Why are there so many uncounted ballots after election night?
In Inyo County, over 61% of registered voters received a vote-by-mail ballot for the Nov. 6th Presidential Election. Vote-by-mail ballots received prior to Election Day are processed early so that they can be included in the election night vote totals. However, the hundreds of vote-by-mail ballots that arrive at the polls on Election Day and are not received by the Elections Office until well after the polls close on election night. Our focus on election night is to count the precinct ballots and get that information to the public as soon as possible.
California law gives registrars 28 days to certify the results of an election (after Election Day). This is called the canvass. The canvass is a methodical and precise accounting process, which includes counting ballots, but is much more involved and must be handled in a specific sequence. All votes cast, whether in person or by mail, are included in the final election results compiled during the canvass period. We begin this process the morning after the election, by breaking down the materials returned from each precinct on election night. We then isolate the vote-by-mail ballots and begin the process to verify signatures on the ballot envelopes. Only after every ballot has been verified and accounted for, can we begin to tally the remaining votes.
Processing provisional ballots are part of the process that can only occur after all other votes have been tallied. Each provisional ballot envelope must be carefully researched to determine if the citizen who cast the ballot contained in the envelope was entitled to vote in Inyo County. This process is very time consuming because the Elections Office takes great care to ensure that all votes entitled to be cast in Inyo County are counted.
Inyo County Clerk-Recorder
P.O. Drawer F
Independence, CA 93526