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Placer County, CA
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Placer County Election Results

June 06, 2012

The semi-official Election Night results for Placer County can be found on the Placer County Office of Elections’ website, by clicking this link ELECTIONS

Please note that these figures are considered “semi-official” because there are still an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 ballots remaining to be counted in Placer County. These ballots—mostly vote-by-mail ballots, mail ballots and provisional ballots—will be collected, verified and counted in the canvass of election results (see below for details). Once counted, these ballots could add another 12% to 20% to our final turnout figures.

It is also important to point out that the votes detailed in this report are for Placer County only. Many jurisdictions on the ballot this June have boundaries that extend into other counties. Vote totals for the ballots cast in other counties will not be reflected in this summary. For those vote totals, please contact the county or counties in question.

People are frequently surprised on the day after a major election when they learn that there are several thousand ballots countywide remaining to be counted. These uncounted ballots may leave some close races undecided for weeks. This memo is provided as a courtesy to explain the logistics of Election Night ballot counting, and follow-up ballot tabulation, which occurs in the days and weeks following the election.

State law allows 28 days after the election to complete the ballot tally and the official audit of the election, known as the canvass. When the canvass is completed, the official results are certified.

There are three categories of ballots that cannot be processed on Election Night:

  • Vote-by-mail ballots deposited at polling locations;
  • Ballots caught in our “ballot trapping” program; and
  • Provisional ballots voted at the polls.

Vote-by-mail Ballots Deposited at Polling Locations – Many vote-by-mail voters wait until the last minute to make their voting choices and then drop off their vote-by-mail ballots at a polling place on Election Day. We receive these ballots very late on Election Night. All vote-by-mail ballots must be processed in a specific manner before they are counted—this includes verifying every voter’s signature found on the vote-by-mail ballot envelope prior to counting these vote-by-mail ballots.

Ballots Caught in Our Ballot Trapping Program – Several years ago we implemented a program that would “trap” the voted ballots received by the post offices throughout the county that otherwise would have arrived too late to be counted. In the past, there would be hundreds of ballots postmarked on Election Day that had to go uncounted in every major election because they were not received by 8:00 PM on Election Day. We have an agreement with the post offices to pick them up by 5:00 PM on Election Day so that our drivers may transport the voted ballots to the Office of Elections in time to be counted. Since many local elections are decided by a handful of votes, this program allows every possible voice to be heard and has cut down on our post-election ballots tremendously.

Provisional Ballots Voted at the Polls – Provisional ballots are voted at the polls when a voter’s registration or eligibility is in question or when our records indicate the voter was already sent a vote-by-mail ballot. They are also issued to voters who have moved within the boundaries of the county and failed to register before the 15-day close of registration for the given election. These provisions do not apply to voters who have moved into the county from another location. Provisional ballots are sealed in special envelopes at the polls and must be individually researched and verified at the Office of Elections before ballots are counted or rejected in accordance with election laws.

Summary – The counting of vote-by-mail, provisional, and write-in ballots will occur in the days and weeks following the election. Based on what we were able to extrapolate from the precinct returns, the number of ballots remaining to be counted is around 10,000 to 20,000 countywide for this election. These ballots are not segregated by district prior to counting. Therefore, the number of outstanding ballots for any specific electoral district will be unknown until the computer tallies these ballots.

California law permits 28 days to complete the official canvass and certify the results of the election. This provision of the law recognizes the complexity of completing the ballot count and conducting a thorough audit of the election results to ensure accuracy. Part of the canvass process is a legally required manual recount of at least 1% of the votes cast for each candidate and measure on the ballot. This manual process verifies the accuracy of the computer count.

Candidates and members of the general public are invited to observe post-election ballot counting and the canvass process.

We realize it is difficult for candidates/campaigns involved in close races to wait weeks to know whether they won or lost the election. However, if you have any additional questions that were not explained in the information above, please call the Office of Elections at 530-886-5650 or toll-free in California 1-800-824-8683.

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