Dr. Raul Ruiz speaks Tuesday during a results watching party. (Omar Ornelas/The Desert Sun)
Challenger Dr. Raul Ruiz surged ahead in his race for the 36th Congressional District in the latest tally released Friday evening.
He now leads by 7,268 votes over the incumbent Rep. Mary Bono Mack.
Ruiz has 94,633 votes (52%) to her 87,365 (48%).
The Republican incumbent flew out of Palm Springs on Friday afternoon amid a national report she had conceded.
See the statement Mary Bono Mack issued about one hour after the results.
The Riverside County Registrar of Voters has now counted 559,089 votes countywide since polls closed late Tuesday.
It still has about 123,000 ballots to count — or about 18 percent of the vote. The uncounted ballots are 49,500 of vote-by-mail ballots left to count, as well as 60,000 provisional and 13,500 damaged ones.
The registrar has not been able to say how many of those votes could count toward the Congressional race.
The next update will be released at 6 p.m. Saturday.
In other close Coachella Valley races, challenger Chip Yarborough now leads Cathedral City Mayor Kathy DeRosa by 208 votes.
None of the leaders in valley races changed with the latest round of updates.
As the Riverside County Registrar of Voters prepares to release updated results today, poll workers will prioritize ballots cast in the 36th Congressional race.
About 22,000 vote-by-mail ballots had been scanned into the ballot counting machines by about 2 p.m. Friday, Registrar Kari Verjil said.
“That number will keep continuing to increase because we’ve got a few more hours,” Verjil said.
The results of those 22,000 ballots — and the undetermined number of other ballots that will be scanned in the next few hours —will be released about 6 p.m.
The registrar has 140,000 ballots left to count, or 20.5 percent of the vote left to count. That includes 64,000 vote-by-mail, 60,000 provisional and 18,000 damaged.
After sorting ballots by precincts, the poll workers have prioritized today sending through ballots that come from precincts in the 36th Congressional District.
“We are focusing on that race because we know how much interest there is,” Verjil said.
Challenger Dr. Raul Ruiz leads the incumbent Rep. Mary Bono Mack by 4,679 votes, or 2.82 percentage points, in his campaign for the 36th Congressional District seat.
In the Cathedral City mayoral race, challenger Chip Yarborough maintains his lead over incumbent Mayor Kathy DeRosa. He now leads by 185 votes.
Riverside County Registrar of Voters Kari Verjil
Voter audit trail scrolls for the 100% ballot hand count are ready for examination June 17, 2010 at the Riverside County Registrar of Voters Office. (Wade Byars, The Desert Sun)
just released estimates of how many ballots have yet to be processed:
“Approximately, 105,000 vote-by-mail, 60,000 provisional, and 18,000 damaged ballots that require duplication still must be processed. Work on those ballots begins today. The next updated results will be posted at 6pm on Thursday.”
That adds up to roughly 183,000 ballots that have yet to be counted.
Pair that with the 499,027 already tallied Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, and we’re looking at a total of about 682,000 ballots cast in the county by Tuesday.
The uncounted share is about a quarter of that approximate total — 26.8 percent, but we’re dealing with rough numbers.
Compare that to the 106,000 outstanding ballots that marked about 44 percent of ballots cast outstanding after Election Night in June 2010, a contest that marked the beginning of the end for former Registrar Barbara Dunmore.
Verjil has told my colleagues in the past that trends usually hold firm as these left-to-be-processed ballots are counted.
A voter audit trail scroll is examined with the 100 percent ballot hand count June 17, 2010, at the Riverside County Registrar of Voters Office in Riverside. (Wade Byars, The Desert Sun)
The 6:19 a.m. update from the California Secretary of State
shows Riverside County still has only 70.8 percent of its precincts at least partially reporting.
Every other county in the state has at least one ballot counted from each of its precincts this morning, according to the Secretary of State’s office.
• For more on how the vote count works and Riverside County’s history of slow tallies, read Kate McGinty’s overnight post on election returns.
• For the latest results, visit http://mydesert.co/CVresults12
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post incorrectly listed the author of a previous post.
The Riverside County Registrar of Voters started releasing election results at 8:15 p.m. today, shortly after polls closed.
