County Election Office continues ballot count

Chris Caskey, The Union Democrat

Tuolumne County elections workers this week continued the tedious task of counting provisional ballots from the Nov. 6 General Election.

It is required by law that 1 percent of the ballots be counted manually. The count will be capped on a yet-to-be determined day, according to the county Elections Office.

The California Secretary of State's office requires completion of the count and final certification within 28 days of the election.

Only one local election might still be affected by the outstanding ballots - an $8 million Summerville High School bond measure. Measure H is just 34 votes shy of the required 55 percent for passage, according to preliminary results that include mail-in and traditional ballots.

The highest-profile races - Tuolumne Utilities District and Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors - were decided on election night, and new incoming members of each board will take their seats in the coming weeks.

Supervisors-elect Karl Rodefer and Sherri Brennan will be sworn in Jan. 7, with their first full meeting likely coming Jan. 15. They will replace Supervisor Dick Pland, who did not seek re-election, and Supervisor Liz Bass, who Brennan defeated in the election.

The new TUD directors James Grinnell, Kent Johnson, John Maciel and Michael Sarno will be sworn in Dec. 7, with their first meeting likely to occur Dec. 11. They will replace directors Barbara Balen, who did not seek re-election, as well as Bob Behee, Dennis Dahlin and Ron Ringen.

Provisional ballots traditionally take the most amount of time and represent a fraction of the overall votes in an election. Each one is checked by multiple election staff members, who look to make sure the person is registered, is not registered elsewhere and did not vote multiple times.

They look at the names, dates of birth, addresses and voter registration information to make sure every vote is properly counted. This year, about 1,300 provisional ballots were turned in - a larger-than-normal total for the county. The provisional ballots are cast by voters at the polls who lack normal ballots, usually due to issues like a recent move, name change or showing up to the wrong polling place.

Once the verification process is complete, election workers will run the ballots through electronic voting machines for a final tally.

According to the Elections Office, some workers put in hours on the ballots last week despite furloughs closing the office.

The Union Democrat
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