Why does it take California so long?


California lollygaggin': Why does it take California so long to count its freaking votes?

In just the past few hours, CNN has published a report on that topic. So has the New York Times. 

For our money, the Times does a better job with the question. That starts with this key bit of logic from Soumya Karlamangla, lead writer for the Times' California Today newsletter:

KARLAMANGIA (11/16/22): Perhaps you’re wondering why the Golden State seems to take so long to count ballots. I was, too, so I asked some election experts for their insight.

I had often heard that the delay was because California is an enormous state, with nearly 22 million registered voters. But while it’s true that we have more votes to count, we also have more election workers to help guide the process along, so volume probably isn’t the primary factor.

It's a big state, with lots of votes to count! For our money, CNN's report leaned on that explanation a bit too much. Rather sensibly, Karlamangia quickly noted the fact that California, being so large, should also have a larger than average number of election workers!

So why does Cali take so long? There seem to be several reasons. In part, the delay seems to stem from the massive rise in mail-in voting around the state. 

Allow us to voice a thought about one part of this passage:

KARLAMANGIA: In 2004, a third of California voters cast ballots by mail. In the June primary this year, that fraction had exploded to 91 percent, according to an analysis by the nonprofit California Voter Foundation.

Mail-in ballots take longer to process than those cast in person. Before a ballot can be opened and fed into a counting machine, an election worker must verify that the signature on the envelope matches the signature on file, to both confirm the identity of the voter and check that the person didn’t also fill out a ballot at a polling place.

It’s a tedious task that delays how long it takes to receive results...

In a cable broadcast last week, we heard someone in some other state—we think it may have been Georgia—say that such signature matches are performed by "handwriting experts." 

How many such "experts" really exist? You can color us skeptical.

At any rate, California continues to count—and count, and count, and count. By state law, mail-in ballots were still being accepted as of yesterday (Tuesday).

As of today, no more ballots are being accepted. To repeat the famous old bromide, it's all over now but the statewide molasses!

Back to the Cook Report: According to the Cook Report, just over 103 million votes have been officially tabulated to date in the nation's 435 House elections. 

Many votes remain uncounted. At present, though, the nationwide totals look like this

Votes cast in House elections:
For Republican candidates: 53.0 million (51.4%)
For Democratic candidates: 48.6 million (47.1 %)

As the counting proceeds, those numbers will change. We don't know where it will end.

That said, a lot of the canines weren't eating our blue tribe's dog food last week. Looking ahead to future elections, could there possibly be some ways to peel red votes away?


  1. tl;dr.
    "Why does it take California so long to count its freaking votes?"

    Why, they keep counting over and over, until they get the right result.

    ...and it appears to be a popular procedure these days, in urban centers run by your, dear Bob, liberal cult. But that's okay; every method has its limitations...

    1. Mao, dearie, those crackpot candidates hand-picked by trump all lost because normal human beings don't vote for total nutcases. Nuff said on that. Everybody knows the only way these Trump-cult whackos get any significant amount of votes is because of all the dead people who vote for them. Trump was the worst president who ever existed in the history of the entire universe.

  2. There is no single generic House ballot cast for Republicans and Democrats. That formulation is meaningless, especially because not all ballots have been counted yet, so the totals are incomplete. CA is a very populous blue state, so the Democrats may catch up when the CA ballots are counted. Various experts have been pointing out that mail-in ballots skew Democrat whereas in-person ballots skew Republican. In fact, Trump was urging his supporters to vote late and in-person.

    It also makes no sense to compare who takes longer to count ballots, given that different states have different voting rules.

    So, what exactly is the point of this essay today? Somerby doesn't live in CA.

    He says: "That said, a lot of the canines weren't eating our blue tribe's dog food last week."

    This is patently wrong given the senate race outcomes. And Somerby is ignoring the ticket splitting. How do you decide which dogs are eating which tribe's dog food when people do not vote uniformly for a single party up and down the ballot? There are voters who vote the top of the ticket but know less about the other races.

    But conceding that Republicans will win the House, how does Somerby's metaphor about dogs and food extend to Senatorial and Governor's races where Democrats swept the country?

    And why is Somerby so determined to characterize Democrats as losers when that is patently ridiculous? Who is President? Who held the House and Senate for the last two years? Who was eating blue dog food then?

    And will any dogs eat Trump's dog food, even if he serves caviar (Putin gives him a discount)? It doesn't seem likely given the cool reception to his speech last night, which Somerby seems to be ignoring.

  3. "Looking ahead to future elections, could there possibly be some ways to peel red votes away?"

