It has been three days since the midterm elections. Did California miss the memo?
The Golden State is the opposite of the gold standard on just about every issue, from poverty to homelessness to energy policy, and election procedures are at the top of the list. According to the New York Times, there are 31 House races where no winner has been determined. Of those 31, more than half (16) are in California.
The state is not even close to determining who the winner is in those races. Just one of those 16 races has had more than 60% of the votes counted. In five of them, the state hasn’t even counted half of the votes. In California’s 6th Congressional District, only 35% of the votes have been counted. For comparison, of the 15 non-California races still up for grabs, the slowest count is in Washington’s 7th District, at 70%.
Statewide, California has counted just 56% of the vote three days after polls closed.
This is not new for California either. In 2018, NBC News did not declare a winner in California’s competitive 21st Congressional District until Dec. 6, a full month after Election Day on Nov. 6. In 2020, the Associated Press didn’t declare a winner until 24 days after Election Day. Now remade into the 22nd District, just 43% of the votes have been counted in what will likely be another nail-biter race that could determine control of the House of Representatives. It’s not likely we will know the result before Thanksgiving.
Florida, with a population of over 21 million people in two different time zones, is able to count all of its votes within hours of the polls closing. California has 39 million people, sure, but that doesn’t justify taking nearly a month to count votes. California does not even have all of the votes that have been cast: Mail-in ballots can arrive as late as Nov. 15, whereas in Florida, mail-in ballots are only counted if they are received by Election Day.
There is no excuse for California to be this bad at running elections (or anything else). The state has all the resources it could ask for, and it remains the laughingstock of the nation, while its slow count helps sow distrust in election procedures. The state can fix this any time it wants to, but when have California Democrats been known to fix any of the state’s problems?