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Though All Precincts Have Reported In Sacramento, It Will Be A While Until All Votes Are Counted

Bob Moffitt / CapRadio

Poll workers stack pink ballot envelopes to face the same way before feeding the envelopes into a machine.

Bob Moffitt / CapRadio

While some elections offices say all their precincts have reported, workers aren't close to counting all of the ballots.

That's because a precinct is counted as reporting after all ballots received are submitted to the county elections office, not after those ballots have been tabulated.

Janna Haynes, spokeswoman for the Sacramento County Voter Registration and Elections Department, said the results that were released at 2 a.m. Wednesday morning make up more than one-third of the ballots that the county has received.

"We have 185,000 and some change that have been tabulated, calculated and results released," Haynes said. "We have already partially processed another 175,000 ballots. And there's probably another 150,000 sitting here that haven't even been counted yet."

And then there are the ballots that were mailed in. The county will conduct a final pickup of those ballots on Friday and should have the voter turnout numbers by Monday.

The process begins when poll workers stack the pink envelopes to face the same way. Then bins of envelopes are carted down a hall to a room with a Pitney Bowes machine that weighs a couple of tons and is about 30 feet long.

Once fed into the machine, the envelopes whiz by as a camera takes 106 images per second of the signatures, while a scanner identifies the precincts and a sorter routes each ballot into its correct bin.

The ballots are then fed into one machine which opens the envelopes, and then another which scans the votes and sends them to a database where they are then compiled.

There are 14 scanners in use. Each can process about 5,500 ballots in a normal work day.

The county has until December 6 to send election results to the board of supervisors and December 7 to send results to the California Secretary of State’s Office.

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