That first batch of results included only the vote-by-mail ballots. The registrar sent out 172,798 vote-by-mail ballots.
That was updated shortly before 9 p.m. with some ballots from the registrar’s office and malls where early voting was held.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department has been helping to shuttle ballots to the precinct. The first ones arrived in Riverside about 9:15 p.m.
The next round of results will be released at 10:30 p.m. and will begin to factor in the ballots cast at precincts across the county today. The votes could come in small batches, the registrar warned in a post on its Facebook.
The results will continue to be released hourly until 1:30 a.m. Later in the early morning hours, that schedule will change to every 90 minutes.
“Depending on voter turnout, polling-place ballot counts will likely continue until noon on Wednesday,” the registrar said.
That means it could be hours before we can project the local races — including the heated Congressional race between Rep. Mary Bono Mack and Dr. Raul Ruiz.
The registrar posts results here.
Comprehensive coverage will be available on www.mydesert.com as soon as possible and immediately via our Twitter @MyDesert.
I like numbers – who doesn’t, right? – so, just for fun, I checked out some of the leading economic indicators on the day of the Nov. 4, 2008 election and posted those along with today’s closing numbers. All stock numbers are rounded to the dollar.
2012Dow Jones close: 13,246 (up 133)
Nasdaq close: 3,012 (up 12)
S&P 500 close: 1,428 (up 11)
Natural gas: $3.34
Dow Jones close: 9,625 (up 305)
Nasdaq close: 1,780 (up 54)
S&P 500 close: 1006 (up 39)
Natural gas: $7.25
Jerry, who declined to give his last name, was sitting at the Starbucks on Vista Chino in Cathedral City waiting for a freshly brewed grande decaf coffee.
The 71-year-old – who also declined to say who he voted for – admitted that he and his wife’s vote canceled each other’s out.
The couple winters in Cathedral City, but their permanent residence is in the swing state of Virginia. He said he voted by mail three weeks ago.
His children’s votes also cancel each other out, he added. His daughter, who lives in Santa Barbara, voted for Obama. His son, who lives in Virginia, cast his vote for Romney.
“I think Obama is going to win,” Jerry said. “My wife doesn’t think he will. It’s just a gut feeling I have. I think he’s going to take Virginia.”
Larry Kirchner and Bruce Tominello of Palm Springs are staunch Romney supporters.
“Because Obama has done absolutely nothing in four years,” Kirchner said, calling the President’s handling of Benghazi “inept.”
“We’re both gay and we’re still voting for Romney all the way,” he said.
Judith, who declined to give her last name, said she had a “last minute premonition” when she stepped in front of the voting booth at Palm Springs Baptist Church Tuesday morning.
She said she saw Mitt Romney and wife Ann, who she said was, “subdued.” “She behaved like a lady,” Judith said. And as much as she wanted Mitt to win it, she would be OK if he didn’t, Judith said.
Judith said she has her doubts about Barack Obama. “He enjoys publicity too much – and he enjoys the presidential jet too much.”
Then she leaned in close and said quietly, “I do believe he was born in Hawaii. Anyone who says he wasn’t is not nice.”
More than 5,000 voters have called the California Secretary of State’s voter hotline so far today about Election Day.
Here are the top three voter hotline questions so far, which spokeswoman Shannan Velayas detailed for us shortly after 1 p.m.:
- Where do I vote? (Find where you vote in Riverside County here.)
- Am I registered to vote? (Check your status here.)
- I still have my vote-by-mail ballot at home. What do I do? (Drop it off at any Riverside County polling site by 8 p.m.)
About 145 of the hotline calls — or about 3 percent — have been complaints.
Chief among the complaints is polling sites that did not open precisely at 7 a.m. “In most cases when that happens, a poll worker overslept — hit their snooze button one too many times,” Velayas said.
Other times, callers complain about campaigning outside a polling place. State law bans electioneering outside precincts — but only within 100 feet of the entrance. It’s allowed beyond that.
The state Secretary of State has an Election Voter Complaint form on its website: http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/fraud-complaints
If you have questions, you can call the office: (800) 345-VOTE for English-speaking callers and (800) 232-VOTA for Spanish-speaking callers.