The Santa Clara County elections office reported today that the counting of ballots is going smoothly, and said the pace of counting should increase Friday through Sunday.
An additional 61,324 ballots were counted on Wednesday, said Steve Goltiao, a communications officer with the Registrar of Voters. Nearly 310,000 ballots were counted through Wednesday, estimated to be 51% of total votes cast in the county.
The pace of the ballot counting is testing the patience of candidates and their supporters in several tight races, including the mayoral contests in Santa Clara and San Jose and the elections for District 1 supervisor and county sheriff.
“The most time-consuming part of ballot processing is getting the ballots ready for the counting machines, so the first couple days after the election will be slower,” said Goltiao.
Increased totals could give a clearer picture of election outcomes as early as this weekend, based on information provided by the elections office.
“We are doing our best to process ballots as quickly as possible,” Goltiao said, in an email response to questions posed by San Jose Inside. “The ballot counting process is highly labor-intensive, as we have to double-sort, signature verify and open/flatten the ballots before being placed in the counting machines.”
The office has 10 counting machines and 2 staff assigned to each machine. Other staff are assigned to sorting, signature verification, opening/flattening and adjudication.
The registrar’s office will be reporting results at 5pm today through Sunday, then at 5pm every other day until the unofficial results are certified on Dec.8.
Elections officials expect the turnout in Santa Clara County in this year’s general election to be 55 to 65%, an estimate based on the number of returned vote-by-mail ballots.
Voter turnout in Santa Clara County in the most recent gubernatorial election year, 2018, was 70.6%. Four years earlier, turnout was 50.18%, In 2010, 67.16% of registered voters in the county cast ballots. The number of registered voters in Santa Clara County surged in 2020, and increased again this year to 1,009,422, nearly 14% greater than in 2018.