Two months to count election ballots? California’s long tallies turn election day into weeks, months

By Michael R. Blood,
AP News,
May 2, 2024


Nearly two months after the election, a recount settled the outcome in a Northern California U.S. House primary contest, breaking a mathematically improbable tie for second place but also spotlighting the lengthy stretch it took count the votes.

Most California residents vote by mail, and in the pursuit of accuracy, thoroughness and counting every vote, the nation’s most populous state has gained a reputation for tallies that can drag on for weeks — and sometimes longer. Voting in the state’s primary election concluded on March 5.

At time when many Americans have doubts about election integrity, a two-month stretch to tally votes in one House race “absolutely is a problem from an optics point of view,” said Kim Alexander, president of the nonpartisan California Voter Foundation, which seeks to improve the voting process.

No one has publicly challenged the accuracy of the tabulation, but “when you have ballots that are just sitting around for any period of time, it raises an eyebrow,” said Republican consultant Tim Rosales, who was not involved in the race.

“Not to suggest anything untoward is going on, but for the average voter, they become skeptical about the time and the length of the process,” Rosales said.

Secretary of State Shirley Weber, who oversees elections, said in a statement: “I understand that people want finality, but accuracy is of utmost importance. The fact that California and its counties take a bit longer to have inclusive elections and ensure accuracy should make people more confident in the results.” (Full Story)