Politics

4.1 million ballots left to process in California

Voters take part in early ballot casting at the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk in Norwalk on Wednesday morning, Nov. 2, 2016.
Voters take part in early ballot casting at the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk in Norwalk on Wednesday morning, Nov. 2, 2016.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

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While Election Day has come and gone, vote counting remains in full swing with more than 4.1 million ballots still to be processed across California, according to the Secretary of State's latest figures.

The most recent report published Tuesday shows progress in counties across the state, but there are still votes to be tallied that could tip close contests.

According to Secretary of State Alex Padilla, the state is on track to perhaps break the record for the number of ballots cast. California’s turnout in 2012 reached 72 percent of registered voters.

Padilla said one thing of note is the number of citizens who opted to vote by mail.

"More than 60 percent of ballots cast were done so by mail," he said. That compares to 51 percent in 2012.

Padilla has until Dec. 16 to certify the election results.

 

The remaining ballots could swing close races in the state, including U.S. Rep Darrell Issa's tight reelection race. Issa, a Republican, is currently about 4,600 votes ahead of Democratic challenger Doug Applegate.

Proposition 66, the "mend don't end" approach to the death penalty, is also narrowly leading — something those 4.1 million ballots could still tip.

Given the votes are from deep-blue California, they could also boost Democrat Hillary Clinton's lead in the national popular vote. Clinton is currently winning California by about 28 points, although Republican Donald Trump's win in the Electoral College makes this moot for practical purposes and more of value for the history books.

The vote by mail, provisional and damaged ballots that officials are scrutinizing can take longer to process since signatures need to be verified. The Orange County registrar has estimated that it takes about 51 hours to process a mail ballot dropped off at the polls.

If the 4.1 million figure seems nearly unchanged since last week, that's because it is. While thousands of ballots were processed, counties including San Diego that hadn't previously reported to the state now have their totals incorporated in the totals to date.

That led the statewide total to stay put at about 4 million.

Results in close races