1st Supe Race: Do Certified as Winner by 43, but It Ain’t Actually Over Until the Bald Guy Concedes (and Maybe Not Even Then)

Correa Do Certification

Political observers seem to have agreed that Correa has moved out of the picture — with OJB’s writer being an exception

The OC Registrar of Voters office has finished counting the ballots and has certified the results, stating that Andrew Do has won the election over Lou Correa by 43 votes out of 48,626 cast, 37,767 of which were case for the two leaders.  That an election’s results are certified does not actually mean that the election is over; as we saw from the Garden Grove Mayor’s race and the battle over Measure J, which is still ongoing since November, certification isn’t necessarily the end; sometimes it is simply the step preceding a recount or a ballot inspection that prepares for a court challenge.

I find myself in the peculiar position of, having been the sole Democrat in the party hierarchy who did not want the party to endorse him — largely because it would leave Central Committee members free to promote Chris Phan in Little Saigon, which would not likely hurt Correa but would likely take votes away from Andrew Do — I now find myself to be the only one I can find who is publicly saying that Correa should go ahead and ask for a recount of provisional ballots, with an eye towards a court challenge.  And, in fact, if he doesn’t do it, then the Democratic Party of Orange County — which didn’t actually do anything noticeable beyond its endorsement except exhorting people to support Correa — should do it instead.

We’re in a bizarre situation here where many people seem to believe that underhanded tricks — yes, the “voter fraud” that we Democrats are not supposed to believe in and that Republicans supposedly think is rampant enough to justify Voter ID laws — are playing a substantial role in the massive turnout achievements of the “Jannies” in the Vietnamese community, yet nobody seems to want to, you know, GO AND CHECK IT OUT.  The path for doing so has already been plowed by the opponents of Measure J, who did not call for a recount but who instead went and gathered evidence that they apparently still believe that voter fraud made a decisive difference in that election.  I haven’t been following the Measure J saga (which I understand is now in court) for the past month because of the press of work, but what they did — which was actually pretty cheap — was exactly what Correa, or the DPOC, or the OCEA, or someone somewhere in the district should be doing now: copying many many provisional ballots and late — including very late — absentees and seeing, primarily, whether the signatures match.

While (with some misgivings) I would like to see a different result in this election, that’s not even the primary reason that I’d want to see such an effort go forward.  The problem we have right now — in which (1) a lot of people think that the political process was corrupt, and (2) the degree of corruption would have easily been sufficient to affect the outcome of this race, but (3) no one tries to determine the truth — is simply intolerable.  If there weren’t so many people muttering about the prospect of absentee ballots being filled out in the name of (and without the knowledge of) voters in Vietnamese areas, I wouldn’t feel strongly about pursuing it.  But there have been, there still are, and (given what is going on right now) there will be even more in the future.

Whichever way it turns out is fine.  If it turns out that there is no sign of voter fraud — that the signatures match and the voters on record as having voted acknowledge having done so — then that’s fine!  In that case, the mutterers should stop muttering about Little Saigon being the contemporary equivalent of Mayor Richard M. Daley’s Chicago.  As someone who would be very happy to learn that voter fraud really is a myth, I’d be perfectly happy with the cloud being removed over Little Saigon.

But, if there are major “irregularities” in the votes, then it has got to stop.  The court system will only get involved where there is a live and serious controversy, such as the one that we have (if we choose to recognize it) now.  Who knows when or if the next opportunity to x-ray Little Saigon’s ballots — and give it either a clean bill of health or drastic emergency surgery — will come in a race close enough where the amount of potentially identifiable irregularities might be decisive?  Not “testing the system” in this circumstance would constitute simply through up one’s hands — and if Democrats do so then we will rightly be ignored when we insinuate possible wrongdoing in future elections involving Little Saigon.

OK, let do what we did last time and display the table of new overall totals (with the changes from Thursday’s final numbers in RED):


Registration and Turnout
Completed Precincts: 101 of 101
Reg/Turnout Percentage
Total Registered Voters 215,503
Precinct Registration 215,503
Precinct Ballots Cast 7,610 [+ 167] 3.5%
Early Ballots Cast 0 0.0%
Absentee Ballots Cast 41,016 [+ 414] 19.0%
Total Ballots Cast 48,626 [+ 581] 22.6%


County Supervisor First District, Short Term
Completed Precincts: 101 of 101
Vote Count Percentage
ANDREW DO 18,905 [+ 207] 39.1%
LOU CORREA 18,862 [+ 249] 39.0%
CHRIS PHAN 7,857 [+ 72] 16.3%
CHUYEN VAN NGUYEN 1,879 [+ 29] 3.9%
LUPE MORFIN-MORENO 834 [+16] 1.7%
MARK I. LOPEZ (W) [+ 2] 0.0%

I don’t think I’ve noticed another election outside of “all mail ballots” Oregon where no more than 15.65% of votes were cast at the polls.

The “What’s Left to Count?” pages on the OCROV site now break down how many of each ballot type occurred.

Here’s the total counted after Election Day:

Total estimated number of ballots to count (after Election Day): 6,937 [+0] — in other words, this appears to indicate that no ballots came in on the third day after the election!

Total estimated number of ballots counted (after Election Day): 6,937  [+ 765]

Total estimated number of ballots left to count: 0 [- 765]

From what categories were the newly counted ballots?

Later-arriving Vote By Mail ballots:  The number of them to be counted increased from remained at 682.  The final 396 were counted on Friday.

Paper ballots:  Still at 141 turned in; the final 5 were counted Friday.

Absentee ballots returned at the polls:  Still at 4,850 turned in; the final 70 were counted Friday.

Provisional ballots:  Still at 1,264 provisionals turned in; the final 294 were counted Friday.  (It appears that none were disqualified.)

Both I and Chris Nguyen had expected Do to pick up ground on Friday, so Correa’s cutting his deficit in half despite the much smaller proportion of provisionals was actually pretty impressive.  (It also argues against fraud in the most belatedly arriving absentees.)

As I’ve predicted for much of the week, Correa is not likely to pursue a recount despite how very much he’d like to return to this office.  I also doubt that Democrats will do it, despite that it is the best chance ever to take a whack at the Jannie machine.  (Many Vietnamese appear to have favored Broadwater over Bao in the Garden Grove election, and of course the 2007 special was led by two Vietnamese candidates.)  Democrats can feel pretty secure that there’s no commensurate fraud going on in Santa Ana to benefit Lou Correa — because Correa just didn’t do all that well.  (And if such voter fraud took place, I as a Democrat would like to see the perpetrators hanged by their thumbs.)

If someone doesn’t step forward and assess the votes now, I don’t think that they’re ever going to do it.

In other words — I don’t think that they’re ever going to do it.  And they may never have another chance like this one.

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-disabled and semi-retired, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally ran for office against jerks who otherwise would have gonr 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.) His daughter is a professional campaign treasurer. He doesn't usually know whom she and her firm represent. Whether they do so never influences his endorsements or coverage. (He does have his own strong opinions.) But when he does check campaign finance forms, he is often happily surprised to learn that good candidates he respects often DO hire her firm. (Maybe bad ones are scared off by his relationship with her, but they needn't be.)