The latest report from the secretary of State in California on Wednesday shows 519,904 unprocessed ballots. Hillary Clinton leads by 414,126 votes. At this point, it’s extraordinarily unlikely that when the election is certified, Sanders will be declared the winner the State of California’s Democratic primary. Sanders would need to have earned the vote of just about eight out of every 10 remaining uncounted ballots to have popular votes in California if every ballot that remains uncounted was from a voter who participated in the Democratic presidential nominating process.
So, why are Berniecrats still paying attention to the results of the reports as newly processed ballots are slowly tallied?
Despite public ridicule from Clinton supporters, there are multiple reasons for Berniecrats to watch the results of the California primary.
— HuffPost Politics (@HuffPostPol) June 29, 2016
On election night, Clinton had 12.6 percent of the popular vote among Californians whose votes were counted in the Democratic primary. As of the June 28 report form the secretary of State in California, people who voted for Sanders managed to chip away at that lead so much that Clinton now only leads by 8.3 percent.
This gain obviously does not include ballots that were thrown out because of improper poll worker procedure or because they had upon them signatures that weren’t similar enough to the signatures on the voters’ registrations. While these things are part of a newly announced lawsuit by Election Justice, they are not the reason why Berniecrats check in with the California secretary of State’s website each day.
Berniecrats know that every delegate for Bernie Sanders make both him and his platform stronger at the convention in July. So, yes, Berniecrats are paying attention to the entirety of the California primary election process.
California offers 551 total delegates; 317 delegates are allocated based on the results of the district voting. Delegates are also awarded at the statewide level in California, including 53 pledged PLEO delegates and 105 At-Large delegates that will go to the convention pledged. Small changes in the percentage of the vote can trigger another re-allocation among these two non-district groups of delegates in addition to additional district delegates.
After the election day, Sanders had 43.2 percent of the vote. Now, he has 45.4 percent of the vote in California. That may not seem like much, but it was originally reported that Clinton was allocated a 63 pledged delegate lead, according to the Washington Post, a drastically outdated figure that the New York Times still reports, despite their reporting of updated county results. With the addition of newly processed ballots, Clinton’s lead in California is now just 43 pledged delegates as of Wednesday, according to The Green Papers.
Though it is extraordinarily unlikely that Sanders could gain the 22 delegates needed to walk away the victor of California, neither Democratic presidential candidate has enough pledged delegates nationwide to have earned the nomination. Neither candidate can be declared the nominee until the convention in Philadelphia or unless one of them drops out of the race. Sanders is not conceding and Sanders’ supporters are still fighting for his candidacy and his platform.
Berniecrats want each and every delegate possible. California’s delegates are still only loosely assigned until all of the ballots are counted.
— SHADO2 (@MoonBaseZulu) June 29, 2016
They do not just have one end goal in mind. There are multiple victories that they are fighting for. Berniecrats are trying to replace establishment Democrats with progressives who support Sanders’ platform on committees, in positions of leadership within the party, and in as many delegate seats as possible. While several of Hillary’s counties in California can no longer flip, because there are not enough outstanding ballots remaining to make a difference, this doesn’t mean that Berniecrats will stop watching these counties if Bernie stands a chance to gain a few more delegates by simply tightening the race.
In addition to still watching counties that will not flip for Bernie or are extraordinarily unlikely to flip for Bernie, droves of Sanders’ supporters are also keeping their eye on counties that are likely to flip for Bernie. The uncounted ballots have predominantly favored Sanders. So far, none of Sanders’ counties have flipped for Clinton, but Glenn, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Yolo have flipped for Bernie.
— Pinefeather (@Pinefeather14) June 29, 2016
El Dorado County still has 2,400 votes out as of Wednesday’s update and Clinton only leads by 306 votes as of Tuesday. Placer County appears to have 43,803 ballots to process and Sanders is only down by 4,512 votes. Sanders is down by just 462 votes in Sutter County, and well over four times that many ballots remain uncounted. In Sonoma County, over 43,000 ballots remain and Sanders is down by a mere 2,208 votes as of Tuesday. Madera will also likely flip, if the county maintains the same ratio among unprocessed ballots as other counties have. It has over 5,000 ballots to go through and Sanders is down less than 1000 votes.
Merced, Monterey, and Stanislaus counties offer a much tighter race.
Berniecrats have their eyes on delegate-rich San Diego County, too, and not just because of the lawsuit that is pending. The most recent vote count from San Diego County shows Clinton’s 11-point lead dwindled to just 5.5 percentage points. Clinton leads by 21,788 votes, with about 26,000 ballots still to be counted as of Tuesday. Though that makes it practically impossible for Sanders to win in that county if votes come in in the proportion with which they have been, should he maintain this momentum in San Diego County, it could be enough votes to trigger a new re-allocation among delegates that are not assigned by district voting.
Sanders supporters are still watching California, because more delegates means more leverage when approaching the superdelegates in a contested convention (which Sanders hasn’t discussed recently, but did pledge to his supporters) and a more plentiful army of delegates with which to strong-arm the DNC into the most progressive party platform they can get.
[Image via Bernie Sanders’ Official Facebook page]