Important Facts About Election Results

One of the questions we always hear is why do election results take time to produce? The answer is very simple – California law does not allow wireless transmission of election results from polling places. So what does this mean from a practical stand point? You must physically close down a polling place, drive the secure results to a drop off location, which is then driven under the guard of the Sheriff’s Department to our Santa Ana facility. Imagine if you drive from South Orange County to Santa Ana – take that time and add processing time to the equation and you have the answer – it’s a physical process, not electronic. Add to this the fact that we operate nearly 1,300 poll sites and it is a matter of the limitations of the movement of supplies. 

Despite this we are the fastest urban county in California to report our results and certify the final results. We have found ways to shorten the window of reporting once we have the physical results in hand. We have been recognized with national awards for our innovation and we are a leader in the field of elections. We understand the need to move quickly, without delay. 

So when thinking about election results realize that the bulk of election day results come in from 10:30 to midnight, when most of the polling places finish closing due to last minute voters. When comparing what has been reported you should look at total turnout, not just precinct reported data. Also know that we are generally done with our last unofficial report on Election Night by 1 a.m. while other counties will count until the following morning.

Neal Kelley
Orange County Registrar of Voters