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Orange County Elections
Orange County Elections

Purging Versus Inactive Voters

March 19, 2013 - We recently notified nearly 285,000 voters that their voter registration was becoming "inactive" due to the fact that they have not voted in at least the last four years (or we received undeliverable mail from their residence). Federal and state law allows these voters to be placed into an inactive file, much like a holding pattern of data. If we receive the postage-paid postcard back from the voter we will re-activate them or update their new address.

It's important to note that this is not a "purge", or cancellation of voters. In order to cancel a voter several steps must occur, such as confirmation from the voter that they have moved out of county; a death of the voter has occurred; or a voter must not have voted in two general elections following specified notifications. 

However, this is a step towards long-term maintenance of our voter database. By placing voters in an inactive file they will no longer receive election materials unless they reactivate their record. In addition, California courts have upheld the inactive status of voters by noting that "information in the inactive file is unreliable and often duplicative of information in the file of active voters". This reduces costs, ensures that the voter file remains clean and reduces unnecessary mailing.

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Orange County Elections
Orange County Elections

Public Notice of Proposition 37 Recount

December 13, 2012 - Pursuant to California Elections Code section 15628 the Orange County Registrar of Voters will be conducting a recount of the ballots cast in the 2012 General Election Proposition 37 contest.The election was conducted on November 6, 2012. The recount of ballots will begin at the Registrar of Voters office, 1300 South Grand Avenue, Building C, Santa Ana, on Tuesday, December 18, 2012 beginning at 9 a.m. The original timely request for a statewide recount was filed with the Secretary of State's office following the certification of the votes cast in the statewide contest.

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Orange County Elections
Orange County Elections

2012 General Election Certified and Official

November 21, 2012 - Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley has just certified the official results of the November Presidential General Election held on November 6, 2012.

Total turnout from the election was 67.3% with 34.2% of voters casting their ballot by mail and 32.8% of voters voting in their polling place. In the 2008 General Election overall turnout was 72.6%, vote-by-mail voting was 32.4% and polling place voting was 38.8%.

During the post election period, election results updates were provided daily. Despite the volume of ballots cast (in the 5th largest voting jurisdiction in the country) the final results were certified ahead of the required December 4, 2012 deadline as mandated in state law.

The Orange County Registrar of Voters produces detailed reports focusing on overall turnout, turnout by precinct, turnout by districts, turnout by cities, and more. These detailed reports can be found by visiting www.ocvote.com/results/detailed-data-and-reports.

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Orange County Elections
Orange County Elections

A Quick Word About Barcodes

November 18, 2012 - The barcodes we print on paper ballots are extremely critical. They contain data on the serial number of the ballot as well as the precinct, language party and page number. The slightest disruption (such as a pen stroke) of the readability of the barcode will cause the page to reject. In the high-speed process of scanning hundreds of thousands of ballots this reject does not stop the volume of scanning. However, as we audit the process we must (of course) return to the unreadable ballots and find them among millions of scanned pieces of paper. We only have the serial number data in order to find the unreadable ballot - once found we scan in the page and tally the votes from the ballot. This ensures every single vote is counted - down to the very last one cast in each city.

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Orange County Elections
Orange County Elections

What Takes the Longest

November 17, 2012 - What takes some of the longest time as we countdown to finalizing the 2012 Presidential Election is the required auditing of 1% of Orange County's precincts. These precincts, selected at random, must be hand counted in order to verify that the election results we have produced are accurate. Some of these precincts have over 1,300 votes cast (the larger ones are vote-by-mail ballots). It takes up to 15 hours just for a few contests in the precinct, which adds time to the hundreds of steps necessary prior to certification.

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Orange County Elections
Orange County Elections

How Many Ballots Left Countywide to Continue

November 14, 2012 - In the week following the election we provided a feature that estimates the approximate number of ballots left to count in each district and city throughout Orange County. Now that we are in the final stages of ensuring that last remaining ballots are counted we will convert this estimate to countywide totals only. This is due to the fact that as the universe of ballots gets smaller many of the ballots left cannot be estimated using electronic data, making it impossible to know precisely what is left until the ballot is actually machine counted.

An archive will remain active of the last posting of what is left to count by district. We will continue to provide rough estimates of what is left to count in each ballot category (for example, vote-by-mail, provisionals, paper ballots, etc.) countywide until we are done counting.

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Orange County Elections
Orange County Elections

Torn or Damaged Ballots

November 14, 2012 - What happens when a ballot arrives torn or damaged? We repair it and then duplicate it by hand to ensure each and every vote cast is counted. It is this level of extreme detail that most people do not see, or encounter following an election. However, when contests are very close many volunteers and candidates involved want to know how many ballots are left. Damaged ballots are just one category that prevents estimates of how many are left because the data is not electronic. Only after they are machine counted can we determine in which contests they were cast.

Other ballots in this category? Ballots that will not scan due to damaged barcodes, military ballots, partial provisional ballots and paper ballots. This tedious work of accounting for every last ballot will continue until we complete the official canvas of the votes remaining.

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Orange County Elections
Orange County Elections

Provisional Ballot Process Begins

November 12, 2012 - Today we begin the process of evaluating and counting provisional ballots that were cast at polling places on Election Day. This process cannot begin until history has been applied to every voter who cast a polling place vote or vote-by-mail ballot. This is critical so that we can verify that only "one ballot was cast for one voter" - a provisional ballot will not be allowed if a voter cast a previous ballot. A provisional ballot is cast when there is a question in regards to a given voter's eligibility. The top three reasons a voter casts a provisional ballot are - 1. The voter is not registered; 2. The voter is not voting in their assigned polling place; 3. The voter changed their address and did not notify our office.

There were approximately 80,000 provisional ballots cast in Orange County on November 6th.

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Orange County Elections
Orange County Elections

Why Does it Take Time to Count in My City?

November 12, 2012 - For the uninitiated this question makes a lot of sense. Afterall, if there are only a few hundred ballots left in a particular contest or city why does it take time to count? The answer is very simple - think of ballots cast countywide as being in a large, very tightly controlled, hopper. Like any hopper material is placed in the top in large quantities (and in random order) and then tapered at the bottom. This is the same for vote-by-mail and paper ballots - they are included "at large" with every ballot cast throughout the county. The counting of these ballots is random, which means some jurisdictions may see more gains than others on a particular day.

Despite this we plan to certify the results of the Presidential Election within 14 days of Election Day - even though state law allows us until December 4th to complete the entire process.

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Orange County Elections
Orange County Elections

New Web Feature Added

November 8, 2012 - We have offered daily updates (everyday at 5 p.m.) of election results since 2006. In addition, since 2008, we have offered daily updates of how many ballots are left to count. Now we have added a new feature to our website - how many ballots left to count by district and city. This new feature allows users to track how many vote-by-mail ballots and provisional ballots are left to count in a specific contest or area. These are only estimates and the numbers may vary slightly once precise machine counting is applied.

Users can access this new service by visiting ocvote.com/results/whats-left-to-count

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