SACRAMENTO, Calif.- LAWFUEL – Legal Newswire –California’s county election officials are warning that the state’s election results will be delayed, despite bulking up on staff and volunteers needed to carry out the February 5th Primary Election – a result of actions taken by the Secretary of State last year.
“Counties are well prepared to conduct this election, and report results as soon as they become available,” said CSAC Executive Director Paul McIntosh. “However, because the Secretary of State decertified many counties’ electronic voting systems just six months ago, election officials have been scrambling to change election-day procedures for counting votes. Even with the sizeable number of additional volunteers who work tirelessly in precincts throughout the state, the process will take significantly longer this year.”
In addition, with close to 50 percent of the expected vote to be cast by mail, between 1 and 2 million ballots cast in this election will not be reported in election night totals. And, in any close race, it will take one to two weeks to have most of these ballots included in updated totals, according to elections officials.
“With the changes the Secretary of State has put into place, the fact is that it’s going to take us longer to get votes counted,” said Rich Gordon, CSAC President and a San Mateo County Supervisor. “We realize that California is a pivotal state in this election, and all eyes will be on our numbers, but, the fairness and accuracy of the election remains our primary concern. So, while our reporting may be delayed, we want to ensure that our results are correct.”
There are approximately 25,000 precincts throughout the state’s 58 counties, and about 16 million registered voters in the state. Counties need to recruit an estimated 100,000 poll workers across the state for this election, including more than 24,000 in Los Angeles County alone. The estimated statewide cost for counties to administer the February election is $110 million. Governor Schwarzenegger vowed to pay counties for these costs when he signed the law creating this extra election, although there is no mention of it in his January budget proposal.
“There are very few contests on the February ballot, which will help expedite the counting process,” said Steve Weir, Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder and president of the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials. “However, we are still looking at early Wednesday morning before we’ll have our numbers ready. This does not bode well for the upcoming elections in June and November, when the number of contests will be substantially higher.”
CSAC is a nonprofit corporation that promotes the interests of California’s 58 counties at the state and federal level. One of the association’s primary goals is to educate the public about the value and necessity for county programs and services. Founded in 1895, CSAC is based in Sacramento.
For more information, please visit the Elections section of the CSAC Web site: www.csac.counties.org/default.asp?id=301.