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California Slowly Counts its Harvested Ballots

California Slowly Counts its Harvested Ballots

A look at why it takes so long to count the votes in the Golden State, especially in critical congressional races.

A few days ago, my colleague Mary Chastain noted that incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Garcia held his CA-27 district seat with a victory over Democrat challenger Christy Smith, thereby giving the Republicans the 218 majority in the House of Representatives.

Now, perhaps Legal Insurrection’s friends will give some props to those of us independent conservatives who live in California. By remaining to vote in these districts, we now have a Pelosi-free House speakership. God willing, it will remain that way.

However, I would like to note that California is still counting its harvested ballots. At this point, the tally is still coming in for the CA-3 district race, with Republican Kevin Kiley.

Kevin Kiley remains ahead of Kermit Jones for the 3rd District congressional seat, and has been ahead all week. Yet the race remains one of the few in the nation where no winner has been declared.

A big reason is that, as of Tuesday, 105,000 ballots in Placer County, the district’s largest county, have yet to be counted.

…A big reason for the deliberate count in Placer County is that most of its voters voted by mail. Just over 16,000 people voted in person on Election Day. The county is not certain of the total vote by mail, since some ballots may still come in from other counties.

In fact, the Golden State is just getting started counting some of those late-arriving ballots that have just been received (as long as they were post marked by November 8th). The issues involving Kern County’s CA-21 District race with Republican incumbent David Valadao is instructive.

The resources available to count ballots also vary widely by jurisdiction. In Kern County, where Valadao is defending his seat in a close contest with Democratic state Assemblyman Rudy Salas, Grose noted, “They only have one ballot counting machine. That’s a funding and resource choice. They should probably have more than one ballot counting machine.”

The counting took so long in Valadao’s 2018 race against Democrat TJ Cox that it was the last uncalled House race in the country. Cox narrowly unseated Valadao that year before the Republican won a rematch in 2020. (This cycle, Kern County Clerk Mary Bedard told KGET in Bakersfield that it could take weeks to count the remaining 70,000 ballots in that county, in part because the county has just one sorter machine).

The processing of each mail ballot in California is labor intensive, in part because there are many safeguards built into the process. Once county election officials receive the ballots, they must confirm that the voter has not already voted, verify their signature on the ballot envelope, remove the ballot from the return envelope, then tally the votes.

There are also additional tranches of ballots that take even more time to process, including provisional ballots, ballots from voters who took advantage of same-day voter registration and damaged ballots that couldn’t be read by machines.

In a nutshell: California’s independent conservatives made the Democrats spend money and resources in this state, which likely will amount to a draw when the final votes are tallied.

In Congress, after months of campaigning and more than $340 million spent, it appears that California Democrats and Republicans fought themselves to a standstill, with neither side unseating any of the opposing party’s vulnerable incumbents. That includes Orange County’s Katie Porter and San Diego’s Mike Levin on the Democratic side, as well as Southern California Republicans Mike Garcia, Michelle Steel, Young Kim and Ken Calvert. All will be returning to Congress.

All of that adds up to a big, monumentally expensive near wash. Republicans currently have 11 U.S. House seats in California. After this election, they’re on track to have 12, though the Modesto contest between Democratic Assemblymember Adam Gray and Republican farmer John Duarte is still too close to call.

Hopefully, the Republicans will do something useful as the majority party in the House of Representatives. Then, we will really see how much everyone needs to thank California’s conservatives.


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retiredcantbefired | November 19, 2022 at 12:22 pm

One ballot counting machine for an entire county.

Which is there more of, incompetence or corruption?

What a lame excuse: “one machine”.
Are you telling me that an electronic optical scanner/counter can’t process 70,000 ballots in a few hours?
Stop at your neighborhood bank and see how fast their machine can count and verify US currency. Or a CoinBaser Machine at Walmart.

Had Alabama’s r voters stayed home the r would not have gotten 6/7 seats in the HoR. Flip those six seats and the d/prog have a 216/212 lead. Same for every other voter who pulled the lever to get r across the line to win a CD.

