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Why San Diego Lagged Behind All California Counties In Reporting Election Results

A "Vote Here" sign hangs on the San Diego County Registrar Of Voters Office, Nov. 6, 2018.
KPBS Staff
A "Vote Here" sign hangs on the San Diego County Registrar Of Voters Office, Nov. 6, 2018.

San Diego County was the last of California's 58 counties to report election results in 100 percent of its voting precincts for the 2018 general election. County Registrar of Voters Michael Vu told KPBS Midday Edition the reason was the sheer volume of data his office was providing.

"We wanted to give more information to the public," Vu said. "Things like graphic information, voter turnout information, down to the precinct level, down to the candidate level. That way individual campaigns and candidates as well as the media could consume that information. And when you do that, it requires more time."

Video: San Diego Registrar of Voters on Midterm Election Turnout

Riverside county was the second slowest in reporting, submitting its semi-final report of election results at 8:01 a.m. Wednesday. San Diego's report came in just before 11 a.m.


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Vu said his office will next process mail-in ballots turned in at polling places and dropoff sites. Then provisional ballots will be counted. There were 490,000 ballots still to be processed as of 10:47 a.m. Wednesday.

Once the counting is done and the election is certified on Dec. 6, Vu said his team would review the processes for the vote, including any effects from difficulties with the Department of Motor Vehicles' voter registration system. "We’re going to have to deconstruct the overall election and get a better understanding of where impacts were made," he said.

Just 38 percent of San Diego County residents cast ballots Tuesday, according to data from the California Secretary of State. The county's turnout on Tuesday was less than half of its 81.5 percent rate in the 2016 November election and the lowest in a mid-term election in more than 35 years.

The 2024 primary election is March 5. Find in-depth reporting on each race to help you understand what's on your ballot.