Stanislaus County Clerk Lee Lundrigan had 14 staff members and several extra workers busy Tuesday verifying precinct rosters, sorting out provisional ballots and verifying ballot signatures to finish counting ballots from the Nov. 6 election.
At 7 p.m., Lundrigan said she certified the election, which now goes to the Board of Supervisors for its acceptance and to declare the winners.
Leaders in the area's three tight races all saw their leads maintain or grow:
Sheridi Toste's lead over Lisa Clawson stayed at eight votes in the race for the third seat on the Hickman Community Charter District board.
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Vicky Johnson's lead on Elisa Godoy grew from five votes to 11 in the Waterford Unified School District.
Gary Horton's went from a 21-vote lead over Brad Johnson to a 37-vote lead in the Salida Sanitary District.
Anyone who wants to seek a recount has until 5 p.m. Friday to request it, Lundrigan said.
The elections office had about 7,500 absentee and mail-in ballots that arrived too late to count on Election Day. The final count is not as simple as lining those ballots up and running them through the counting machine, Lundrigan said.
Precinct rosters that verify how many people voted at each precinct must be reconciled, and some precincts didn't complete the paperwork, she said. That meant elections workers had to go back and count the ballots "so we can regenerate what should have been done at the polls," Lundrigan said.
Provisional ballots cast by voters who came to the wrong precinct have to be checked and copied onto another ballot, she said. That's because there were many different ballot types across the county, and the voter may not have been eligible to vote in some or all of the races on the ballot they voted.
Military and overseas ballots, some faxed in, and damaged ballots have to be copied onto another ballot to be counted, and absentee ballots received in the seven days before the election have to be checked against precinct rosters to make sure no one voted twice, Lundrigan said.
Election workers were well-rested after the weekend and weren't fighting the fatigue that can follow long days of tallying votes, she said.
The job is complicated by the fact that the elections office is helping the city of Modesto with a council runoff election in December, and is at work on the state presidential primary election, which will take place in February.
Lundrigan's office completed a 1 percent hand-tally of the Nov. 6 vote Tuesday to verify the accuracy of the vote. The results were "excellent," Lundrigan said. "We are very pleased."