BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — It’s been three days since the polls closed and many local races are still too close to call. County election officials say roughly 76,000 ballots are yet to be counted in Kern. This leaves many wondering why it’s taking so long to count your votes.
If you voted in this election chances are, your ballot hasn’t yet been counted. Election officials have a long way to go. We still don’t know the outcome of Tuesday’s primary election and the county elections office says it’s still counting tens of thousands of ballots.
Local election officials largely point the finger at the time taken to process vote-by-mail ballots.
In a statement to 17 News, Kern County Registrar of Voters Mary Bedard says: “The processing of mail ballots does take longer than poll place ballots, not only because of the security feature of checking the signature to confirm that it is coming from the voter, but also the process of opening the envelopes, extracting the ballots, unfolding and flattening them so they can be processed through the tabulator.”
To make things worse, some election workers tested positive for COVID-19 forcing the department to use other county workers to help process ballots.
Bedard estimates Kern’s turnout to be about 26%. A figure included on the Secretary of State website includes only ballots already counted. County elections division posted an update on local election returns Friday, but it was a small one, and didn’t change the leader boards in any of the local races still too close to call.
That includes the battle for the 3rd District Supervisor seat. The top two candidates will be in a runoff in November, but it’s still not clear who that will be. The first and third place candidates are separated by just 1,030 votes.
“How does it feel, as a candidate, knowing your race is still too close to call?” 17’s Moses Small asked candidate Jeff Flores.
“As a candidate I’m eagerly awaiting the results,” said Flores. “I have to be patient. The results will eventually come, and then we’ll have the closure we’re all seeking.”
“I think we’d all like to see a result come back a little bit more quickly than we’ve seen,” said Louis Gill, also running for the Kern County Board of Supervisors 3rd District. “But what’s really important is getting it right.”
The same thing is happening in the 22nd Congressional district. Assemblyman Rudy Salas is the clear leader. Incumbent David Valadao is ahead of Chris Mathys by just 12-hundred votes in the three-county race to join Salas on the November ballot.
Vote-by-mail ballots had to be postmarked by Election Day, but it could take days for those to arrive at the elections office. The deadline to certify the election is July 15.