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California Election Tally May Be 3 Million Votes Shy

Even if you got a sticker on California's election day, your vote may not have been tallied yet. (via Flickr)

Even if you got a sticker on California’s election day, your vote may not have been tallied yet. (via Flickr)

Shortly before California’s primary election Tuesday, The Field Poll announced that more voters would be casting ballots by mail in the primary than would vote in person at the polls. The Golden State also saw a record number of voter registrations ahead of the primary. Despite the fact that The Associated Press announced that Hillary Clinton had clinched the nomination the day before the primaries, all eyes were on the close race between Clinton and Bernie Sanders in California.

Clinton declared victory late Tuesday night, and the AP reported that she had beaten Sanders in California by more than 10 percent. Despite these claims, news outlets are reporting that millions of mail-in ballots have yet to be counted. The Los Angeles Times reports:

The independent Target Book, a publication that handicaps congressional and legislative races, called it “probable” that as many as 3 million ballots could remain uncounted by [the] time Tuesday night ended. And traditionally, said the analysts, those ballots tend to have come from Democrats, young and Latino voters.

As of early Wednesday morning, about 5 million ballots had already been counted, but there was no official word on how many remained. State election law gives counties 30 days to finish their canvassing of votes cast. Secretary of State Alex Padilla must receive certified results from each of California’s 58 counties by July 8.

This news comes amid reports of a chaotic voting process throughout California on primary night. Many voters were reportedly given provisional ballots due to problems. Michael Hertz, a poll worker in North Hollywood, said his experience Tuesday was “a poster child for uncounted ballots.” He writes:

[T]he machine we were given jammed at around 10 a.m. and couldn’t be fixed. The remaining regular ballots voted were dumped into the ballot box with the machine counted ballots, so they would all have to be recounted. …

The voter rolls weren’t complete. Even when people showed up at the right precinct with timely registration, the voter rolls did not show them. I remember a man gave an address that showed only his wife’s name as a registered voter, even though he had been registered at the same address. And there were many instances of people who had registered within the past month or so whose name were not included in the rolls.

Other voters and poll workers shared their experiences via social media:

As of this writing, Los Angeles County estimates that more than 500,000 ballots remain uncounted. In California, vote-by-mail ballots must be postmarked by the date of the election and must be received by the county elections office no more than three days after the election. And while many across the country may have been focused solely on the presidential primaries, dozens of political races throughout California were too close to call—making these uncounted ballots all the more important. Election officials are required to turn in nonpresidential results to the California secretary of state’s office by July 8.

If anything, this massive swath of uncounted ballots reflects inaccuracy in the AP’s reporting. “Although the Associated Press declared 100 percent of districts reporting as of Wednesday, the reality is that ballots from vote-by-mail voters in California haven’t even all been delivered by the mail carrier to their destinations yet,” Inquistr explains. “Bernie Sanders trails Hillary Clinton by about 438,000 votes as of Wednesday afternoon. So, while 100 percent of the districts have reported, far from all of the ballots have been counted in the California primary.”

—Posted by Emma Niles

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