STOCKTON -- The race for the 5th Senate District remained too close to call as San Joaquin County election workers completed counting the 28,000 mail ballots turned in at polling places a week ago on Election Day.
Registrar of Voters Austin Erdman said that on Wednesday, his staff began counting 17,000 provisional ballots. That count could take days as workers check the addresses of voters who showed up at precincts where they were not registered or make sure that voters who also received mail ballots did not vote twice.
The mail ballots counted in the last week in San Joaquin County chipped away at the lead of Republican Bill Berryhill, who was ahead by almost 4,000 votes, or 2 percent on election night.
By Tuesday evening, with the San Joaquin County mail ballots counted, Berryhill's lead over Democrat Cathleen Galgiani had shrunk to 2,049 votes out of more than 250,000 ballots counted, or less than 1 percent.
"It is going to go down to the wire, for sure," Berryhill campaign spokesman Justin Matheson said.
Because Galgiani made gains in the mail ballots turned in the day of the election in San Joaquin County, Berryhill campaign strategists believe it is likely she will make further gains from the provisional ballots, Matheson said.
Counting only votes cast within the county, Galgiani would now have an almost 2 percent lead.
However, Berryhill leads in the part of the district that includes Galt in Sacramento County and part of Stanislaus County.
Stanislaus County results
In the most recent Stanislaus County results, issued Friday, Berryhill has 53.3 percent of the vote to Galgiani's 46.7 percent.
In a news release Wednesday, Stanislaus Clerk-Recorder and Registrar of Voters Lee Lundrigan said more than 11,000 provisional ballots and hundreds of military, damaged, seven-day, vote by mail and reconciliation ballots remain to be reviewed and processed before they are counted.
The question in the 5th District race is whether Galgiani can make up the difference with provisional San Joaquin County ballots.