Re: "1 million votes still untallied in California, " Sacramento Bee. Ed's occasional clipping services.

From: Dylan Hirsch-Shell <dylanhs_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Thu Feb 14 2008 - 10:33:32 CST

I find it really annoying that when I visit large national news
organizations' election websites, such as CNN's "Election Center 2008", the
way that things are presented makes it seem like 100% of the votes have
already been counted:

On Thu, Feb 14, 2008 at 7:42 AM, Edmund R. Kennedy <>

> This story is taken from Sacbee / Politics.
> 1 million votes still untallied in California
> By Dorothy Korber -
> Published 12:00 am PST Thursday, February 14, 2008
> Super Tuesday seems long gone as the nation turns its hungry eyes to
> the next round of presidential primaries but for nearly a million
> Californians, the votes they cast in the presidential primary are yet
> to be counted.
> This mountain of absentee and provisional ballots
> 960,000 of them by one estimate equals the total number of
> Democratic votes cast in Virginia this week and far exceeds Maryland
> and the District of Columbia.
> "In California, we're sitting on
> almost a million votes still to be tallied and meanwhile the pundits
> are going on and on about states that don't have a million votes,
> total," said Steve Weir, who keeps a running tally of "unprocessed
> ballots" in his role as president of the California Association of
> Clerks and Election Officials.
> California's slow count is the
> product of a couple of factors: the state's growing love affair with
> absentee ballots paired with a high-voltage primary that drew
> inexperienced voters who were enthusiastic but sometimes careless.
> In Sacramento County, 90,000 ballots remain unprocessed, while 277,000 had
> been counted as of Wednesday afternoon.
> Los
> Angeles County has 200,000 unprocessed ballots and that's not
> counting the 50,000 presidential votes it discarded because a quarter
> of the decline-to-state voters improperly marked the county's ballots.
> Statewide,
> Weir said, most of the uncounted votes about 600,000 are absentee
> ballots turned in on election day. Still to be vetted, he reckons, are
> 400,000 provisional ballots, which typically are valid about 85 percent
> of the time.
> He estimates 10,000 more uncounted ballots are
> damaged: shredded in the mail, mutilated in vote-counting machines, or
> gummed up by sloppy voters who dribbled coffee or ketchup on their
> absentee ballots. Election workers must pry them open, try to figure
> out the voter's intention, and then create a fresh ballot to feed into
> the machine.
> No matter the obstacle, they're looking at a
> deadline of March 4 to have the results of the more than 7.1 million
> ballots cast in the state's presidential primary to California's
> secretary of state.
> A question almost as big as the pile of ballots is what difference they
> might make in the national presidential race.
> "It's
> not over till all the votes are counted," said Robert Stern, head of
> the nonpartisan Center for Governmental Studies based in Los Angeles.
> "To have a million votes not counted a week after the election is
> extraordinary, especially in an election when people wanted so much for
> their vote to count."
> Stern has been keeping a sharp eye on the
> evolving situation in California. In the great hunt for Democratic
> Party delegates, he figures, all those uncounted California ballots
> probably will translate into a mere handful of the state's 370
> delegates that are pledged to primary results seven at most, in
> districts that were close to begin with (none of them in the Sacramento
> region).
> But, with Hillary Rodham Clinton (who garnered 2.3
> million votes in California) and Barack Obama (with 1.9 million votes)
> still battling for their party's nomination, every delegate is
> hard-fought. On Wednesday, the Associated Press calculated that Obama's
> delegate total stands at 1,275 to Clinton's 1,220.
> Stern believes
> the uncounted votes won't change results for state propositions. Nor
> will they affect Republican primary results in California, since Mitt
> Romney's decision to drop out made John McCain the clear winner.
> The
> national political scene is fluid and exciting, but down in the
> trenches, California election workers are slogging through a herculean
> task.
> At Sacramento County election headquarters Wednesday,
> dozens of workers diligently dealt with the details: checking and
> double-checking signatures on absentee envelopes, validating write-in
> candidates (few were valid), deciphering mutilated ballots and
> carefully substituting clean ones.
> Every ballot sent to a
> precinct must be accounted for. Even the empty absentee ballot
> envelopes more than 80,000 of them are documented, filed and saved
> for at least 22 months.
> Nineteen-year-old Leticia Valdez sat at a
> big table, patiently checking mailed-in ballots to make sure precinct
> numbers were recorded correctly. She sorted out damaged ballots,
> including those with stray pen marks. She put write-ins in a separate
> pile, to be checked by teams of other workers.
> Valdez, one of 100 temporary workers brought in for the count, said she
> was surprised to learn how rigorous this process is.
> "I didn't know there were so many steps," she said. "I figured we marked a
> ballot, it went through a machine, and that was it."
> Go to: Sacbee / Back to story
> This article is protected by copyright and should not be printed or
> distributed for anything except personal use.
> The Sacramento Bee, 2100 Q St., P.O. Box 15779, Sacramento, CA 95852
> Phone: (916) 321-1000
> Copyright (c) The Sacramento Bee
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Received on Fri Feb 29 23:17:06 2008

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