Sonoma County election officials still need to count at least 40,000 mail-in and provisional ballots cast as part of Tuesday’s general election and may not finish tallying the results until their state-imposed deadline in early December. About 169,600 ballots were counted when the county released results early Wednesday morning with all precincts reporting, reflecting a 62 percent turnout among local voters. The turnout percentage will move higher when the outstanding ballots are tallied, a process that elections officials said would take weeks. The uncounted votes consist largely of mail-in ballots that voters postmarked or delivered in person to polling places on Election Day. Bill Rousseau, the county’s clerk-recorder-assessor and election’s chief, estimated that up to 50,000 mail-in and provisional ballots remained uncounted. The county will have a more precise estimate of the outstanding ballots Thursday after reporting it to the California Secretary of State, he said.
Rousseau said the remaining ballots were unlikely to change the outcome of most contests in the county. One notable exception could be Measure V, which would ban gas-powered leaf blowers in the city of Sonoma. The measure was leading by only 40 votes Wednesday and final results may not be clear until all votes are tallied by the state deadline, Rousseau said.
Per state law, the county must report final results for presidential electors to California’s Secretary of State by Dec. 6. The county has until Dec. 9 to report results for all other contests.
Once all votes are tallied, turnout may still match Rousseau’s original estimate of about 85 percent but could be lower, he said Wednesday, revising his estimate to between 80 percent and 86 percent.
“It all depends on the vote-by-mails,” he said.