CVF in the News

By Grace Case, The Mercury News, May 6, 2024


In the end, it came down to 19 ballots in Santa Clara County that ultimately made the difference in the hotly contested Congressional District 16 race — ballots that were never counted the first time around due to simple human error.

While a change equal to just a fraction of a percent of votes is unlikely to shift the entire results of most elections, a once-in-a-generation perfect tie in this case exposed the gaffes and fumbles by one county in the tabulation process.

What followed the March primary was two months of counting and recounting more than 182,000 votes in the race to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo — a stunning saga that finally came to a close on Wednesday afternoon, with Assemblymember Evan Low emerging victorious over Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian by a margin of just five votes.

By Michael R. Blood, AP News, May 2, 2024


Nearly two months after the election, a recount settled the outcome in a Northern California U.S. House primary contest, breaking a mathematically improbable tie for second place but also spotlighting the lengthy stretch it took count the votes.

Most California residents vote by mail, and in the pursuit of accuracy, thoroughness and counting every vote, the nation’s most populous state has gained a reputation for tallies that can drag on for weeks — and sometimes longer. Voting in the state’s primary election concluded on March 5.

At time when many Americans have doubts about election integrity, a two-month stretch to tally votes in one House race “absolutely is a problem from an optics point of view,” said Kim Alexander, president of the nonpartisan California Voter Foundation, which seeks to improve the voting process.

By Grace Hase and Harriet Blair Rowan, The San Jose Mercury News, April 26, 2024


Mystery, sniping and challenged ballots — all swirl around the extraordinary recount in the Congressional District 16 race as it drags into its third week.

Who will emerge the victor — if anyone — between Assemblymember Evan Low and Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian who are in a dead heat for second place?

There may be no hanging chads in this ballot counting, but the much awaited outcome is still very much unknown.

On April 15, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties began the ambitious task of recounting the more than 182,000 votes cast in the March primary race to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo. Since then, nearly 175,000 ballots have been pulled out of storage boxes and rescanned by machines. As of Friday afternoon, Low had a one vote lead on Simitian.

By Jenny Huh, KGET, March 29, 2024


The 2024 election cycle is well underway, and in California, voters may be able to return their vote-by-mail ballots in person. 

In fact, voters in some counties, like Fresno and Tulare, have already participated via this new method for the March 5 Presidential Primary Election. 

Assembly Bill 626 was introduced by Assemblymember Gail Pellerin, chair of the California Assembly’s Elections Committee and former chief elections official in Santa Cruz County.

Experts said the new law is to make voting more accessible and speed up vote counting.

“To return a vote by mail ballot to an in-person voting location, and that [voters] don’t have to place that ballot in the identification envelope in certain circumstances,” Chris Micheli, adjunct professor at the McGeorge School of Law, discussing what the law does. 

By Sameea Kamal, CAL Matters March 19, 2024


Two weeks plus one day after voting ended in California’s primary, there are 108,000 ballots left to be counted, and a dozen congressional and legislative races remain too close to call. 

While the uncounted ballots are less than about 2% of the 7.7 million cast, readers have again asked why it takes so long for California to finish counting votes.

California started mailing ballots to all registered voters for the November 2020 election. This year, about 50% of ballots cast were counted on primary night March 5, compared to 41% in June 2022, according to data from the California Voter Foundation. 

By Mackenzie Mays, Los Angeles Times, March 18, 2024


“We just need to have eyes on things after everything that’s been going on,” Hicks said as he rushed to his SUV to tail officials down dark farmland back roads to more drop boxes where ballots were waiting to be collected, all part of his duties as a self-appointed election observer.

Hicks, a real estate agent from Lodi, believes California’s universal vote-by-mail process is fraught with fraud risks, echoing unfounded messaging from the far right that election officials nationwide have worked to combat since Donald Trump and his allies began blaming his 2020 presidential loss on claims of fraud that have been shot down by numerous courts. 

That paranoia is difficult to dismiss in this part of California’s Central Valley, though, after a local politician was arrested on allegations of a slew of crimes involving election fraud.

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By Lindsey Holden, Sacramento Bee, March 18, 2024


California Gov. Gavin Newsom and a group opposing the Proposition 1 ballot measure are both urging voters whose ballots may have been rejected to fix their signatures in the too-close-to-call race.

Californians Against Prop. 1 on Friday began drawing attention to a Newsom effort to recruit volunteers who could contact voters whose mail-in ballots are being challenged due to signature problems.

Proposition 1 would restructure California’s Mental Health Services Act and provide $6.4 billion in bond money to increase the number of treatment beds and housing for those dealing with mental illness and addiction. The ballot measure remains deadlocked, with 50.1% of votes in favor of the initiative and 49.9% against it as of Monday morning, according to the Secretary of State’s Office. About 20,000 votes separate the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ sides.

By Melissa Goldin, AP News, March 15, 2024


CLAIM: California is still counting votes more than a week after the March 5 primary, a sign the election was rigged.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. It is not unusual for California’s vote count to extend long past Election Day and there has been no indication of widespread fraud in this year’s primaries, experts told The Associated Press. Factors that contribute to this lengthy process include the large number of people who vote by mail, provisional ballots and signature verification.

THE FACTS: More than a week since Super Tuesday, social media users are erroneously claiming that California’s ongoing vote count is a sign of nefarious activities related to its March 5 primaries.

By Julia Wick, Los Angeles TImes, March 5, 2024


Forget election night. Election season has been upon us for weeks, and it won’t be over anytime soon.

California’s prodigious adoption of vote-by-mail balloting has done more than fundamentally alter how we engage in the democratic process. The shift has also necessitated a cultural reconfiguration about election night results, and recast the timeline for learning outcomes in many races.

Definitive answers will likely only be clear in the most lopsided of contests by late Tuesday night. And conclusive results could take days or weeks to emerge in some of the tightest races.

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Think of it this way: When a Californian shows up at a vote center and casts a ballot in person, as was once commonplace, all the verification is done up front at the vote center. When that ballot arrives for tabulation, no extra steps are needed.

Californians Head To Polls On Super Tuesday

By KQED News Staff, KQED, March 5, 2024


Polling places are open in California, as local and statewide races are on the ballot. Two of the biggest races — the U.S. Senate seat that had long been held by the late Dianne Feinstein and Proposition 1, a proposal dealing with mental health and homelessness. (Full Audio)