BALLOT UPDATE: “Saturday Night’s Alright for Countin'”




Changing Elton John’s name to “Neal Kelley” is flat-out beyond my capabilities.  (Arguably, changing “Fighting” to “Counting” was too.)


  1. Links to Prior Posts and Amazing Analysis

  2. Resources

  3. Announcements of Already Settled Matters

  4. Update of Registrar’s “What’s Left to Count

  5. The Thing Itself


2. Resources

3. Announcements, Including What Racwa We’re No Longer Covering

  • All of OC’s Congressional Seats have gone to Democrats.
  • Only two State Legislative districts — SD-34 (Nguyen-Umberg) and AD-72 (Diep- Josh Lowenthal) appear to be unresolved.  We’ve stopped daily coverage of the rest.
  • Dems win SD-32; Reeps (very likely) win SD-36.
  • Republicans retain AD-55, AD-68, AD-73.
  • Democrats retain AD-65, AD-69 and pick up AD-74.
  • The canvas of votes can go on for 30 days.  Be patient.
  • There are differences in supporters of the major parties that lead to races starting out favoring Republicans and then over time moving in the direction of Democrats.  That repeated patterns, stable over many years, is not sinister.
    • Republicans tend to make up their minds about races earlier, have more stable residency, and face fewer barriers to voting, all of which mean that they tend to vote by mail and get counted earlier.
    • Democrats have less party control and less deference to party, so they tend to agonize more over each race; they are also more likely to find themselves unregistered due to residence changes, all of which means that they tend to vote through means that are counted later.

4. What’s Left to Count?  (These are mostly estimates)

Absentee ballots that came in early enough, ballots cast early in voting centers and at the ROV, and most in-precinct voting machine ballots were counted and reported by the end of election day.

Of the 471,011 total ballots that were left to count, 333,155 have been and 137,856 haven’t.

  • Of the 120,800 earlier vote-by-mail ballots that were left to count, 115,710 have been and 5,090 haven’t.
  • Of the (estimated) 130,000 provisional ballots that were left to count, 19,928 have been counted and 110,072 haven’t.  (Some provisionals won’t be counted at all, because the voter’s eligibility to vote will not have been established.)
  • Of the 187,800 vote-by-mail ballots returned at the polls that were left to count, 187,526 have been counted and 274 haven’t.
  • Of the 13,200 election day paper ballots that were left to count, 11,696 have been counted and 1,504 haven’t.
  • Of the 20,947 eligible vote-by-mail ballots received after Election Day that were left to count, 20,502 have been counted at 445 have not.
  • Of the 3,264 requiring Conditional Voter Registrations that had been left to count, none have been counted.

5. Today’s News

(Keep this most recent post available to see how things have changed.)

Here are the stats as of today:

Registration and Turnout
Completed Precincts: 1546 of 1546
Reg/Turnout Percentage
Total Registered Voters 1,558,988
Precinct Registration 1,558,988
Precinct Ballots Cast 307,245 19.7%
Early Ballots Cast 20,764 1.3%
Vote-by-Mail Ballots Cast 673,895 43.2%
Total Ballots Cast 1,001,904 64.3%

You’ll see why that one number is boldfaced in pink pretty soon.

(A) SD-34

Here’s the OC portion of the race:

STATE SENATOR 34th District
Completed Precincts: 313 of 313
Vote Count Percentage


(was 106,225)
(was 51.1%) 


(was 101,847)
(was 48.9)%)

So Umberg’s deficit in OC went from 4,378 to 3,709 — a gain for him of 669 votes out of 6,619 counted.  If he keeps on gaining 1 vote for every 10 votes counted, then if all outstanding votes are counted (they won’t be) and if the ballots don’t become more favorable to him from this point on (they will be), he could expect about 21.4% of the outstanding 137,856 to be counted.  That would be about 29,500 votes, or an expected gain of 2,950 — about 750 less than he needs.

Luckily for him, part of the district is in LA.  Unluckily for him, they don’t report until next Tuesday.  LA has counted 28,010 votes and he has a 9% lead among them.  So, to get 750 more votes, as things stand he’d need to see about 11 x 750 — that is, 8,250 — votes counted.  That seems like more votes than are likely to be out there.

But don’t despair, Umberg fans!  I’ve made a lot of assumptions about things continuing as a linear extrapolation of what’s come before, and the odds that they’ll be off to some substantial degree are pretty good.  We just don’t know how much and in what direction.  If my hunch yesterday that the Republican Party representatives are unreasonably refusing to concede signature matches in a high proportion of the provisional ballots in this race, then Umberg’s figures will go up more sharply.  So if I’m projecting that he’d finish about 100-200 votes short, that message is “don’t get your hopes up too high” rather than to abandon them altogether.

