KERN COUNTY, Calif. (KERO) — Early mid-term election results are in, the key word being "early," which could be confusing as the election process is not always easy to follow.
Polls are closed, voting is over, but elections continue. There is a lot of work that now gets handed over to election offices across the country. That is why despite the latest numbers, it is still too soon to call winners.
When asked if there was a possibility that election results could change, Mary Bedard, the Kern County Registrar of Voters, had this to say.
"Oh definitely, we have a very small percentage of the vote count. We don’t know the turnout yet at this point, but the majority of the votes still have not been counted."
Bedard, who oversees the Kern County elections, says that the count is incomplete despite staying up until almost 3 a.m. the day after the election counting ballots.
"Simply we finished counting the ballots cast at the polls yesterday," explained Bedard. "We are not done "
Since they won’t have all the ballots that were mailed out yesterday for another week, those results, including what many news outlets are looking at online, are still very preliminary.
"We still have many ballots to count. The mail ballots that came in either just before election day and then usually a majority of ballots come in on election day. Many of them are dropped off at the polls, or the drop boxes or they come in the mail."
With the last two elections showing an average of 92 percent of voters voting by mail, this means they don’t even physically have a majority of those ballots still left to count. They now have 30 days to get the final results to the Secretary of State, but it’s a long process from here, and matching the signatures is just the first step.
"Then we can begin the process but you have to go through, open up all the envelopes, make sure there are no rips, then you have to batch them, then we send them to the count room where they get counted."
After that, there's still another step to the process.
"We take 1 percent of those and do an actual hand count and then compare it to the machine count and then compare that to the machine count to make sure that there are no problems "
Because it is a time-consuming process, Bedard adds that those using Ballot Trax should also be patient.
"The notification through ballot track is when we process is it, so the people that have dropped their ballot at the polls yesterday, it is not going to show up because we are still sorting through the envelopes."
All of that is with no more poll workers. This is just the regular staff doing this work for hundreds of thousands of ballots. This is just the beginning for the elections office, and it is going to be a busy 30 days.