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ELECTION UPDATE: About 5,000 vote-by-mail ballots remain uncounted in Orinda

By Jonathan Morales
Tuesday, November 9th, 2010 at 6:47 pm in election, Orinda.

About 5,000 uncounted v0te-by-mail ballots remain in Orinda, according to City Clerk Michele Olsen via county Clerk-Recorder Steve Weir.

And those ballots could represent as much as 60 percent of the total votes cast in both the city council and school board races. More on that later.

First, here’s how the numbers break down:

  • 6,975 vote-by-mail ballots were issued for Orinda
  • 1,953 were included in the Election Day count
  • Mandatory vote-by-mail ballots (people who live in areas for which there is no polling place) are counted as VBMs when they are issued but included in the Election Day total. Olsen said the number of mandatory VBMs in the city is small.

That means 5,022 uncounted VBMs remain, less the mandatory VBMs.

Now, here’s why it’s a big deal: Because each ballot can have as many as three votes each for city council and school board, there are as many as 15,000 votes uncounted for each race.

That, of course, assumes that everyone used all three of their votes. And that’s a big assumption.

But still, it means Sue Severson’s lead over Scott Zeller — 59 votes, or 0.6 percent — is that much slimmer.

We should be getting an update from the county on Friday, which means we may finally know then who’s on the council (and the school board).

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2 Responses to “ELECTION UPDATE: About 5,000 vote-by-mail ballots remain uncounted in Orinda”

  1. steve weir Says:

    Please note that we updated the Countywide totals on Wednesday (Nov. 10th) which can be viewed at

    You will see that in the vote-by-mail category, 11,226 votes were cast. In additon, we had 4,257 undervotes. (That means that votes people either skipped the City Council Contest or voted for fewer than the three allowed.)

    So, City Totals include 8,098 ballots cast.

    We will update either on Friday or Monday.

    Steve Weir, County Clerk

  2. steve weir Says:

    We’ve updated again this morning and you see total ballots cast at just under 10,000 (VBM vote by mail now at 6,788 cast.)

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