All Voter’s Choice Act counties have uncounted ballots; Nevada County expects new vote totals on Monday | TheUnion.com

All Voter’s Choice Act counties have uncounted ballots; Nevada County expects new vote totals on Monday

None of the five California counties that implemented the Voter's Choice Act for the primary election have counted all their ballots, and likely won't for several days, if not weeks.

Nevada, Napa, Madera, Sacramento and San Mateo counties opted into the Voter's Choice Act, which cost this county an estimated $258,000. The new voting method sent a vote-by-mail ballot to every registered voter in those counties. People could mail in their completed ballots, deliver them to designed spots or bring them to a vote center, which replaced traditional precinct polling places.

Nevada County officials said they haven't counted ballots mailed in or dropped off seven days before the election. On Thursday officials said they had 15,059 uncounted ballots, not including those still in the mail. They counted 16,346 ballots on election night. That gives the county about a 46.2 percent turnout, if the estimates are accurate.

Officials have said they'll release an updated vote count Monday, though it likely won't include all uncounted votes.

The four other counties are in similar circumstances.

Sacramento

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Sacramento County tallied 124,609 ballots on election night. It has another estimated 219,000 votes to count. That's a turnout of about 46.4 percent.

Officials anticipate reporting their final results by July 5, the last day all counties have to certify their votes.

"While there is no exact timeframe as to when new updates will be given, reports will be periodically released and available on our website," said Paige Bedegrew, Sacramento County communication and media officer, in an email.

The exact cost of implementing the Voter's Choice Act is unknown. However, Bedegrew said equipment costs ran around $3 million. Equipment for the polling-place model of voting costs between $8 million and $10 million.

Napa

Napa County counted 15,120 votes Tuesday night, and has another 15,000 to 20,000 uncounted, said John Tuteur, that county's registrar of voters.

That's about a 46.1 percent turnout.

Tuteur said he'll provide an updated vote total this afternoon. More will follow early next week.

"They all came back in envelopes and we have to check the signatures," Tuteur said of the ballots.

It cost about $175,000 to implement the Voter's Choice Act in Napa County, some of which includes one-time costs for new equipment.

Madera

Madera County tallied 18,258 ballots Tuesday night. It has almost 6,000 uncounted ballots remaining, said Rebecca Martinez, the county's clerk-recorder/registrar of voters.

That's about a 44.3 percent turnout.

Martinez said her county has never provided periodic updates, only the election night total and final count. However, she plans on giving an update today and next Friday, a change that stems from new voting equipment.

"We needed to make a change," Martinez said of the equipment.

Madera said the exact cost of implementing the Voter's Choice Act remains unknown.

San Mateo

San Mateo County officials counted 74,513 votes on election night. They have an estimated 55,954 to count, said Mark Church, that county's assessor-county clerk-recorder and chief elections officer, in an email.

That means the county has an expected turnout of 33.6 percent.

One update occurred Thursday. Two are scheduled for next week: Tuesday and Friday. A fourth, if necessary, is set for June 20, Church said.

Officials said the exact cost of the Voter's Choice Act is unknown.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.

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