Imperial County has until Dec. 3 to certify the Nov. 3 General Election results with around 28,000 mail-in and provisional ballots left to be counted, according to the latest update from the election department.
With just 793 additional ballots tallied across the county in the past 24 hours, there were few significant changes in the daily summary report issued at 5:26 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5.
That already-large number of unprocessed ballots does have the potential to grow; California counties can accept mail-in ballots through Nov. 20 if they are postmarked by Election Day, Nov. 3.
“Due to the unprecedented amount of vote-by-mail and provisional ballots received by the Registrar’s Office, final tallying of ballots could take longer than previous elections,” according to the press release that accompanied the most recent report.
Voter turnout as of the Nov. 5 report is 26.44 percent, with some 22,238 ballots counted from the 84,123 eligible registered voters in the county.
Projected total turnout would be 59.72 percent for Imperial County if no other ballots are received beyond the estimated 28,000 in possession of the Registrar’s Office.
County spokesperson Linsey Dale, who is among a team helping to supervise the count, stated in an email Friday, Nov. 6, that the volume of ballots processed in the past 24 hours will be larger in coming days. She said there was a report due to the Secretary of State’s Office on Nov. 5 confirming the number of unprocessed ballots remaining that required hands-on attention from election department and county staff conducting the count.
IID Div. 4 Race Tight
Meanwhile, possibly the most significant race hanging in the balance is the Division 4 run-off for the Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors between incumbent Erik Ortega and challenger Javier Gonzalez, who led by just 20 votes, according to the Nov. 5 report.
Following the three most recent ballot reports, Gonzalez’s lead has gone from more than 40 votes on Election Night, to just 14 votes after the 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 4, report.
A first-time political candidate and community organizer, Gonzalez had 2,107 votes, or 50.24 percent of the ballots cast in the 27-precinct division in the Calexico area. Ortega, who is seeking his second term on the IID board, has 2,087 votes, or 49.76 percent.
Only 74 new ballots were counted in that race the past 24 hours. Some 17,670 registered voters are in the division.
The race is significant in that it will decide one of five members of the county’s water and power district, a hugely influential political body that oversees a larger annual operating budget ($560 million on the power side; $290 million on the water side) than the county of Imperial ($540 million).