Election

Even though polls closed on Nov. 8, Angelenos still won’t know the results for possibly weeks to come. As of Nov. 11, just over 1.5 million ballots had been counted, with initial results not conclusive enough to determine the victor for several key municipal elections.

In the LA mayor’s race, Karen Bass leads by less than 1%, meaning the election could come down to a few thousand votes. Early numbers on election night showed Bass at an advantage, but by Nov. 9, Caruso had pulled ahead by around 20,000 ballots. As LA County released more numbers through Nov. 11, Bass reclaimed her lead but only by 4,384 votes.

The LA County sheriff’s race showed Long Beach Police Capt. Robert Luna at an early advantage, with 58.38% of the vote, but incumbent Sheriff Alex Villanueva can still pull ahead. With that said, approximately 70% of voters voted to approve County Measure A, which would allow the County Board of Supervisors to remove an elected sheriff for misconduct.

Another controversial race yet to be decided for LA is the race for City Council’s 11th District between Traci Park and Erin Darling. Both Democrats, the race will determine who is to succeed Mike Bonin. Darling has widely been described as “Bonin 2.0” and was endorsed by the sitting city councilmember. Park, contrary to Darling and Bonin, takes a much harsher stance on homelessness, a prominent political issue on the Westside.

Election night results showed Park and Darling neck and neck, but Park has since pulled forward with 54.58% of the vote. Results for other LA City Council seats show Katy Young Yaroslavsky in the lead (57.07%) for the 5th District, Hugo Soto-Martinez (53.29%) for the 13th District, and Tim McCosker (65.38%) for the 15th District.

In California, every registered voter receives a vote by mail ballot before the election. Individuals may decide if they want to cast their ballot by mail or if they would like to take their mail-in ballot to fill out in person at a polling location. Those who arrive at the polling location without a ballot, both registered and unregistered voters, may vote conditionally.

Signatures for mail-in ballots received before election day are verified before the polls open, making them the first set of numbers released immediately after the polls close at 8 p.m. Following that release, all in-person ballots are counted on election night. The final batch of those numbers was released at 3:30 a.m. Nov. 9.

It’s unknown how many ballots are left to count, especially given that, in California, ballots postmarked on election day still have one week to arrive. However, the county registrar-recorder’s office estimated on Wednesday that only 985,000 more vote-by-mail ballots and 21,000 conditional voter registration ballots would need to be tabulated.

After election night, LA County typically releases updated numbers twice a week, with the last count distributed on Nov. 11. The county expects to certify the results on Dec. 3, meaning the closest races could be contested until that date.