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At least 4 million California ballots left to be counted, likely adding to Clinton's popular vote lead

 (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Elections officials across California have more than 4 million ballots that have yet to be checked or counted, a number that's almost half as large as all the ballots tallied so far from Tuesday's election.

The official total — 4,362,087 ballots — will undoubtedly change and possibly even grow over the next few days. Three counties, including vote-rich San Diego County, did not submit an estimate of unprocessed ballots for Thursday night's statewide report.

In addition, California law says that any ballot postmarked by election day can still be counted if it arrives as many as three business days late. State officials have extended this year's deadline to Monday, because that third day, Nov. 11, is a federal holiday.

More than 1 million of the pending ballots — almost one of every four — remain to be sorted and counted in Los Angeles County. Three-fourths of the ballots statewide were cast absentee, with the rest being provisional ballots cast on election day by voters whose registration information could not be quickly verified.

When adding together the new report of unprocessed ballots and those already counted, statewide voter turnout on Nov. 8 would be just over 74% — higher than turnout in 2012 but somewhat lower than the percentage of registered voters who cast ballots in 2008 and 2004.

The remaining ballots will undoubtedly shift the margins of victory or defeat for candidates and ballot measures, and could add a noticeable bump to the national vote total for Hillary Clinton. Current totals show the defeated Democratic presidential nominee with more than 5.5 million votes statewide, and Clinton holds a 28-point lead over Trump.

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