night or in subsequent days suggests Sanders can overtake her.

“It’s almost impossible,” DiCamillo said.

David Siders: 916-321-1215, @davidsiders