Even as his opponent prepares to be sworn into office Monday, Michael Allen reiterated that he won’t concede the race for the 10th Assembly District seat until every last vote is counted. That could happen by Friday, when an estimated 15,000 provisional and absentee ballots in Sonoma County finally are tallied and the results of the Nov. 7 election are certified, according to county elections chief Janice Atkinson.
Odds are the outstanding ballots won’t alter the outcome of the race. At last count, San Rafael City Councilman Marc Levine held a slim but statistically significant lead over Allen of 3,468 votes.
Sonoma County workers Wednesday set about the laborious task of counting and verifying tens of thousands of mail-in ballots.
Bins of uncounted ballots in the Registrar of Voters’ warehouse vividly illustrated the numbers of envelopes yet to be opened and examined by a staff of up to 24 election workers committed to the task.
It likely will take the full 31 days permitted by law to count them, said Janice Atkinson, county elections chief.
That will delay the naming of victors in at least three local elections, and none of the results for any race or ballot measure will be official until that final certification.
County elections officials are urging absentee voters to drop off their ballots this weekend at one of the nine sites established to ease the anticipated crunch on Monday and on election day. Nearly 185,000 vote-by-mail ballots have been issued for Tuesday’s election, a number that beats the previous record by about 15,600 ballots, officials said.
Sonoma County has issued nearly 185,000 vote-by-mail ballots for Tuesday’s election, a new record that represents 71 percent of registered voters.
But it also means that any close race — such as the 1st District supervisorial contest between Santa Rosa City Council members Susan Gorin and John Sawyer — may remain unresolved for up to four weeks after the election.
The burgeoning number of absentee voters, along with high voter participation and a lengthy ballot in the presidential election, virtually guarantees that officials will need the full 28 days allowed by law to tally the vote, county elections chief Janice Atkinson said Thursday.
Politicians come and go, but year after year, the name of one write-in candidate is scrawled onto more ballots than any other in Sonoma County.
Mickey Mouse, the 84-year-old Disney icon, consistently gets more write-in votes than any other unofficial candidate, Sonoma County elections officials say.
‘Donald Duck is a close second,’ said Gloria Colter, Sonoma County’s assistant registrar of voters.
With three weeks to go until Election Day, mail-in ballots are pouring into the county elections offices. As of Wednesday, early voters in Sonoma County have cast about 13,000 ballots by mail, Colter said.
Sonoma County supervisors Tuesday selected Bill Rousseau, the county’s longtime chief deputy assessor, to replace Janice Atkinson as the county clerk-recorder-assessor and elections chief. Atkinson, 58, is set to retire in December, two years into her second term in the elected post. She is one of the longest-serving county employees, having started her career in 1972.