I am not dismissing the CA voters who voted r. Very glad y’all did. I don’t see how voting r instead of staying home in CA is any more important than the other CD won with r voters. Again glad y’all did but voting for a r seems like a low bar when asking for praise.

Otto Kringelein | November 19, 2022 at 12:54 pm

Hopefully, the Republicans will do something useful as the majority party in the House of Representatives.


BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA . . . snicker . . . . snort . . . . deep cleansing breath . . .

Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

You’re kidding right? republicans will do what republicans always do when they are in charge. They’ll hand the democrats everything they demand because they will have to “reach across the aisle” and just get along with everyone. They don’t have the guts to do what’s necessary to clean up the federal government. And why should they. The republicans are just as corrupt as the democrats – anything they do to attempt to reform the federal government will also hurt them. And republican leadership won’t ever allow that to happen.

Nothing but respect for those who vote the conservative voice whether they get squashed or not.

I hope the CalicCon few know that we are bashing the political shit show in the state not you personally when we express frustration. I felt this when VA made it’s blue turn, so I do know the feeling. For some reason, I don’t think Phil gets that and feels personally attacked. Where is he anyways? Did he leave or is he on a ban?

    CommoChief in reply to healthguyfsu. | November 19, 2022 at 7:04 pm

    Mostly that’s entirely true. The difference for me is when folks in CA start poor mouthing about the current political state in CA and seek to deflect all responsibility. Here’s what I mean.

    1983 snap shot. Which would you expect to be more red and which more blue four decades later based on the data regarding Republican office holders?
    State X
    R Gov
    R are 50% of US Senators
    R are 38% of HoR
    R are competitive for control of state legislature

    State Y
    D Gov
    R are 50% of US Senators
    R are 28% of HoR
    R are not at all competitive for control of State Legislature

    We would all expect the former to do better in building electoral power than the latter. These two States are California and Alabama. The trajectory of the R party in each State is uncannily opposite. In 2011 CA dems achieved a trifecta of State power controlling the Gov and both houses of the legislature as well as both US Senators. In 2011 AL Republicans did the same.

    Today AL R dominate politics in the State. They lack a hold on one HoR seat. They have every other Federal or major statewide office. They control all the statewide elected boards, commissions, the appeals courts and the Supreme Court.

    The point here is that in 1983 Alabama was deep blue. Today it is deep red. That change is possible but it isn’t easy, it took three decades to attain that level of power in 2011 and it has been successfully held since. (Minus Roy Moore insanity)

    In CA by contrast the R started in a much better position but gradually lost ground. Since 2011 they haven’t been very competitive. That can’t be blamed solely on out migration to other States creating a no win environment.

I’m a California native, now a refugee living in Idaho after 63 years. I used to live in Katie Porter’s district and we would have been two votes against her. I do miss CA and my friends there. It would have been relatively easy for my wife and me to stay there (house paid off long ago, prop 13 property taxes, did not have to commute, minimal homeless around us). But our four kids did not see CA as a place with opportunity for them nor as a place to raise their kids. So they all emigrated to Idaho, Do we stay in CA 900 miles from our grandkids, or do we go? We went. Good luck to those who remain.

    alaskabob in reply to jimincalif. | November 19, 2022 at 3:25 pm

    Just consider California as the closest and most advanced third world socialist country near you. Of course, how did California become this…. simple… take a first world state and degrade it intentionally.

    B Buchanan in reply to jimincalif. | November 19, 2022 at 4:03 pm

    Hey there jimincalif! I’m a Cali native refugee too! Only I moved to Northern Nevada because I had family there. Similar story to yours except the wise mayor of my city decided to send the homeless to my neighborhood. It is so unsafe now, no way was I staying! I know so many native Californians who have fled the state.

    Interesting interchange I had with a lady shortly after I moved here. Found out she and her husband were from the Bay Area too and I asked how they liked it. She hissed in response, “We LOVE it here!” So much intense emotion – I understood immediately. Until you have to live day-in day-out as an undercover conservative you have no idea how oppressive California has become.