    Maybe Somerby is suggesting we should try gerrymandering and voter suppression, the way the Republicans do. Analysts are attributing the increase in house seats largely to Republican gerrymandering -- creation of new Republican districts. Voter suppression is easy -- just direct resources toward democratic precincts so that lines are longer in white, Republican districts. We can take a page from the Republican playbook on that. Require a country club ID to vote. Easy peasey.

    Or maybe Somerby is demonstrating the unlikelihood that Democrats would have rigged elections without making themselves the winners of those congressional races too.

    Personally, I think the best way to get more Republican votes is via public education. The more people know about their world, the less likely they will vote for the horrible candidates Republicans send their way. That has been severely hampered by covid, but people are out and about now, so informing people of what Republicans have done, as with the 1/6 televised hearings, and an upcoming Trump trial, will awaken the latent common sense of red voters. AND Biden can help by keeping Russia from meddling again in our elections.

    Transforming the Democrats into a second Republican party by pretending that Centrists have it all figured out, is the wrong approach in my opinion. Centrists have no programs and no ideas of their own. Their entire platform seems to be "stop being so woke and let the racists do their own thing." That's the way to alienate the most loyal faction among Democrats, not the way to pick up Republican votes. Most Republicans would shoot their own children before they would vote Democratic.

    1. Somerby is dumb as shit when it comes to electoral strategy.

      We already tried the Third Way, with Carter and then Clinton and then to a lesser extent Obama, and electorally speaking it was a disaster - Dems got wiped out.

      Now Dems are resurgent, since 2018 their electoral strategy has turned away from centrist, Third Way style politics - ie catering to right wingers, towards wokeness and progressiveness, and the results are clear, it has been a big win for Dems.

      Somerby and morons like Drum don't care about policy or society, they only care about themselves; they no longer are of any consequence - this eats them up, but, you know, good riddance.

  4. “As the counting proceeds, those numbers will change. We don't know where it will end.”


    1. Cecelia, are you not aware that some of those undecided CA house seats are projected to be won by Republicans? Or do you just not care what you say?

  5. Wow, Bob!

    They can’t find a reason to indict Giuliani- https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2022/11/14/rudy-giuliani-will-not-face-criminal-charges-in-foreign-lobbying-case-prosecutors-say.html

    Guess what! — Exclusive: Federal agents believe former president Donald Trump’s motive for allegedly keeping classified documents was largely his ego and a desire to hold on to the materials as trophies or mementos, according to people familiar with the matter. wapo.st/3EwSiba

    Oh, and three days ago we learned this- https://news.yahoo.com/fbi-may-had-8-informants-021341915.html

    Wouldn’t it have been nice to have had this info before the election?

    1. People were talking about ego as an excuse for taking those documents ever since the search warrant was executed. No one suppressed that info.

      The non-indictment of Giuliani was announced on the grand jury's timetable, not the newspaper's.

      Similarly, the announcement by the FBI that it had informants in the Proud Boys was part of discovery in their trial (scheduled for Dec 12) and the news report was prompted by a request by the Proud Boys' lawyers to delay the trial in order to review discovery materials. There is no evidence that the NY Times delayed publishing anything related to the trial or the Proud Boys or the FBI discovery materials.

      But this is the way credulous people create and spread disinformation about conspiracies. Cecelia wants us to believe that the NY Times has been manipulating the timing of its stories to help or hurt candidates. The problem is that Giuliani isn't running for anything, neither are Tarrio and the Proud Boys, and theories held by federal agents are not evidence of Trump's guilt or innocence or even his motive -- it is all just another opinion, with no relevance for anyone's election.

      And this is how Republicans think. Spread a bunch of crap around and claim the NY Times is doing something wrong, and some number of clueless idiots will buy it. Cecelia, you are not a good faith commenter here and you have now revealed that your purpose here is to spread propaganda. But you are less competent than Mao and as stupid as a rock. If you are a member of some troll farm somewhere, please see your supervisor and ask to be reassigned elsewhere.

      Every story that appears after the election was not deliberately withheld to hurt the Republicans. But good try portraying your party as victims of the normal news cycle.

    2. Anonymouse 4:24pm:

      https://giphy.com/gifs/1AIeYgwnqeBUxh6juu?tc=1 via @giphy

    3. Cesillyia never has any intent to make a coherent or salient point, they just want that feeling of dominance.

      Before you get upset or bother responding to their nonsense, consider that Cesilliyia is that way most likely due to unresolved childhood trauma, which has likely affected their brain - this is what the science indicates. Remember there is no such thing as free will, Cesillyia is the result of their experiences, which apparently include some gnarly and gruesome ones.

