SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Unprocessed ballots are making the U.S. Congressional District 7 race too close to call.
"We have some very tight races that are just a few ballots apart," Assist. Sacramento County Registrar Alice Jarboe said. "Those will take until the bitter end; four weeks at least to call a winner in those."
Election workers are inundated with 193,000 unprocessed ballots, which include vote-by-mail and provisional ballots. They still have to sort bins and cages of ballots, before they can focus on counting.
Candidates are closely watching how the ballots are handled.
With all precincts reporting, political newcomer Dr. Ami Bera has a razor thin margin over longstanding Congressman Dan Lungren. Bera leads Lungren by 184 votes.
"We feel good. And we're looking forward," Bera said. "But it's now in the hands of the country registrar. We want to make sure every vote is counted."
Redistricting may have given the Democratic challenger from Elk Grove an edge over the Gold River Republican. Lungren is cautiously optimistic and not ready to throw in the towel just yet.
"I think turnout is higher in my district," Lungren said. "We could be seeing a whole other election night."
By state law, the registrar has 28 days to complete counting all the ballots. To meet its deadline, 100 extra people are staffed at the registrar's office. They will be working overtime, including this Saturday and Veteran's Day.
By Siemny Chhuon, firstname.lastname@example.org