Only about one-third of the ballots from Tuesday's election in Sacramento County have been processed, leaving about a quarter-million ballots yet to be counted.
That means the results of many contests in the county are still up in the air, even though results indicate solid victories for candidates in some races.
There is a lot of noise currently at the Sacramento County Registrar of Voters' office. Ballots are being checked for signatures, counted, and processed. But they must be opened first.
Interim Registrar of Voters Alice Jarboe oversees the operation as she stands next to dozens of mail carts full of canvas sacks. Many of the sacks are full of pink vote-by-mail ballots.
"We're putting them through these what we call 'letter extractors' that cuts the top inside the envelope,” she says. “Suction cups open the envelope so we can just take the ballot pages out. What you see behind you are all those ballot pages that are ready to go up to the processing team. They're going to unfold those ballot pages, get them to put into the uncounted ballot room."
Jarboe says as of Tuesday night, about 125,000 ballots had been processed from early voting. There were an additional 57,000 ballots that had not been processed.
On Tuesday, another 178,000 people dropped off or cast their votes at vote centers. Add them together and you have about 235,000 unprocessed and uncounted ballots. And that's not counting the ballots that were mailed but haven't yet reached the registrar’s office.
Jarboe says if all of the ballots received are valid, Sacramento’s turnout will be about 49 percent, compared to 29 percent in the June 2014 primary election.
People may think that electronic ballots speed up the counting process, but that's not true. The ballots are printed and then scanned at the registrar's office.
Jarboe says the next results update will likely be Friday. The office has 30 days to report election results to the Secretary of State's office.