SALINAS, Calif. (KION) Two days after the biggest Election Day this country has seen in a while, poll workers at the Monterey County Elections Department in Salinas were still busily working away counting the remaining ballots submitted.
"Right now, they are extracting. So out of those vote by mail ballots that we received and had to process, they've gone through the sorter machine and now that the signature has been given the green light, they can now extract and separate the ballots so we can then scan it, tabulate it and count it," said Ayna Gutierrez, who works for Monterey County Elections.
Unlike some states, counties in California have already started processing and counting ballots ever since early voting began at the start of October. Officials here say this early counting certainly gives them an advantage.
Out of the over 118,000 ballots counted so far in the county, 116,000 of those are vote-by-mail ballots versus just 2,527 ballots submitted at a polling place.
Monterey County Elections officials can say right now, they have not come across a single instance of fraud so far as they are counting these ballots. But they have reached out to some voters to clear up signature discrepancies.
"With every batch of vote by mail ballots, we get a few in there or that they forgot to sign and we have to contact them," said Gutierrez. "Our system will say here's a signature mismatch, so we will then contact the voter, send them a letter, call to make sure we can capture a new signature, but that's standard with every election."
Santa Cruz County Elections staff tell me they have started their post-election audit on Wednesday and so far, they have nothing to report of any voter fraud. Any instances will be reported to the district attorney's office for investigation.
San Benito County did not get back to KION in time for broadcast.
As for counting remaining ballots, it is a "slowly but surely" effort.
"Right now, we're valuing accuracy rather than speed because we want to make sure we do it once and we do it right," said Gutierrez.
Elections departments across the state have until Dec. 3 to certify the results of the election.
PREVIOUS ARTICLE: The Monterey County Elections Department is steadily counting the remaining ballots which tally to about 41,600.
Staff have had two extra days since Tuesday to count remaining ballots, with more results expected to be released on Friday.
32,000 vote by mail ballots are still getting counted. Provisional and CVR ballots number at 9,600 left.
KION’s Josh Kristianto will have more details at 5 and 6 p.m.