Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

California is Slow to Count Ballots, Some Ballot Measures Still Too Close to Call

If this were a battleground state, important in determining a national election, we would be a complete laughingstock

As of Tuesday, a full week after the national election, California has only counted 82 percent of the vote. An estimated 2,740,846 ballots have not yet been counted. If this were a battleground state, important in determining a national election, we would be a complete laughingstock.

Even under normal conditions, California allows county election officials nearly a month before they have to report their final results for presidential electors to the Secretary of State. After that, the election does not have to be certified by the Secretary of State until December 11.

This year, of course, there were a significantly larger number of mail-in ballots that had to be counted. In the past, voters who wanted to use absentee ballots had to request them ahead of the election. This year, every active, registered voter was sent a vote-by-mail ballot. Each of these ballots, once it arrives at the county recorder, must have the voter's signature verified and a check made to ensure the individual has not already voted elsewhere.

The large number of outstanding ballots makes the result uncertain for some of the statewide propositions - those with less than 2.7 million votes difference between a "yes" or a "no."

Measures that are still too close to call include permitting the sale of bonds to conduct stem cell research, adding to commercial property tax, and other tax changes.

Below are the results of the election regarding the statewide propositions with notations regarding those that cannot be called definitively due to outstanding ballots:

Proposition 14 - Bonds to continue stem cell research

YES - 7,506,987 (but too close to call)

No - 7,177675

Proposition 15 - Commercial property tax, allegedly to fund schools

Yes - 7,215,988

NO - 7,720,152 (but too close to call)

Proposition 16 - Racism - excuse me, affirmative action - in government hiring and school admissions

Yes - 6,4144,493

NO - 8,324,142 (fairly definitive)

Proposition 17 - Gives vote to felons on parole, though that isn't how they put it

YES - 8,788,908 (fairly definitive)

No - 6,105,732

Proposition 18 - Reduces voting age to 17

Yes - 6,652,673

NO - 8,273,513 (fairly definitive)

Proposition 19 - Confusing property tax changes, penalizes heirs to property

YES - 7,477,507 (but too close to call)

No - 7,130,103

Proposition 20 - Reverses mistakes of Props 47 and 57 that reduce penalties and allow violent criminals early release

Yes - 5,507,591

NO - 9,059,982 (definitive)

Proposition 21 - Gives rent control back to the state rather than local government

Yes - 5,956,821

NO - 8,776,627 (pretty definitive)

Proposition 22 - Allows Uber/Lyft drivers to remain independent contractors

YES - 8,659,171 (fairly definitive)

No - 6,172,667

Proposition 23 - Imposes new regulations on dialysis clinics

Yes - 5,351,181

NO - 9,365,690 (definitive)

Proposition 24 - Confusing amendation of online consumer privacy laws

YES - 8,179,364 (pretty definitive)

No - 6,404,018

Proposition 25 - Eliminates money bail system

Yes - 6,397,860

NO - 8,107,067 (pretty definitive)


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