A handful of candidates in very close races will probably have to wait until next week to find out if they won, according to Stanislaus County Clerk Lee Lundrigan.
Lundrigan's office has about 7,500 absentee and mail-in ballots yet to count. In addition to late arriving absentees and ballots from all-mail precincts, there are military and overseas ballots and provisional ballots to count, Lundrigan said.
The all-mail precincts are ones with less than 250 voters. Those precincts vote by mail rather than incur the expense of setting up a polling place with poll workers. Provisional ballots are ones cast at the wrong precinct, so they must be verified as to whether the correct ballot for the voter was cast.
"We are working at capacity so we can have a nice, accurate count as soon as possible," Lundrigan said. "I anticipate the numbers will be out next week."
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The work is complicated by the fact that timelines are running for the Feb. 5 presidential primary election.
Friday is the final filing date for that election, and the clerk's office is receiving pro and con statements and rebuttals for the local measures on the February ballot.
Among the races Tuesday that could be affected by the uncounted ballots are the Hickman Community Charter District, where Sheridi Toste leads Lisa Clawson by just eight votes; the Waterford Unified School District, where Vicky Johnson is ahead of Elisa Godoy by five votes; and Salida Sanitary District, where Gary Horton has a 21-vote lead over Brad Johnson.
With the uncounted absentees and other mail-ins, just over 39,000 people out of 188,961 registered voters voted in the election. That would put the turnout at just over 20 percent. Lundrigan said the final turnout number will have to wait until the provisionals are counted.
Turnout at individual precincts ranged from 200 plus to "single digits," Lundrigan said. A big factor in the low numbers at precincts was the high percentage of mailed ballots. "It looks like three-quarters of the votes were by mail," she said.
"We are conducting two completely different elections," Lundrigan said -- one by mail and one at the polls, each with a different staff and focus.
The poll voting involves an army of volunteer workers and sophisticated equipment. "It can be an extreme effort, for the percentage of voting at the polls," Lundrigan said. "It's unfortunate that we didn't get more voters to turn out. We are always prepared and ready for them."
Bee staff writer Tim Moran can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2349.