Wednesday, August 22 , 2018, 1:25 am | Fair 63º


Local News

Nearly 60,000 Ballots Remain Uncounted In Santa Barbara County

The election may not be over for close races in Santa Barbara County, where thousands of mail-in and provisional ballots cast on election day are still being counted.

The vote totals could be up in the air for at least a week, with an estimated 59,300 uncounted ballots countywide as of Wednesday, said Joe Holland, the county clerk, recorder, assessor and registrar of voters.

Of the ballots needed to be processed, 46,600 vote-by-mail remain to be counted along with 11,000 provisional.

Holland said staff won’t be done counting the vote-by-mail ballots until possibly next Wednesday, while provisional ballots will be counted toward the end of next week.

“This year had an unprecedented level of vote-by-mail ballots, and an unprecedented turnout,” Holland said. “It’s taking more work. As vote-by-mail ballots become more popular, it increases to the work load.”

Voter turnout in Santa Barbara County pushed to 82.5 percent, Holland said.

“The only thing that was different this year was the incredible and steady turnout,” he said.

The County Elections Office is still accepting ballots that were mailed and postmarked by Nov. 8 and received on Nov. 14, he said.

Updated result are scheduled to be released by 4 p.m. Friday, and a subsequent release is expected on either Tuesday or Wednesday next week.

The county announces official election results by Dec. 6.

“I don’t know if there’re some races that will change,” Holland said. “We never really call races, all we do is count the votes.” 

The County Elections Office will be counting ballots Friday and Saturday, despite that government offices are closed on the weekends and Friday being Veteran's Day, a federal holiday.

Holland said the office has 10 full-time and about 100 temporary staff working.

“The election doesn’t stop,” he said.

The volume of voters heading to polling locations slowed down at around 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Holland said.

“The only thing I can attribute it to is people wanting to watch the results on television,” he said.

Santa Barbara County had 86 polling locations and voters had the ability to drop off a vote-by-mail ballot at any polling location or blue U.S. Postal Service box.

“A lot of people want to wait until the last day to hand their vote-by-mail ballots and providing those drop-off locations helps,” Holland said.

In previous presidential general elections, 164,977 ballots were cast out of 203,994 registered Santa Barbara County voters in 2012.

In 2008, voter turnout was 89.4 percent, and it was 80.5 percent in 2004, according to the County Elections Office.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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