BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – The Elections Office says we can’t call any local races until next week. Officials still have to process over 143,000 mail-in and provisional ballots. That means around 46% of the total vote has not been counted. County Clerk Mary Bedard says her team is working hard to get results.
“We’re working 12 hour days over the weekend at this point we’re open and processing things generally about 14 hours a day,” Bedard said. “So it’s getting them prepared, out of the envelopes, and then running them through the count room.”
She says there was around 75% voter turnout which is typical for kern in a presidential election. Vote by mail ballots represented 86% of votes so far. Bedard says the office expected more in-person voting.
“I think we expected more people to vote at the polls than did. We got limits on how much equipment we got, handle the process the vote by mail, how much space we got in our office, that’s a limiting process, so it just takes time.”
The Elections Office spent most of last week verifying signatures on those mail-in ballots. Now they just have to count them.
“Wednesday and Thursday we were signature checking and we weren’t doing additional counts,” Bedard said. “We had to confirm the signatures before we can even begin the counts. So that was what most of last week was and now we can begin the counts”
The process of counting ballots is taking longer in kern than in most counties in California. Even counties with similar voter turnout – like Fresno, Ventura, and San Joaquin – have counted ballots at a faster rate. Los Angeles County had over four million votes to process – and only has around 14% left.
“We’re doing it as fast as we can we’re just processing them,” Bedard said. “We want to make sure it’s done right and we’re following the process that needs to be followed.”
Bedard says they’re counting mail in ballots that arrived on or after election day. Everything before then is already counted. And they don’t expect to receive a lot more ballots in the coming days.