It looked like democracy’s bingo hall. In the lobby of the Riverside County elections office Thursday, Dec. 1, workers sat at foldout tables with sheets of paper and ballots. Methodically and calmly, they verified votes cast electronically in last month’s general election. A sign taped to a wall asked for quiet amid the shuffling of papers and voices reciting names of candidates and ballot measures. It’s part of a state-mandated and manual labor-intensive process that starts after the polls close. More than 14 million Californians voted in the Nov. 8 election, and ballots were still being tallied last week, long after Election Day and with most races clearly decided.
Elections officials in Riverside and San Bernardino counties expect to certify their results by Tuesday, the same week as the state certification deadline. San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters Michael Scarpello and Riverside County Registrar of Voters Rebecca Spencer said vote counting in their counties is on track.
“We could work around the clock and cost the taxpayers a lot of money,” Scarpello said. “But we try to balance being fiscally prudent with getting things done in a timely fashion.”