Julio Closes Another 40% of His Gap; Provisionals Remain

So far as I can tell, there are five basic ways to keep your valid ballot from being included in the tally at the end of the day on Election night:

  1. Mail in your absentee ballot late enough that it doesn’t arrive until Tuesday (or maybe Monday as well)
  2. Bring your absentee ballot with you to drop off at the polls on Election Day
  3. Request a paper ballot
  4. Somehow ruin your otherwise legitimate ballot so that it has to be copied over and processed
  5. Cast what is known as a “provisional ballot,” because you don’t qualify to cast a regular one because, for example, you have moved within the county

These five additional categories are counted pretty much in this order (although I may have switched one or two) in the days after Election Day.  The first two categories tend to trend conservative and Republican; the latter three, I’m told, tend to trend the opposite way.  And so you see the results, in the days after process in a close race, trend first this way and then trend that way.

Right now, the first four categories of additional ballots are all counted — and Julio Perez is probably off somewhere this weekend singing to himself, “I Want It That Way.”

He may be about to get his way.

Julio is rising.

Perez, as you recall, started Election Day in a virtual tie with Michele Martinez, well back of second-place finisher Joe Moreno.  He has slowly been moving upwards.  Yesterday, he was just about 1000 ballots short of Moreno.  Today, as counting has moved into his more favorable categories, he is about 600 votes back.

Going into the weekend, the Orange County Registrar of Voters estimates that of the 111,165 ballots that were initially left to count after Election Day, 17,125 remain to count.  This includes 200 vote-by-mail ballots that were mailed in, 1233 vote-by-mail ballots brought to the polls, 230 paper ballots — and 15,462 provisionals, of which none have been counted.

Two things to keep in mind:

First, this figure is countywide, and AD-69 is only about 1/6.5 of the county.  AD-69 has the lowest voting rate of any Assembly District in Orange County — but my guess is that, being the most transient, it may have the highest number of provisional ballots.

Second, provisional ballots are just that: provisional.  They count provided that certain conditions are met showing that the voter was actually entitled to cast a ballot in this district.  Not all of them — maybe most of them — may end up counting.

Julio’s movement today has to give him some basis for optimism, though.  This is where the candidates stand after today:

TOM DALY 10,453 40.1%
JOSE “JOE” MORENO 5,701 21.8%
JULIO PEREZ 5,095 19.5%

606 votes is probably close to the “over/under” bet that I’d make for how much Julio might pick up.  A lot of those provisionals will be in Santa Ana, a lot will be accepted, and by far most of them are likely to go to Julio.

I was reminded today that there was another relatively recent election that went into overtime like this: the 2006 election in which Lou Correa beat Republican Lynne Daucher for his current State Senate seat after having trailed her on Election Day.  Correa kept chugging along, and on that last day — he passed her and won.

If history repeats itself and takes out one of Correa’s biggest allies in the same fashion, it would be ironic — and much more.

UPDATE: Forgot to add, take a look at what’s happening in AD-72!  Joe Dovinh is catching up to Travis Allen, now just 255 votes down in the race for second place — but Long Pham is catching up to Joe Dovinh, just 96 votes behind him!  Whom do provisionals favor — Allen, Dovihn, or Pham?

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)