    So somewhat back to topic – anyone else see this article on discarded ballots found off of Hwy 17 in the Santa Cruz Mountains? I wonder how many Republican* ballots have become fertilizer for the redwoods?

    * I know, the article doesn’t state the party affiliation of the votes. However, when you are talking about an area where the word “Republican” is a pejorative it is hard to believe any discarded ballots in remote wooded mountains are an accident.

      jimincalif in reply to B Buchanan. | November 21, 2022 at 11:01 pm

      We were fortunate, not a lot of family left in Ca, which made it easier. Everyone talks about the weather, but I’ve more or less adapted. Leaving good friends was (and still is the worst part). Funny, just the other day I met a neighbor down the street from us. Turns out they are from Fremont, Ca, they’ve been here three years now. Similar story to ours. Dance around politics a bit when first meeting, but they have both Old Glory and a thin blue line flag flying from their house. They’re glad to be out. I just read that for the first time ever Orange County Board of Supervisors is now majority democrat, so it looks like the level of crazy will accelerate in our old home town. I wonder if they tossed some ballots off a Cliff somewhere in SoCal too.

“That’s a funding and resource choice. They should probably have more than one ballot counting machine.”

Weird, how Mark Zuckerberg’s half a billion dollars donated to election offices across the nation in 2020 never made it to lil backwater precincts in need of upgrades.

Thankfully, Gov. Newsom is still fighting for his $40 billion bullet train wreck to nowhere…

At some point the county should give up and declare a vacancy until they can afford the right equipment. Or they can seat their rep from this election in the 2024 session.

Count until the Democrat candidate wins
Great commentary on the midterm

Slow counting votes? I wonder if there are any job openings for any of those slow moving former Twitter workers?

    Subotai Bahadur in reply to Paula. | November 19, 2022 at 5:58 pm

    1) Can they count?
    2) Given their willingness to walk out because they were expected to actually do something productive, what are the odds that they would submit to counting votes for Republican candidates?

    Subotai Bahadur

The country is screwed with mail ballots.
You can’t make me believe they can’t be validated the person who fills it out is the actual voter and hasn’t been changed, discarded, or duplicated

“California Slowly Counts its Harvested Ballots”
“We will serve no fraud before its time.”

    CommoChief in reply to henrybowman. | November 19, 2022 at 10:07 pm

    Those commercials as a kid in the ’70s, I remember thinking the guy doing the voice over seemed way too good for the product. In my teens I figured out it was Orson Welles and how right I was that he was far too talented and accomplished for the product.

Sorry Leslie you’re wrong about staying in Cali so you can get a whole one red seat in the HoR.
If every conservative moved out to New Mexico, Arizona and Utah they could probably flip all three states to red. It would help make Cali useless as tits on a boar.

Harvested ballots

Harvested ballots

Harvested ballots

Harvested ballots

But some writers here at LI don’t believe the Democrats steal elections

Just like some don’t believe we ever landed on the moon

I had a friend, brilliant in her legal work, but not one cotton pick of common sense

Kind of like a few people…

    Dimsdale in reply to gonzotx. | November 20, 2022 at 6:41 pm

    Shouldn’t it be harvested, sorted and discarded? You can bet that if they get a ballot from a house with Republican, or “worse,” Trump signs on it, it will be quickly disposed of.

    henrybowman in reply to gonzotx. | November 20, 2022 at 7:02 pm

    You don’t get it.
    They’re not stolen if you make it legal.
    And that’s what they did.

What people have to remember is that the Dems passed a law whereby every registered voter was sent an absentee ballot, whether they wanted one or not. There are multiple steps that have to be taken with an absentee ballot that aren’t needed with a walk in polling place ballot. The envelops have to be scanned, signatures verified, and other steps taken before the ballot is counted. How many signature can be verified per hour per day?

Those “postmarked on the 8th” ballots are obviously fraudulent. Even the incompetence of the USPS isn’t enough to delay delivering local mail by 14 days. If they’re just arriving now, they’re fake.