UPDATED – November 18 OC Election Update: Brandman-Moreno Tied; Ling Ling Clings To Tiny Lead Over Josh Newman

You cannot make this stuff up.

The Council District 3 race – upon which the balance of power on Anaheim City Council hinges – is tied:

It’s our understanding all the ballots in District 3 have been counted. If so, state law says the winner is decided by a coin flip.

The loser of the coin toss can request a recount, and this could wind up in court a la Janet Nguyen-Trung Nguyen in the 2007 special election in the 1st Supervisor District.

In the unlikely – and since this is Anaheim, that word is employed cautiously – event it is tied at the end of the day, state law says the winner is decided by another coin flip. The strangest turn of events would be for the winner to be determined by a coin flip, and then lose the upcoming drawing of lots and have to run again in two years.

To summarize: control of the Anaheim City Council could be decided by a coin flip.

Have all the ballots in District 3 been counted? There still 92,484 uncounted ballots county-wide. The Registrar of Voters has sorted the provisional ballots by cities – but not districts within cities, and informed OC Daily this morning (November 19) there were about 3,000 uncounted Anaheim ballots, which are part of the Senate District 29 processing; that would encompass District 1,2 and most of 3. He said his office should get “pretty darn close” to counting those ballots today.

As is always the case when there are close elections, observers have challenged ballots. The Voice of OC reports:

“As Brandman’s lead has shrunk, the tension has increased and the tactics have changed inside the Registrar’s office. Challenges to provisional ballots (presumably by Brandman’s people because those ballots have skewed toward Moreno) skyrocketed to nearly 200 on Thursday, Kelley confirmed.

But Kelley said he determined only three of those ballots should be disqualified. “

When OC Daily reached out to Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley this morning, he those “nearly 200 ballots” were actually county-wide, not specific to Anaheim – which undermines the presumption the challenges were from “Brandman’s people.”

Furthermore, Kelley said those challenged ballots were mostly Vote-By-Mail (VBM) ballots, not provisionals as reported by the Voice of OC.  He also the three disqualified ballots were all VBMs; he said none was from District 3. Kelley said one was from Lake Forest and believed another was from Newport Beach. He did not DQ any provisionals brought to him for review.

Kelley said when ballots are challenged, they then go through “a second tier with very experienced full-time folks. That process is also observed.”

“I don’t see those unless they are challenged for a final appeal,” explained Kelley. He said five to seven provisional ballots came before him for review on Thursday, and another six to eight on Friday.

Keep in mind these ballots he is discussing are county-wide.

While the number of DQ’d  is small, given the District 3 margin even one or two could decide the race, or precipitate a recount.

OC Daily will keep you posted on this topsy-turvy race.

Senate District 29
Adding up the published results from the registrars of Orange, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties – all updated late this afternoon – GOP Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang has a slim lead of 187 votes over Democrat Josh Newman:

Ling Ling Chang:  146,920     50.03%

Josh Newman:       146,733     49.97%

It’s so close we have to go out two decimal places.

How Many Ballots Left To Count?
From the OC Registrar of Voters this morning:

November 19, 2016 – As of this morning we have approximately 92,484 ballots left to count. Here’s the breakdown of those ballots:

Vote-by-mail ballots: 2,277
Vote-by-mail ballots dropped off at polls: 5,227
Provisional ballots: 83,376 
Election Day paper ballots: 1,342
Late eligible ballots: 262

The vast majority of paper ballots left are in two categories:

  1.  Needing duplication (the ballot was damaged and could not be scanned, it was a military ballot voted on a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot, or there are extraneous identifying marks on the ballot)
    2.  They are orphan ballots and must be matched with the missing page

The bulk of ballots left are provisional ballots – these ballots have been sorted by cities (not districts within cities) and Assembly and Senate districts. We are currently working on the 29th Senate District race and the 49th Congressional District race. As of last night we have about 11,000 provisional ballots remaining in the 29th SD and 5,200 in the 49th CD. Our operations will continue today with our next update scheduled for 5pm on Monday.

A rundown of ballot estimates left can be found here. 



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