It’s been a week since Election Day and ballot counting is still ongoing in California as Republicans are one seat away from winning a majority in the US House of Representatives.
Nine races in the Golden State are yet to be called, with an uncertain lead of a likely Republican majority at stake. However, a deeper look into the state’s election processes sheds light on what’s causing the delayed results.
California is a mail-in ballot state, which means every registered voter is automatically mailed a ballot 29 days before Election Day. If they choose to vote, voters then complete their ballot, sign an outer envelope, and return it to their county election official or drop it off at a ballot box or drop-off location.
Voters can also choose to drop off their completed ballot at an in-person polling station on Election Day while polling stations are open.
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Electoral officials shall be entitled to begin processing returned ballots immediately within 29 days prior to the election day on which postal voting takes place; However, no results may be reported until state polling stations close on election night.
Ballots can be received by election officials by Tuesday, November 15, provided they were postmarked on or before Election Day.
Ballot processing involves verifying each voter’s signature on the outer envelope before the ballot is removed for counting. This can take a long time considering millions of mail-in ballots were returned before, on and after Election Day. This also applies to ballot papers from abroad.
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The results are then released by each individual county once tabulated. Each district is required to report to the California Secretary of State’s office the number of unprocessed ballots remaining on the second day after the election and each day beginning on the sixth day after the election.
California does not offer in-person early voting.
Tuesday is the last day for mail-in ballots to be accepted by election officials.
Republicans won 217 seats over Democrats’ 205 as of Tuesday afternoon. A party must win 218 seats to achieve a majority on the 435-seat body.
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The race for California’s 34th congressional district was not included in the nine races remaining because the race is contested between two Democratic candidates. Fox News has already credited the Democrats with the win and included it in their 205 tally.