    4. People can modify their behavior, even mentally ill people.

    5. Anonymouse 4:54, I can’t describe how torturous things were for me. I’ll just say that conspiracy theorists and Reagan voters were involved.

      I just feel blessed that it was nothing so damagingly bad as to cause me to be sick enough to squat on a blog each day in order to call the owner a homosexual, pedophile, mother-hating, misogynist, liar, moronic and seditious traitor to his country.

      Thank Gaia, I’m not that screwed up.

    6. Cecelia just quoted almost verbatim from the Republican playbook.

    7. 6:58 you do do that every day, you weirdo.

      Might as well own it.

      You are that screwed up. We are just trying to help by providing a pathway to a modicum of self awareness.

      People can not modify their behavior, but they can be impacted in such a way as to influence their behavior.

    8. Somerby had a one-man stage show about his problems with his mother. I didn’t make that up.

    9. Somerby demonstrates his misogyny and bigotry here from time to time, as when he couldn’t conceive os Ketanji Brown Jackson as qualified, or he said Chanel Miller shouldn’t have gotten drunk if she didn’t want to be raped. And I said he was a traitor to liberals because he was behaving like Tokyo Rose (who YOU brought up). Try to stick to the facts, if you can.

    10. Physician, heal thy selves. I’m here to read the blogger. I don’t agree with him on many things, but I like him. I respect him.

      He doesn’t read the awful and shameful accusations that you make about him . I do, and feel compelled to defend him.

      I don’t know about your amygdala, and couldn’t care less. It’s moot that anonymices have more issues than People Magazine.

    11. You have quite a few issues yourself, Cecelia, as revealed by your commentary.

    12. Compared to many here, Cecilia is quite sane

  6. The woods are lovely, dark, and deep.

    1. Robert Frost, who Somerby seems to like but doesn't respect enough to cite.

  7. Democrats tend to dismiss reason, science, objective reality and insist that everything is culturally relative. It is true that one can ask serious questions about the foundations of scientific knowledge and about how, if at all, the concept of objective reality can be defined. But it is obvious Democrats are not simply logicians systematically analyzing the foundations of knowledge. They are deeply involved emotionally in their attack on truth and reality.

    They attack these concepts because of their own psychological needs. For one thing, their attack is an outlet for hostility, and, to the extent that it is successful, it satisfies the drive for power.

    1. Ted Kazinscki wants residuals if you are going to keep this up, you transparent moron.

  8. “Votes cast in House elections:
    For Republican candidates: 53.0 million (51.4%)
    For Democratic candidates: 48.6 million (47.1 %)”

    This originated in a tweet from Newt Gingrich, so Somerby of course reprints it here.

    What is supposed to be surprising or non-trivial about this? In general, since the Republicans are expected to win the House, why would it surprise anyone that they won the popular vote for House candidates? I imagine the same thing happened in 1994. So what?

    Unlike when Hillary won the popular vote by almost 3,000,000 votes, but still lost.

    There is no electoral college for House elections.

  9. From Digby:

    Once you start talking about race pride, loyalty, our destiny, our God, our mission, it’s like building virtual realities. Democrats begin to treat these things as though they were real objects, and to build their lives as though these things were real. It’s a diminution of humanness. They choose to limit themselves to a cultural reality—whether it’s the reality of being Witoto, or Orthodox Jewish, or whatever it is.

    Republicans that have habitually broken down the cultural illusion and examined the terrifying reality beyond it have not marched off, then, to pontificate with the politics of absolutism, or scientific absolutism, or all the rest of it as we know some have.

    1. Media Matters. My mistake.

    2. Can Democrats be saved? I don’t think so. How do they overcome their product fetishism, xenophobia and enormous pyramids of class and privilege? How do they find real values?

      They find them in caring for the Earth. Nature presents an established set of processes and achievements, billions of years old, which exercise a moral claim on rational intelligence—if they will notice. And so that’s what this is all about. What Democrats have given us are laundry lists of moral do’s and don’ts that are preposterous on the face of them. Who needs it? Better to have a universe that glorifies God through its diversity than a universe which is the travesty of a demonic intent.

    3. Not digby or media matters. A little Marx mixed with occultism. In other words, gibberish.

    4. 8:57 said the same thing yesterday

    5. You're the one who's afraid to stand up to the dominator culture.


    6. "Can Democrats be saved?"

      Meh. Are you kidding?

      The poor creatures earnestly believe in wimmin trapped inside men's bodies...

    7. Every Republican who respects women, will believe it too. All none of them.