More Than a Third of OC Primary Ballots Have Not Been Counted

An Orange County polling place. Photo courtesy of the Orange County Registrar of Voters.

An Orange County polling place. Photo courtesy of the Orange County Registrar of Voters.

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If you thought the primary election was finished in Orange County on Tuesday, think again. Roughly 35 percent of the votes that were cast still must be counted, according to Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley.

This translates to about 170,000 of the roughly 500,000 ballots cast in the Orange County primary election.

It’s impossible to know which, if any, candidates may see their Tuesday results changed by the ongoing count, but Kelley and others said unless a race was extremely close, trends tend to remain steady. He said he plans to have all ballots counted and the election certified by June 22, considerably sooner than the 28 days allowed by law.

Kelley noted that Orange and San Mateo counties are the only ones certified to use an electronic voting system, which helps speed the counting in those counties. Other counties use only paper ballots.

He said 60,000 absentee ballots were turned in at polling places Tuesday, a record for a primary election in the county. The other outstanding ballots waiting to be counted were primarily absentee ballots that arrived within three days of the election and paper ballots cast at polling places.

The 12,000 votes counted today made only a fractional difference and didn’t change any of the high-profile county races.

Sheriff Sandra Hutchens held onto a clear majority of the vote, avoiding a runoff in November. Fullerton City Councilman Shawn Nelson is substantially ahead of Anaheim City Councilman Harry Sidhu in the race for the Fourth District seat on the County Board of Supervisors.

Nelson can take office after the election is certified, but he still faces a November runoff against Sidhu in the contest to fill the seat of former Supervisor Chris Norby, who now is an assemblyman.

And Deputy Treasurer Keith Rodenhuis is still in a November runoff against Huntington Beach City Treasurer Shari Freidenrich.


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