Why is it taking so long for California’s votes to be counted?




Millions of California voters had an identical question after the March 3 main: “What is taking so long?”

Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who has accountability for overseeing elections, talked about it might be weeks sooner than the results of some races are recognized. He is often known as “a good thing.”

Padilla has been on the forefront of an effort to enact new authorized tips that almost forcibly register people to vote and efficiently drag them to the ballot discipline, or drag the ballot discipline to them. The cross-pollination of all these modifications has given us a model new type of election in California throughout which large-scale voting begins a month sooner than Election Day and outcomes are uncertain for weeks afterward.

Early voting and vote-by-mail have been expanded previous their earlier limits. And California added a New Motor Voter Act that now routinely registers people to vote as soon as they purchase or renew a driver’s license or California ID card, or as soon as they modify their cope with.

But that wasn’t enough. California enacted laws allowing same-day voter registration the least bit polling places, adopted bylaws that permit voters to change their get collectively registration or residence cope with by merely signing an announcement on the polling place as soon as they checked in.

All of that is in addition to the Voter’s Choice Act, signed into laws in 2016 and in use in 15 counties for 2020. Under these laws, native polling places are modified by a smaller number of vote amenities that present voting and all voter registration suppliers for up to 11 days. Californians can go to any vote coronary heart inside the county and vote, or register to vote or change their registration data. New digital ballot books associated with the Secretary of State’s voter database are supposed to catch any duplicates.

In case that is not helpful enough, the Voter’s Choice Act counties mail a ballot to every registered voter. It can be mailed once more with no postage stamp, dropped off in unattended drop packing containers, returned to a vote coronary heart or handed to any explicit individual to flip in.

Los Angeles County, with about 5.5 million registered voters, was granted an exemption from the requirement to mail a ballot to every registered voter. But after Los Angeles County expert long traces at vote amenities on Election Day, Padilla despatched a snippy letter to county Registrar of Voters Dean Logan demanding mail ballot be despatched to every registered voter sooner than the November election. Logan fired once more that this may require “an evaluation of the costs, contractual authority, capacity, and reliability of the providers and systems needed to meet legally required timelines for a vote by mail, sample ballots and other required election notices.” He suggested Padilla that 2 million of L.A.’s registered voters have certainly not requested or voted with a mail ballot.

Logan inaugurated a model-new system of digital ballot marking models that expert each type of point, nevertheless, L.A. wasn’t the one Voter’s Choice county that had factors. The e-poll books had intermittent problems connecting to the Secretary of State’s voter registration database, which struggled with the extreme amount on Election Day. Many voters who couldn’t study in used back-up paper ballots, on which they’d to hand-write the candidates and measures.

All these modifications contributed to the long, sluggish vote counting that we’re seeing now.  Under California laws, vote-by-mail ballots are on time within the occasion that they arrive three days after the election. Same-day registration and late modifications to a voter’s data require provisional ballots, verified and counted after the vote-by-mail ballots are tallied.

This is like a restaurant that decides to put 4 entrees on the desk within the entrance of each purchaser hoping it will be additional persuasive than a written description on a menu. The quadrupled meal preparation will overwhelm the staff, there’ll be a wide range of waste, and if too many purchasers current up for dinner on the identical time, it’s likely to end in a pie battle.

Elections are essential enterprise, with billions of and the best way ahead for California, and perhaps the nation, at stake. It’s large to try to make voting additional helpful, nevertheless, there have to be a higher implies that doesn’t depart voters prepared hours to vote and weeks to uncover out the outcomes.

Susan Shelley is an editorial creator and columnist for the Southern California News Group. Susan@SusanShelley.com. Twitter: @Susan_Shelley




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