Some Stanislaus County voters still don’t know who will represent them in Congress and the state Legislature, because mail ballots received on and after Election Day have yet to be counted.
Yet to be counted are more than 39,000 ballots which were dropped in the mail or dropped off at Vote Centers and Official Drop boxes by Election Day. In addition, over 84 provisional ballots, 425 conditional and more than 819 miscellaneous ballots also require staff scrutiny. Signatures on the mail ballots must be checked to verify the voter’s identity before they can be counted.
The Stanislaus County Elections Division had counted 79,777 ballots as of Thursday with results posted on the stanvote.com website prior to closing for Friday’s Veterans Day holiday. On Monday the office will resume processing those ballots. State law now requires clerks to count ballots received in the mail up to seven days after the election.
The over 40,000 ballots remaining to be processed could change the unofficial vote tallies and determine who wins races that are too close to call.
In Thursday’s update vote count, Republican John Duarte continued to lead in the 13th Congressional District which represents Ceres. Duarte, who runs Duarte Nursery in Hughson, led Democrat Adam Gray by 267 votes as of Thursday. Duarte had received 38,252 votes (50.2 percent) over Gray’s 37,985 votes (49.8 percent).
Gray is a member of the state Assembly from Merced County.
Marie Alvardo-Gil has widened her lead over fellow Democrat rival Tim Robertson in the 4th state Senate race. Alvarado-Gil had 99,253 votes (52.1 percent) over labor backed Robertson at 91,150 votes (47.9 percent).
In the 22nd Assembly District contest, Republican Juan Alanis was far ahead of Democrat Jessica Self as of Thursday though that lead diminished slightly in the newest tally. The California Secretary of State’s website had Alanis up in the 22nd Assembly District with 35,696 votes (56.9 percent) to Self who collected 27,071 votes (42.6 percent).
Donna Linder, Stanislaus County’s Clerk Recorder & Registrar of Voters (ROV) said her office is still processing ballots dropped off at Vote Centers and official drop boxes.
The process takes days as the signature on each envelope must be checked against the signature on the original affidavit of registration. After verification, each of the mail ballot envelopes must be sorted into one of the 199 precincts. Those envelopes must be opened, and ballots unfolded and fed through scanning equipment to tabulate results.
State Elections Code §3019 requires elections offices to allow time after an election for voters who forgot to sign their ballot envelope, or if the signature is being questioned. Linder’s office must then contact these voters and advise them of the challenge to their ballot. Those voters must come into the office to sign an “Unsigned Ballot Envelope Statement” or a “Signature Verification Statement.” Voters have up to two days prior to the day the election is certified to return their signed statements.
The Election office will release updated results Tuesday and Thursday evenings until count is complete.
The office will be closed Friday in observance of the Veterans Day and the canvass will re-commence on Monday.
California law requires certification of this election to be on or before Thursday, Dec. 8, which is 30 days following Election Day.
A total of 282,393 voters in Stanislaus County were eligible to vote in the Nov. 8 election.
The next vote tally will be released on Tuesday.