The Slatest

California’s 39th Congressional District Shows Why You Keep Counting Until You Count All the Votes

A woman votes at a booth as her child plays with a cellphone below.
Voting at a gymnasium in Los Angeles on Nov. 6. Frederic J. Brown/Getty Images

The race to replace retiring Republican Rep. Ed Royce is still undecided in California’s 39th Congressional District. Republican candidate Young Kim led Democratic candidate Gil Cisneros on Election Day and looked poised to win the district that includes parts of Los Angeles, Orange, and San Bernardino counties. Kim, a former aide to Rep. Royce, felt like such a sure winner that she was in Washington Wednesday for new members orientation, even posing in the new class group photo.

The votes, however, have continued to be counted in the 39th District and across the state. California is often slow to report its official results, the Los Angeles Times notes, because, first of all, it’s big: Two of the counties in the 39th District—Orange and Los Angeles—have more registered voters than 30 states.* The state also goes out of its way to ensure that eligible voters who want to vote get that chance. California allows same-day registration, for example, and mail-in ballots, which are legally allowed to arrive up until the Friday after Election Day (as long as they’re postmarked by Nov. 6). California’s size and encouraging stance on voting means, in part, that the state ends up with a lot of provisional ballots—mail-in ballots that were delivered to the wrong place or need signatures verified, voters that show up at the wrong polling location or just weren’t on the rolls for whatever reason on Election Day. Then, of course, there’s the fact that the state is grappling with natural disaster–level wildfires.

That’s all to say, the California secretary of state doesn’t certify the election results until Dec. 14 anyway, so the state of California is deliberately, diligently counting and verifying all of the votes cast by Nov. 6. You know what happens when you do that? Take a look.

Here’s the vote total over the past 10 days starting from the first returns late on election night up until Thursday evening.

Count all the votes. No matter the party. That’s the whole point.

Correction, Nov. 17, 2018: This post originally misstated that Orange and Los Angeles counties have 20 million registered voters between them. The state of California has 20 million registered voters, not those two counties alone.