Elections

Election Results – When to Expect Them

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On election night, we all want to know who won what race and which proposition passed – and as soon as possible! But the June 5 gubernatorial primary election results may take a little while to come in. Here’s why.

  • A high number of registered voters: San Diego County has over 1.69 million registered voters.
  • 1,444 polling places across the county.
  • More mail ballots than ever before were issued by the Registrar’s office, over 1.1 million.

Provisional ballots always take longer. Registrar workers must make sure your votes count for the contests you were entitled to vote on and that they don’t count for the ones you weren’t.

Those mail ballots?  More convenient, but if you drop them off at the polls on Election Day, the Registrar of Voters can’t start counting them until Thursday at the earliest because all the signatures need to be verified first. The Registrar expects 150,000 to 200,000 mail ballots will be dropped off June 5.

“This is not really a new phenomenon,” said Vu. “We’re just likely to have a higher volume of outstanding ballots.”

So what can you expect?

The polls close at 8 p.m. Within minutes, the results should come through for the ballots that were mailed in, submitted at drop-off locations before Election Day or during early voting at the Registrar’s office.

After that, some precinct results may trickle in, but only a very light number. Close to 11 p.m. you can expect the bulk of the precinct numbers. Then, results should come in periodically as trucks with ballot boxes continue to roll in. All the precinct ballots might not arrive until after midnight.

After all the precinct ballots are counted on election night, Vu expects only about 55 to 60 percent of the vote. Those tight races might still be up in the air.

“It’s not over on election night and it hasn’t been for a long, long time,” said Vu. “Close contests are not decided until all the ballots are in the count.”

While you can guess how some races will turn out due to the early numbers, the results for the tight races must wait until election workers process, review or inspect every ballot: precinct, provisional, mail-in and damaged.

“Between mail ballots and provisional ballots, a close count always comes to the very end,” said Vu. “We must do our due diligence to make sure everything is right.”

Some races may not be decided for several weeks. The results must be certified, however, 30 days after Election Day on July 5.

While the counting process is the same, viewing online results will be different this election. Results on the Registrar of Voters website is easier to use. Among the new features, you’ll be able to see results in different views, such as lists or pie charts, races are color coded, and you’ll be able to see voter turnout by precinct.

For more information, visit sdvote.com or call (858) 565-5800.

Tracy DeFore is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact