Electoral College to meet Monday, hand state’s votes to Obama

The California Electoral College will meet Monday in Sacramento to formally cast the state’s 55 electoral votes for President Obama.

The procedural meeting starts at 2 p.m. in the California Assembly’s chambers.

Obama won California with more than 60 percent of the statewide vote.

An analysis of Riverside County’s election results show Obama also won over the Coachella Valley.

The breakdown shows Obama beat GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney in five of the nine desert cities: Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs, Indio and Palm Springs.

Will Marion Ashley make the ticket?

As Riverside County wraps up the election count, supervisors have asked staff to review what investments could speed up future ballot tallies.

“Maybe in four years, in 2016 when Supervisor (Marion) Ashley runs for president, we’ll have quicker results back electronically from the county of Riverside,” Supervisor Jeff Stone said when the board approved the idea this week.

We’ll let you decide which of Stone’s hypotheticals is more probable.

Meanwhile, Registrar Kari Verjil’s office is spending the weekend working on the remaining 5,000 provisional ballots  that were cast countywide.

“Those ballots require even more extensive research  than other provisional ballots because they involve voters who went to an  incorrect polling place or whose address changed,” it states on the county website.

The Nov. 6 election results — which will determine the close-call races in Palm Desert and Cathedral City – are now expected to be certified by Monday evening.

Riverside County registrar: Why vote-by-mail ballot counting takes so long

More than 48 hours after polls closed, Riverside County Registrar of Voters has 164,000 ballots — or 24 percent of the vote — left to count.

It was again the last county in the state to report its Election Day results, which by Secretary of State’s measure means counting ballots from each of the precincts.

Riverside County was last of 58 for the third election in a row.

But that doesn’t even include the vote-by-mail, the provisional or the damaged ballots — and that added up to 183,000 ballots in Riverside County that still needed to be counted, even as results listed the misleading “100 percent precincts reporting”

Counting those remaining ballots — the ever-popular vote-by-mail ballot — is trickier than just a vote at a precinct, Registrar Kari Verjil said.

“It sounds like, ‘Why can’t you just rip open the ballot and count it?’ There’s a little more work that has to be done before we can do that,” she said.

First, the vote-by-mail ballots are sorted by their precincts. That started Wednesday.

Then the envelope goes into a machine to scan the signature on the back. That signature appears on a screen next to an image of that voter’s voter registration card.

A poll worker checks the two pictures to make sure the signatures match.

“It goes pretty fast once we get the images scanned,” Verjil said.

Then the ballot envelopes are sliced open, and a machine puffs air inside. A poll worker pulls the ballot out, unfolds it and checks to make sure it’s not damaged and that the voter followed instructions (i.e. drew lines, not circling their choices).

The final step? Actually counting the vote, which means running it through a ballot scanner.

“It’s a big production. There’s a lot of manual work that goes into it,” Verjil said.

About 50 poll workers spent Thursday working to verify signatures, then sending the next batch of ballots through the scanners, Verjil said.

It could take until Dec. 4 — the state-mandated deadline — to certify the final results.

Riverside County last in California in terms of precincts reporting

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)

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.

Riverside County ranks No. 1 worst for votes counted so far in California


Riverside County now ranks No. 1 worst in the state for percentage of votes counted.

The Registrar of Voters has counted 42.6 percent of its votes and is now behind San Bernardino County (45.2 percent) and Kings County (54.9 percent), according to the update from the California Secretary of State.

Statewide, 79.9 percent of ballots have been counted. Only 12 of the state’s 58 counties were still counting ballots as of the 2:15 a.m. update.


Riverside County now ranks No. 3 worst out of 58 counties in the state for percentage of votes counted.

More than five hours after polls closed, Riverside County Registrar of Voters has counted 36.5 percent of its votes. It’s reporting 332,003 ballots have been counted, 79 percent of which were vote-by-mail ballots.

Statewide, 38 counties are now done counting ballots, according to the Secretary of State’s office.

San Bernardino and Kings counties are the only ones with a smaller percentage of votes counted.



More than three hours after polls closed, Riverside County ranks No. 44 in the state for the number of votes tallied.

The California Secretary of State tracks the 58 counties and provides the number of precincts reporting, the time of the county’s first report and the time of the most recent report.

Sixteen other counties were done counting ballots as Riverside County had fewer than one-third of its votes counted.


Results come in batches

Riverside County released its vote-by-mail tallies first, which tallied 262,676 votes, starting about 8:15 p.m. It then added a small batch of Riverside-based voters and ballots from early voting at malls.

The first ballots began to arrive at the Riverside office about 9:15 p.m., and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department helped shuttle ballots there, the registrar posted on Facebook at 9:42 p.m.

