With vote counting entering its last day, Republican candidate Andrew Do’s lead has tightened from 239 votes to 85 in the contentious race for county supervisor in central Orange County.
This comes after a day in which lawyers and observers from both campaigns sat with election officials to dispute ballots.
Just six out of over 1,200 provisionals ballots have been disqualified so far.
Meanwhile, mail-in ballots continue to be counted, as well as some provisional ballots.
Now, all eyes turn to the final batch of votes that are expected to be delivered tomorrow. Those ballots are enabled by legislation last year from Do’s challenger, former state Sen. Lou Correa, that allows Election Day mail-in ballots to be counted.
Do now has 18,698 votes, which is 85 more than Correa, according to results posted at 5 p.m. by the county Registrar of Voters.
The difference amounts to a 0.1 percent margin among the 48,045 votes counted so far between five candidates.
About 760 ballots are outstanding, comprised of mail-in ballots received today and provisional ballots that need extra scrutiny, according to Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley
That’s in addition to an unknown number of vote-by-mail ballots that will arrive tomorrow.
Of the ballots yet to be counted, Correa would need them to tilt by at least 86 in his favor over Do to take the lead.
Today’s counting was of provisional ballots, with the county registrar’s office filled with dozens of observers representing both campaigns.
Many provisional ballots were challenged by the observers, with Kelley gathering with attorneys for the candidates to review them.
That process involved pulling up the voters’ registration forms and comparing signatures on the forms with those on ballots to confirm a match.
Of the more than 200 provisional ballots challenged today, six were disqualified by Kelley.
The election has had many political observers hanging on the edge of their seats, given the tight results and high stakes.
Do emerged at the end of election night with a razor-thin lead of two votes, with over 6,100 ballots left to count at the time.
Do is a lawyer and a former chief of staff to state Sen. Janet Nguyen when she was a county supervisor. Correa most recently served as a state Senator representing central Orange County.
Whoever wins the race will occupy one of the five seats on the powerful Board of Supervisors, which oversees the county government of more than 3 million people and its budget of more than $5 billion.
The county government is responsible for numerous law enforcement, public health, social services, mental health services, parks, tax collection and other key services that affect the daily lives of county residents.
The winner of this week’s election likely won’t get much of a rest from campaigning. They’ll only be filling in the last two years of Nguyen’s term before the 2016 general election.
Final election results should be certified sometime between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Friday, according to Kelley.
Before the final tally, updated results in the election are expected at 5 p.m. Friday.