(B) AD-72

Here’s where things stand in this race:

Completed Precincts: 207 of 207
Vote Count Percentage
(was 71,709)
(was 52.4%)
(was 65,094)
(was 47.6%)

J-Low’s deficit went down from 6,615 to 6,089 — a gain of 526 votes — which is obviously not enough to put him on track to win in less than three weeks of counting.  Only about 14.82% of the county’s ballots thus far have come out of this district, so with 137,856 supposedly still to be counted, that’s about 20,433 one could expect to be counted here (based on the assumptions that are both unrealistic and probably the best we have.)  He’d need to outpoll Diep by 13,261 to 7,172 in order to win — that means receiving 64.6% of the vote — and that’s just not going to happen: he only got 52.25% of the added vote today.  The hope for him is the same as the hope for Umberg — though probably more so: he has to hope that they have been challenging provisional ballots likely to favor him to an insane degree, so that provisionals yet to be approved might come in at the sort of rate he needs.  It’s not impossible: just offer to help him monitor the count if you can and don’t get your hopes up too high.  Catching the West OC Republicans abusing their power in counting ballots would be helpful even if he loses.

On to city races!

(C) Santa Ana Mayor

Only time here to post the results from the past two days:

Completed Precincts: 78 of 78
 FRIDAY Vote Count Percentage
* MIGUEL A. PULIDO 25,132 50.9%
SAL TINAJERO 24,241 49.1%


 SATURDAY Vote Count Percentage
* MIGUEL A. PULIDO 23,922 50.9%
SAL TINAJERO 23,082 49.1%

Yeah, we’ll have to come back to this, now that we’ve set a baseline.

(D) Anaheim Mayor

I smell a rat here — or maybe it’s just an exceptionally dirty Mouse.

Here are the raw vote totals from today — and they do not, not one bit, tell the most significant story of the race:

Completed Precincts: 129 of 129
Vote Count Percentage
HARRY SIDHU 24,355 33.8%
ASHLEIGH AITKEN 22,811 31.7%
LORRI GALLOWAY 10,718 14.9%
CYNTHIA WARD 6,396 8.9%
H. FUJI SHIOURA 2,490 3.5%
RUDY GAONA 1,970 2.7%
TONY D. MARTIN 975 1.4%

Ashleigh gained 391 votes to Harry Sidhu’s 310 — an 81-vote gain that, if repeated consistently, would allow her to make up her 544-vote deficit in about eight more days of counting.

That’s possible, but it’s not probable.  So far, 7.19 percent of the OC ballots have contained a vote in the Anaheim Mayor’s race; if we go back again to the estimate of 137,856 votes still out, that would be 9,912 more votes coming to Anaheim.  (Realistically, as a largely Democratic area, the likely number of votes for Anaheim would be higher and more favorable to Ashleigh than my estimates, but I like starting with straight linear projections.)  Anaheim has had 11,886 votes counted in the past four days: that;s 2971.5/day, or enough for only four more days of counting.

Looking at it another way, Ashleigh has only picked up about 56 votes per every 1000 counted.  So in round terms, 56*12 thousands left to count would mean that Ashleigh would be expected to pick up only 672 more votes — well short of the 1,544 she needs.

Don’t believe it.  As I said, something seems to be up — and it looks like a similar thing to what’s happening in the legislative races, only easier to track.

Here are the RAW TOTALS of  HOW MANY BALLOTS HAVE BEEN COUNTED in the Anaheim Mayor’s race in each of the past four days:

Wednesday: 5,768
Thursday: 2,969
Friday: 1,990
Saturday: 1,159

In other words, someone is turning off the tap of votes coming into Anaheim — enough so that the number dropped by almost 50% on Thursday, then by a third of that on Friday, and then by 45% of that on Saturday.

Why would that be happening?  Well, the most obvious answer, yet again, is that as we’ve moved into counting provisionals, fewer are getting processed — because an objection to the signature match can be enough to freeze them.  (This also puts a burden upon the ROV’s office to contact voters who had mismatches — and upon voters to show up to claim their ballots within a limited time period.)  And if provisionals are more likely to favor Ashleigh, that would mean that once they are counted she’ll likely be doing far better than picking up only 56 votes per thousand ballots counted.

So this suggests a hypothesis: let’s see which of the three districts in Anaheim with elections on the ballot have the biggest drop in numbers per day.  As I write this, I haven’t yet done the analysis, so I’ll literally going to do it now.

[Hold music plays.]

OK, I’ve only looked at the changes for one day (Saturday) so far, but it looks like District 2 had about 50 more ballots than District 6 and District 3, which were about tied.  I’ll have to look at more days before I can come to even a tentative conclusion, but let me pose a question for now:

Granting that wealthy District 6 votes at a far higher rate than does impoverished District 3, would you really expect District 6 to have as many provisional ballots by the eighth day of counting as you’d expect from District 3?  Or does it seem that perhaps a whole bunch of ballots favoring Ashleigh could be sitting unopened?

Provisionals, folks, I gotta tell you — they’re just ripe for mischief!

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.)