June 7 Primary in L.A. County—Still Counting Votes

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In-person voting at the Palisades Recreation Center at the June 7 primary was busy. A week later, votes are still being counted.

An April story in “The Local” (“How do the French Produce such Accurate Early Election Results?”) notes that if you’re used to British or American elections you might be expecting an all-night count, but in France, a provisional result is released at 8 p.m. that is virtually always right.

That story is absolutely incorrect because the June 7 primary election held in California, was still counting votes on June 14.  Forget an all-nighter, the L. A. is on a real bender.

I can get an Amazon delivery from the middle of India faster than I can find out who won the election. The L.A. County Registrar promises it will have final results in 30 days.

Well, maybe it takes so long because California does not have the technology to count votes. It seems that every vote is counted by hand, by a volunteer using an abacus.

But, a March 2022 story (“Three California Event Tech Leaders Explain the State’s Advantage,”) says California is the place to be if you’re in the field of technology. “California counts 1.88 million technology workers–more than twice the number as the next ranked state.

  • California added more tech jobs than any other state since 2010.
  • California’s economy alone accounts for over a quarter of U.S. tech productivity.
  • Seven of the world’s top 10 AI investors are based in California.”

Well, it appears that California has the technology. The delay in counting, might be because it was difficult for voters to get ballots. That would be a wrong assumption, too.

A ballot is mailed to every active registered voter, about 21.94 million ballots. KQED reported in a September 2021 story (“California Adopts Vote-by-Mail System for All Future Elections”) that “A study released by the Public Policy Institute of California, earlier this year found that mailing voters a ballot by default was the most effective prescription for boosting voter participation.”

This primary election had a voter turnout of 16 percent. It was 25.17 percent in 2014 and 33.31 in 2010. I’m glad studies are never wrong.

How much did it cost to send ballots to everyone (including the two people who no longer live at my address)? KQED said it was estimated that the recent recall vote for Governor Gavin Newsom cost at least $276 million, according to estimates compiled by the state Department of Finance.

“Staff for the state Assembly Appropriations Committee estimated that the new law will result in counties mailing ballots to 2.3 million additional registered voters — those who had not previously opted to vote by mail — at an additional cost of $4 million for printing and mailing.”

How does that help the environment to cut down trees to print the ballots, to use the Post Office to put them in trucks and drive them around the state? Oh, if it is about voting, it does not affect the environment – got it!

Well, of course it was a low turnout because people would have to find stamps to mail the ballots.

What? The postage is paid. That’s right, that was part of the $276 million, because there are unlimited tax dollars in California.

Well, maybe people lost the ballots and couldn’t make it on June 7 to vote. Another bad assumption. People can vote EARLY at centers, some are open more than a week before the vote.

Well, people might have to work and not make it back to their precinct center to vote before the polls close. Also false, a voter can vote anywhere in the 4,753 sq. mile county.

At least with so few people voting, Los Angeles County probably had the results that same night.

In a June 9 News Release, the registrar noted that the estimated number of outstanding ballots is 506,050 and that it continues to prioritize timely processing and counting of outstanding ballots with an update expected June 14. On that date, it was announced that there were still 365,820 ballots left to count.

Psychologists are finding that immediate rewards are stronger predictors of activity persistence than delayed rewards. Maybe more timely results would result in higher voter numbers? Couldn’t hurt.

Oh, I get it. Politicians hope that it takes so long to count that everyone forgets, and no one cares anymore who actually won.

By the way, with this latest count, Karen Bass is now leading Rick Caruso 202,818 votes to 189,178.

 

 

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