April 19, 2024
Mail-in ballots are tabulated on the San Diego Registrar of Voters workplace in Kearny Mesa. Picture by Chris Stone

Seventeen days after voting resulted in California’s major, there are 56,000 ballots left to be counted, and a half dozen congressional and legislative races remained too near name. 

Whereas the uncounted ballots had been lower than about 1% of the 7.7 million solid, individuals are once more asking why it takes so lengthy for California to complete counting votes.

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California began mailing ballots to all registered voters for the November 2020 election. This 12 months, about 50% of ballots solid had been counted on major evening March 5, in comparison with 41% in June 2022, in line with information from the California Voter Basis. 

However processing mail-in ballots can take time. Any ballots postmarked by March 5 and obtained by March 12 nonetheless get counted. Additionally, there are a variety of steps county elections places of work take to make sure the integrity of every voter’s poll, a few of which may’t begin till after election day. And counties have various ranges of staffing or assets that may affect how shortly the work is finished. 

“It’s not nearly counting ballots, though that’s critically necessary,” mentioned Ryan Ronco, president of the California Affiliation of Clerks and Election Officers and registrar of voters for Placer County. “It’s additionally about counting ballots precisely with workers that you’ve that may decide to that mission — realizing that there are additionally different legally required initiatives that we have to full throughout this era.”

These counties which have completed counting embrace a number of small ones, but in addition a couple of bigger ones resembling San Francisco and San Diego. California’s most populous county, Los Angeles, has counted greater than 1.6 million ballots, and has about 4,000 left to go.

Whereas a part of the delay is because of guaranteeing accuracy, prolonged vote counts can create mistrust amongst some voters.

The state handed new legal guidelines to try to pace up the method. One new legislation permits counties to instantly scan vote-by-mail ballots from individuals who carry them in particular person. Placer County did so this major: About 8,000 individuals used the system of the practically 15,000 who got here to vote facilities. 

One other new legislation permits counties to contact voters through electronic mail or textual content for signature verification. However each legal guidelines simply went into impact on Jan. 1, and never all counties have had the time or assets to choose in but. 

In Orange County, the final batch of notification letters had been despatched out March 13, in line with Bob Web page, the county’s registrar of voters. Voters have till two days previous to certification of the election to reply. 

The county can also be engaged on processing provisional and conditional ballots, and resolving points with ballots that had been broken or marked improperly. As of Tuesday night, the county had processed about 678,000 ballots, and had practically 12,000 left to rely. 

Counties have till April 2 to report the ultimate outcomes of the presidential primaries to the Secretary of State’s workplace, and till April 5 for different state races. The Secretary of State will certify the ultimate major outcomes by April 12. 

CalMatters is a public curiosity journalism enterprise dedicated to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it issues.