Five days after Tuesday’s historic election and there are still a mountain of Orange County ballots left to count, a testament to the huge turnout.
According to the OC Registrar of Voters, there were 414,397 uncounted ballots after Election Day. The ROV has counted 35,718 since then – all of them vote-by-mail ballots — leaving 378,679 ballots of all kind left to go.
Here’s the breakdown of remaining ballots:
60,088 vote-by-mail ballots.
174,174 vote-by-mail ballots returned at the polls.
108,000 provisional ballots
22,500 Election Day paper ballots
13,917 vote-by-mail ballots received after Election Day
There are several close races in which the outcome could be changed by these ballots: Senate District 29, Assembly District 65, the 1st Supervisor District and Anaheim Council Districts 1 and 3.
Supervisor Andrew Do currently leads Santa Ana Councilwoman Michele Martinez by a 6,071 votes (53.1% to 46.9%). That’s a sizeable lead, particularly since most political insiders were predicting a Martinez victory. This could still change: Do led Martinez by 4,058 votes the day after the June primary election; by this point in the counting Martinez had surged to a nearly 1,000 vote lead. It’s good news for Supervisor Do that he’s still ahead at this point, but no one on either side of that contest is going to relax for a few days.
Thus far, in AD65 Assemblywoman Young Kim is trailing former Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva by 1,773 votes out of 102,019 counted. The conventional wisdom is Quirk-Silva will emerge victorious, but it’s safe to say whomever wins will do so by one point, maybe two. It’s entirely possible AD65 is becoming a swing-district that changes hands every cycle, although GOP chances are being seriously compromised by deteriorating registration in the district has dropped to 32%.
In SD29, GOP Assemblywoman Ling Lin Chang holds a small lead of 50.9% to Democrat Josh Newman’s 49.1% – 4,133 votes out of 223,003 ballots counted so far.
In Anaheim’s District 1, Mayor Tom Tait’s candidate, Denise Barnes, holds a narrow 133 vote lead over fellow Republican Steve Chavez Lodge, who was supported by a coalition of business and public safety. Barnes has been leading all week, with the margin fluctuating between 108 and 133 votes. It’s a small lead, but a tough one to overcome within such a small voter universe.
In District 3, Jose F. Moreno initially trailed Councilman Jordan Brandman by more than 700 votes but had cut that lead in half by the day after the election. Brandman has held a steady lead since then, and is currently ahead by 312 votes. The big question mark is how late and provisional ballots will impact the outcome of this contest between a radical leftist Democrat (Moreno) and a business-oriented liberal Democrat (Brandman). If Brandman prevails, Tait’s final battle to gain an ostensible council majority will have fallen short.
UPDATE (2:13 p.m. on November 13): from the OC Registrar of Voters:
Signature checking on vote-by-mail ballots that were dropped off at polling places, or mailed on Election Day, will begin to wrap up early this coming week. We have approximately 15,000 left to process in preparation for signature review. There are about 30,000 that have been opened and are being prepared for scanning, and we have scanned an additional 46,000 ballots on Saturday.
There are still a large number of vote-by-mail ballots (that were dropped off on Election Day) that are in the category of damaged (torn), or that need duplication due to extraneous marks or unreadable vote selections. We are targeting Tuesday afternoon to begin processing provisional ballots, but this date may change depending on final preparations for processing provisional ballots (all rosters must be reconciled and vote-by-mail ballots must be processed).
Our next results update will occur at 5 p.m. on Monday and will continue each weekday at 5 p.m.