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New State Law Gives San Diego Registrar More Time To Certify Ballots

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Michael Schuerman

A monument sign welcomes the public to the Registrar of Voters Office in Kearny Mesa on May 31, 2014.

Nearly four weeks after Election Day, the San Diego County registrar of voters is still one day away from certifying the results. Next election, the wait will be even longer thanks to a new state law.

The state elections code allows the office 28 days to ensure it properly counted the county’s ballots. The certification deadline is Tuesday.

Many people closely followed that process during this election as two of the county’s races are separated by a slim margin. As of Friday, Imperial Beach mayoral candidate Serge Dedina was up by 43 votes over incumbent Jim Janney. In the race for Chula Vista City Council, candidate John McCann led opponent Steve Padilla by only 2 votes. Days earlier, the race was tied.

For future elections, candidates, voters and journalists will wait two days longer for the certified results. The change, effective Jan. 1, extends the certification period to allow officials to count absentee ballots that are received up to three days after polls close.

To be considered, ballots have to be postmarked by Election Day. Right now, absentee ballots must be received on Election Day, which means voters would have to drop them in the mail a few days prior.

According to Senate Bill 29, authored by Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in September, the registrar "shall prepare a certified statement of the results of the election and submit it to the governing body within 30 days” of the election.

Registrar of Voters Michael Vu said nearly 55 percent of San Diego voters cast their ballots by mail.

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