Thousands of provisional and vote-by-mail ballots have yet to be counted in Kern County. They could change the outcome of some Kern County races.

An estimated 15,000 provisional ballots are yet to be counted in the Golden Empire, while more than 57,000 vote-by-mail ballots are also set to be counted. 
County spokeswoman Megan Person said county elections representatives anticipate even more ballots will arrive in the mail.

“We need to wait until they’re all here, and then we can count them,” she said. “It’s a really important part of the process.” 

Some races are still extremely close. The margin between the “yes” and “no” votes for Bakersfield’s one percent sales tax initiative, Measure N, is extremely narrow. The “no” vote is in the lead, but just by about 2,500 votes.

In the race for the 32nd Assembly District, Democrat incumbent, Rudy Salas holds, a lead of roughly 2,000 votes over republican Hanford City Councilman Justin Mendes.

Many small races are also extremely close. In the race for McFarland City Council, the top two vote-getters will become the city’s new council members. Candidates Vidal Santillano and Sally Gonzalez are tied for second place with exactly 315 votes a piece. 

17 News political analyst, Cathy Abernathy said vote-by-mail and provisional ballots can make all the difference in smaller races.

“Absentee ballots after election night can make a difference if the election was really close. And when I say close, I mean one percent or less than one percent, and particularly in a small race where maybe there are 32 votes between 1st and second place.

Even so, Abernathy said the yet-to-be counted ballots won’t affect most races.

“Normally the absentee ballots break the same way election night, so I wouldn’t expect a lot of change,” she said.

Regardless of the results, Person said the focus of the county remains clear.

 “We’re making sure the numbers are right so that every voter’s vote counts.”