It released a new batch of results at 10:21 p.m. — 7,864 ballots, or a 3 percent increase in the number of votes counted. That batch was from 70 precincts across the county, including Banning, Coronoa, Hemet and Temecula.

The only desert precincts added to that update came from five polling sites in Palm Springs, according to the registrar’s Facebook page. None of the Coachella Valley races saw notable change.

Riverside County Registrar of Voters Kari Verjil said the ballot counting could take until noon Wednesday.

“As you know, poll workers must follow steps required by law before they can begin sending ballots to the Registrar’s office in Riverside for counting. That closing procedure means the first few results included few if any polling place ballots. This is no different than in the past,” she wrote in a 12:32 a.m. email Wednesday responding to Desert Sun inquiries about the delay in vote tallies.

“The pace of ballots coming in from our large county drives the speed of the updates for results,” she continued, noting that Riverside County spans 7,200 square miles.



Riverside County has history of being last in state to report

Verjil, who was hired in February 2011, succeeded Barbara Dunmore, who was fired just days after the November 2010 election amid widespread criticism.

During Dunmore’s tenure, Riverside County was, more than once, the last in California to report its election results. Both candidates and voters had grown accustomed to waiting long hours for updates and days for final results.

The delayed results, combined with a lack of election night communication, even prompted state and federal legislators from across the country to urge supervisors to take action.

Mitt Romney, Barack Obama: Tracking the state-by-state presidential projections

With polls closed on the East Coast, we tracked the results coming in — and, of course, the projections being made in the presidential election.

It took only a few minutes after West Coast closed its polls for several media outlets to project that President Obama won a second term.

A candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win.

Here’s the roundup of endorsements we saw:



President Barack Obama

  • Vermont (AP, FOX News) – 3 electoral votes
  • Illinois (AP, CNN, FOX News) – 20
  • Connecticut (AP, CNN) – 7
  • Maine (AP, CNN) – 4
  • D.C. (AP, CNN) – 3
  • Delaware (AP, CNN, FOX News) – 3
  • Rhode Island (AP, CNN, FOX News) – 4
  • Maryland (AP, CNN, FOX News) – 10
  • Massachusetts (AP, CNN, FOX News) – 11
  • New Jersey (AP, FOX News, NPR) – 14
  • New York (AP, FOX News, NPR) – 29
  • Michigan (AP, FOX News, NPR) – 16
  • Pennsylvania (AP, CNN, FOX News) – 20
  • Wisconsin (CBS, FOX News, NBC) – 10
  • New Hampshire (ABC News, CBS, FOX News, NPR) – 4
  • Minnesota (ABC News, NPR) – 10
  • New Mexico (ABC News, FOX News) – 5
  • California (AP, CBS) – 55
  • Hawaii (AP, CBS) – 4
  • Washington (AP, CBS) – 12
  • Ohio (AP, NPR) – 18
  • Oregon (CBS, NPR) – 7
  • Iowa (AP, NPR) – 6

Total electoral votes so far for Obama, if  these projections hold true: 287


Gov. Mitt Romney

  • Georgia (AP, CNN,  FOX News, NPR) – 16 electoral votes
  • Kentucky (AP, CNN, FOX News) – 8
  • Indiana (CNN, FOX News) – 11
  • South Carolina  (CNN, FOX News) – 9
  • West Virginia (AP, CNN, FOX News) – 5
  • Oklahoma (AP, CNN, ABC News, FOX News, NPR) – 7
  • Mississippi (AP, NPR) – 6
  • Alabama (AP, CNN, FOX News, NPR) – 9
  • Tennessee (AP, CNN, FOX News, NPR) – 11
  • Arkansas (AP, CNN, FOX News, NPR) – 6
  • Texas (AP, FOX News, NPR) – 38
  • Kansas (AP, FOX News, NPR) – 6
  • South Dakota (AP, FOX News, NPR) – 3
  • North Dakota (AP, FOX News, NPR) – 3
  • Louisiana (AP, FOX News, NPR) – 8
  • Wyoming  (AP, FOX News, NPR) – 3
  • Nebraska (AP, NPR) – 5
  • Utah (ABC News, CNN, NPR) – 6
  • Idaho (ABC News) – 4
  • Montana (CBS News) – 3
  • Missouri (CBS News) – 10
  • Arizona (AP, FOX News) – 11
  • North Carolina (NPR) – 15
  • Idaho (FOX News) – 4

Total electoral votes so far for Romney if these projections hold true: 207

Riverside County Voter of Registrar gives schedule for Coachella Valley election results

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.