With Over 600,000 Ballots To Count, Bernie Closes Gap In California To 8.7 Percent And Counting

California has made a huge dent in the number of ballots left to be counted before the results of the California primary election can be certified and pledged delegates can be allocated. At this time, we still do not know who won the State of California in the Democratic presidential primary election. The most recent totals of unprocessed ballots show a total of 605,824 unprocessed ballots in the State of California. 420,073 of the uncounted ballots are ballots that had to be placed in “Provisional” envelopes. 161,491 of the ballots were Vote-By-Mail ballots that had been received during the election week. 24,260 ballots that are left to go through are “ballots that are damaged or ballots that could not be machine read and need to be remade, and ballots diverted by optical scanners for further review,” according to the California Secretary of State.

“Election results are updated as often as new data is received from county elections offices after the polls close at 8:00 p.m. on Election Day. Many ballots are counted after Election Day. County elections officials have approximately one month to complete their extensive tallying, auditing, and certification work. They must report final certified results to the Secretary of State by July 8, 2016.”

In recent weeks, as ballots that had not been accounted for by the time the Associated Press declared Hillary Clinton the winner of the state (despite registrars warnings that millions of ballots still needed to be counted before a winner could accurately be declared) are counted, Bernie Sanders’ supporters have been closing the gap between their candidate and Hillary Clinton, according to the Secretary of State in California. Hillary Clinton’s percentage of the vote has dropped to 53.9 percent as of Friday updates and Bernie Sanders’ percentage of the vote is up to 45.2 percent.

2,632,238 ballots have been counted for Hillary Clinton as of Friday, and 2,203,663 ballots have been counted for Bernie Sanders in the State of California. 605,824 unprocessed ballots still remain, while Clinton is up by 428,575 votes across the state, according to precinct reporting. See the chart below for updated numbers. Totals are according to reports from the Secretary of State, which are based on county reports sent in, and are consequently, subject to semi-official ballot reporting limitations.

In some Californian counties, Bernie has no chance of winning; although, he is consistently chipping away at Clinton’s lead which, Sanders’ supporters say, is important for the fight at the Democratic National Convention in Philly in July.

For example, Sanders cannot win in San Francisco County anymore. With less than 1,500 ballots remaining to be counted in that county, Hillary’s lead over Bernie in the county is 16,765. Since election night, the gap in San Francisco County closed from 11.7 percent to 7.7 percent. Bernie also can’t win in San Bernadino County, because 16,317 ballots are left to be counted, but Clinton is ahead by 19,493 votes. Clinton is also still a sure victor in Riverside County where about 28,300 ballots are left to be counted, but Clinton is ahead by 29,513 votes.

In other counties, Bernie still has an excellent chance of winning. Approximately 65,200 ballots still need to be tallied in San Diego County, and Clinton is only ahead of Sanders by just 24,008 votes. As the county accounted for more ballots after election night, Sanders’ supporters’ votes shrunk Clinton’s lead from 11 percent to just 6.1 percent, and there are still well over twice as many ballots left to be counted in San Diego County as there are votes separating the two Democratic candidates.

Los Angeles County is still anyone’s guess. With almost 190 thousand ballots left to be counted, and under 157 thousand votes separating them, Bernie is closing in on Clinton. Each new batch reported has shrunk Clinton’s election night lead even more.

Sanders’ supporters heard some good news from Dean Logan, RR/CC of L.A. County, when he announced on Twitter that “NPP provisional voters issued DEM ballots will be processed as NPP-DEM crossover with the Presidential vote as marked,” so that voter intent was given higher priority than errors at the polls. Logan verified the accuracy of Facebook claims by Sanders’ supporters that announced the “recovery of up to 580,000 uncounted votes in California.”

Of course, what really counts is Congressional Districts, not counties. Pledged delegates get allocated based on Congressional Districts. San Diego County, for example, fully encompassed the 53rd and 52nd Congressional Districts, which combine to offer 13 pledged delegates. The San Diego County voters also affect the allocated delegates in Congressional Districts 49, 50, and 51, which can offer 16 pledged delegates.

The Green Papers totaled Clinton’s California pledged delegates on June 21 as 261. Bernie Sanders was allocated 214 pledged delegates that day. After the recent California updates, which are still not final, Clinton was allocated 259 pledged delegates in California and Sanders was given 216, decreasing Clinton’s pledged delegated lead in the state from 47 to 43. If Bernie is able to take 22 more pledged delegates statewide as the remaining 600 thousand ballots are counted, Sanders will defy election night declarations on the part of the Associated Press and win the State of California. As Sanders repeatedly says, “it would be an uphill battle,” but it is still a possibility.

Either way, neither Democratic candidate will go to the Democratic National Convention with enough pledged delegates to automatically be granted the nomination. The convention, it seems, will be contested and decided by superdelegates.

[Photo by Damian Dovarganes/AP Images]