More than 2.5 million ballots were left uncounted on election day across California, a process that could take several days or longer and leave close races in limbo. Secretary of State Alex Padilla posted a report late Thursday on unprocessed ballots. Most of that total -- about 1.8 million -- were mailed to voters but returned only on Tuesday. Six million ballots have already been counted from the statewide primary. The uncounted tally would push total voter turnout to about 8.5 million, or around 47% of all registered voters.
Thousands of military ballots have yet to be counted in Georgia, which some say could give a boost to President Trump's numbers in the state, even as Democratic nominee Joe Biden pulls slightly ahead in the race to claim the state's 16 electoral votes. Biden early Friday was leading in the state with 2,449,371 votes, or 49.39% of the ballots cast, while the president had 2,448,454 votes, or 49.37% of the ballots cast. But there are thousands of military, overseas and provisional ballots that will soon be added to the vote tally. Military and overseas ballots have a later deadline than other absentee ballots and were required in Georgia to be postmarked by Nov. 3. Those ballots will be counted, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, if they are received at the county election offices by Friday, Nov. 6, at 5 p.m. ET.
A flood of Democratic ballots have already been recorded in states with early voting across the nation, more than doubling the number of Republican ballots received so far. Though there has been speculation that Democratic voters will be more likely to vote by mail in the 2020 General Election than Republican voters, the number of Americans who have cast their vote so far has outstripped the number of early voters by this point in 2016, by 10 fold. Over 8 million Americans have already cast their votes, which could mean this presidential election sees a record number in voter turnout, according to the United States Elections Project, which compiles election data. Though five states in the U.S. conduct their voting system largely or entirely through mail-in ballots, including Oregon, Washington, Utah, Colorado, and Hawaii, none of these states were included in the more than 8 million votes already received. As of Friday, 1.7 million registered Democrats had returned their ballots, while only 750,000 registered Republican ballots had been received.
With California's evolution to a state where most voters cast their ballots by mail, political watchers have concluded election day has turned into election week . The independent Target Book, a publication that handicaps congressional and legislative races, called it "probable" on that as many as 3 million ballots could remain uncounted by time Tuesday night ended. And traditionally, said the analysts, those ballots tend to have come from Democrats, young and Latino voters. As of early Wednesday morning, about 5 million ballots had already been counted, but no official word on how many remained. State election law gives counties 30 days to finish their canvassing of votes cast.
Republicans and some Democrats have argued over the last year that lawmakers are spending too much time fixing citizen-initiated referendums that too easily get on the ballot. Some organizers of ballot campaigns have argued that voters are just fed up with stalemate in Augusta and that Maine already makes it hard enough for citizens leading ballot campaigns.