Tens of Thousands of Uncounted Ballots in San Francisco

Count 'em all...
Earlier today, we noted that only several hundred votes separated the thrill of victory from the agony of defeat in all four contested supervisorial races. It requires an astoundingly small number of votes to become a supervisor in this city. But you can count on it requiring quite a bit more than the present totals, even though 100 percent of precincts are reporting.

Per John Arntz, the head of the city's Elections Department, around 84,000 ballots remain to be tallied. Any vote-by-mail ballots that arrived after Oct. 28 hasn't yet been counted. "It's a five-card ballot," said Arntz. "And it takes five times longer to count a five card ballot than a one-card ballot."

Considering all of 400 votes separate Mark Farrell and Janet Reilly, to give just one example, you'd figure thousands of additional ballots might make a difference.

Historically, it made sense that more people would turn out than the 37 percent or so reported yesterday -- and the 39 percent recorded as of 4 p.m. today.

In 2006 -- the last gubernatorial election no one was very enthused about -- 61 percent of San Franciscans made it to the polls. Some dropoff is to be expected -- but 25 percent?

If you added 84,000 uncounted ballots to the current number of counted ones -- 179,070 -- you'd get 263,070. That's 57 percent turnout.

That sounds plausible. We'll see how it works out for state and local candidates.

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