For Immediate ReleaseNovember 16, 2018
Staff working overtime and weekends to process ballots
San Rafael, CA – After posting fresh election results just after 4 p.m., Friday, November 16, the Marin County Elections Department staff now has about 13,000 more votes to count before the local tally for the November 6 California Statewide General Election is completed.
Updates will be posted on www.marinvotes.org each Wednesday and Friday by 5 p.m. until the count is finished, Registrar of Voters Lynda Roberts said.
“The response to this midterm election has been record-breaking for Marin,” Roberts said. “We expect this level of participation in a presidential election, but the turnout has been substantially higher than expected when compared to past midterm elections.”
Marin voter turnout has averaged 84.25 percent in the past eight presidential elections, with a high of 90 percent in 2008. The turnout in the 2014 midterm election was 60 percent, but Roberts said this midterm election will be close to 80 percent by the time all votes are tallied.
As of Friday, about 7,000 ballots remaining to be tallied are vote-by-mail entries. Roberts said the 97,000 vote-by-mail ballots returned is second only to the 2016 presidential election. The record is 100,442 verified vote-by-mail ballots from the 2016 presidential election.
There are about 6,000 provisional ballots yet to be tallied as well. A provisional ballot allows a person to vote if their name isn’t in the polling place roster or they can’t surrender their vote-by-mail ballot and envelope.
Roberts said she has been asked a lot recently why it takes so long to process vote-by-mail ballots. Each ballot requires individual handling that includes verifying signatures, at least twice as required by law, removing ballots from envelopes, and checking each ballot for damage.
“Staffing was doubled for this election to help speed up the process, and our employees have worked each weekend since the election as well as on Veterans Day,” she said. “Given the fantastic turnout, it just takes time to ensure accuracy.”
By law, the elections team has until December 6 to certify and report final election results to the Secretary of State, though staff may complete that process sooner. The election won’t be formally ratified by the Marin County Board of Supervisors until its December 11 meeting. Additional information about election results reporting and processing vote-by-mail and provisional ballots can be found on the California Secretary of State’s website.
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(This release was updated November 19 to say there were 7,000 vote-by-mail ballots and 6,000 provisional ballots left to count. Those numbers had been transposed in the original release).
Lynda RobertsRegistrar of VotersElections Department
Marin Civic Center Administration Building3501 Civic Center DriveSuite 121San Rafael, CA 94903(415) 473-6401Email: Lynda RobertsElections website