Local Politics

Wednesday, Nov 07 2012 12:00 PM

50,000 Kern County votes left to be counted

BY JAMES BURGER Californian staff writer jburger@bakersfield.com

Not all of Kern County's political contests had clear results by Wednesday morning. And it may take awhile for the outcome to be known.

That's because, as in most elections, tens of thousands of votes have yet to be counted here.

Kern County elections workers now begin the process of slogging through the estimated 50,000 vote-by-mail and provisional ballots that have yet to be counted in the county.

It will take more than a week to finish the work and, until it is done, there will remain uncertainty about the outcomes of a number of local races.

Kern County Elections Division Chief Karen Rhea said Wednesday morning that Kern County has 35,000 vote-by-mail ballots and between 14,000 and 15,000 provisional ballots left to tally.

She expects the next update to the report of votes to come on Monday.

Only 209 votes separated the two top candidates, leader Terry Maxwell and Elliott Kirschenmann, in the race for the 2nd Ward seat on the Bakersfield City Council.

And Rudy Salas led opponent Pedro Rios by a slim 268-vote margin in the 32nd Assembly District race, after nearly 59,000 votes were counted for the two candidates by Wednesday morning.

An analysis of remaining votes in both Kings County and Kern County show there are likely far more Kern County votes outstanding in the 32nd District than votes in Kings. And, because Salas was strong in Kern County, the projection is that he will extend his lead.

But until the actual counts come in, the outcome of the 32nd Assembly race, the council race and a number of other votes in school board elections, school bond contests and city council races across Kern will be questioned.

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