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Officials discuss the amount of ballots received in Kern County

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Posted at 8:06 PM, Sep 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-14 02:24:08-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Election day is tomorrow, but voters in the recall election have been cast for the past few weeks. So, 23ABC looked into how many ballots have been returned and what that looks like here in Kern County.

If you’re a registered voter in California, you probably received a sample ballot along with your actual ballot in the mail a couple of weeks ago. About 7 million people across the state have already cast their votes as of September 9th.

“So, we’ve seen some good turnout. We’ve seen some good interest days before the election and so if it continues at that rate, hopefully, we’ll have a great turnout for this election, because it’s a very important election,” said Shirley Webber, California Secretary of State.

Webber said that in addition to almost a third of ballots already cast, about 150,000 people across the state have made their choice on who should be governor at vote centers that opened early.

So far, here in Kern County, about 108,000 ballots have been returned in total. One at a dropbox, about 4,500 at drop-off locations, and the rest by mail. That’s according to data from the secretary of state’s office as of September 9.

Once a filled ballot is returned to the county, teams at the election’s office can start tabulating and processing the ballots. This does not include counting them.

Data shows Kern County has a lower rate of acceptance of ballots than other counties. The state average is about 1 percent of ballots that have to be reviewed before officially counted.

In Kern County, about 104,000 ballots have been accepted, and 3,000 are under review. That’s about 3.5%.

This does not mean that the ballots are rejected, but they just go through a review process if there are signature discrepancies.

The acceptance rate has been increasing. A couple of weeks ago, the acceptance rate for a vote by mail ballots in Kern County was 93% and is now 96.3%. But, still, Kern has the second-lowest rate of acceptance per county.

Officials said the main reason for ballots having to be reviewed is because the voter didn’t sign, scribbled, or signed in the wrong place. If you need to correct the signature on your ballot, the elections department sends you a notice in the mail on how to fix that. But, before your drop your ballot off, this is what Webber recommends.

“You can tear the top off if you want, which is your receipt for your ballot, put it back in your envelope, seal the envelope, make sure you sign the envelope, and date the envelope. Once you do that, the ballot is ready,” said Webber.

If you haven’t returned your ballot yet and still want to vote in the election, it’s not too late. You can either mail your ballot in, as long as it is post-marked by the 14th, drop your ballot off at a drop-off location, or bring it with you to a polling site and either vote in person or drop your ballot off there.