Could California Flip for Bernie Sanders?

bernie sanders california primary

Could California flip for Bernie Sanders after all the votes are counted? (Getty)

It’s the question on the top of Bernie Sanders’ supporters minds, as the results for Washington, D.C. come in and the Democratic National Convention looms in the near future. Is there a chance that California might still flip for Bernie Sanders? Sanders supporters were angered when news organizations declared Clinton the presumptive nominee and the winner of the California primary the night before the elections happened. But now with millions of votes still waiting to be counted, is there a chance that the delegate-rich state could still flip for Sanders?

Here’s what you need to know.


According to AP, Sanders Has 1.5 Million Votes to Clinton’s 1.9 Million

First, a look at the current numbers. According to AP as of June 14, Bernie Sanders has 1,502,043 votes to Hillary Clinton’s 1,940,580 votes. That means Clinton is taking away 269 delegates to Sanders’ 206 delegates. Supporters of Sanders were confused by this outcome, when early exit polls of absentee ballots gave the edge to Sanders.

The current numbers are based on partially reporting precincts. That’s important to remember — 100 percent of precincts have reported, but they have only reported partially. (The Secretary of State website has a more updated count that shows Sanders gaining slightly as of June 15. The vote count there is 2.36 million to 1.88 million, with a percentage of 55.1 for Clinton to 44 for Sanders.)

As more votes are counted, the difference between Sanders and Clinton has narrowed. Already, some counties in California have flipped for Sanders. If you compare the election map from the LA Times (which has not been updated at the time of publication) to the Secretary of State’s map, you can see which counties flipped for Bernie as more votes have come in. Among those counties, according to the two maps, are San Luis Obispo, Glenn, and Santa Barbara.

Some counties are saying it may be until July 7 before all the votes in California are counted. The deadline for certifying the results is July 8.


Nearly 2 Million Votes Are Still Uncounted

This is where things get a little confusing. Not all the votes have been counted yet. This PDF document by the California Secretary of State gives you a detailed look at the unprocessed ballots for the election per county, and which ones are provisional vs vote-by-mail vs “other.” In the entire state, 1.959 million ballots are still uncounted. 712,849 of these are provisional and 1.173 million are vote-by-mail. Many of the provisional ballots, and many of the vote-by-mail ballots, are NPP (No Party Preference) voters who support Sanders.

In many counties, same-day mail-in-ballots are just now being counted and provisional ballots haven’t even been looked at yet. Not all provisional ballots will be counted, unfortunately. But 2008 might be a good indicator of how many will. In 2008, less than 17 percent of the provisional ballots were rejected. Dean Logan, Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, was estimating that 85 to 90 percent of provisional ballots would be counted:


Bernie Supporters Are Gathering Volunteers to Help Count the Remaining Ballots

Because of concerns of election fraud, Bernie Sanders supporters are volunteering to help make sure that every vote counts. These volunteers will observe mail-in and provisional ballots as they are counted. You can sign up to help at this website. For more information on other things you can do to help, please see this story.

If you voted provisionally or by mail, you can check on the status of your ballot at this website.

One reason the number of provisional ballots is so high may be because some poll workers were wrongly instructed to give all NPP (No Party Preference) voters provisional ballots instead of the Democratic crossover ballots that would have automatically been counted:


Concern about Election Fraud in California and Other States Is Growing

Sanders supporters have expressed widespread concern about potential election fraud in California.

Some of this concern is connected to exit polls, which show significant discrepancies between the exit polls and actual election results. According to Election Justice USA, an early voter exit poll in California showed Clinton leading Sanders by less than 10 percent in Los Angeles county, but results posted on primary day showed her winning vote-by-mail by 66.6 to 34.4 percent. The exit poll was praised by mainstream journalists for its accuracy. But with a discrepancy of over 23 percent, things looked suspicious. And that’s not the only place where discrepancies were noted:

One voter for Sanders in California noted that his Non Partisan Crossover Democrat ballot kept getting rejected by the voting machines:

Bernie Sanders votes are NOT being counted in California!Tried voting for Bernie & ONLY Bernie today (I wasn't knowledgable enough on any other position to choose) and 4 ballots were spit back out with printed receipts of "NO SELECTION". Both NPP AND NPP-Democratic crossover ballots were used is I'm registered NPP. If you made multiple selections, it will read all but #15 and voters would never know. Vote for BERNIE ONLY, make no other selections on the ballot and watch it get REJECTED. I'm appalled at our system, afraid for our country, and sorry for the man that wanted to save both.2016-06-08T08:45:29.000Z

In the video, it appears that the voter’s ballot only had Bernie Sanders marked and no one was selected on the down ballot. Because of this, for some reason, the machine’s optical scanner rejected the ballot as having no votes. Overcoming this issue required overriding the rejection and manually entering the vote for Sanders.

Other voters encountered additional problems. In our previous story about election fraud in California, one commenter named “BG” said that his polling place in Claremont, CA ran out of ballots 90 minutes before the polls closed. They were told that getting more ballots was not an option and all of them would have to vote provisionally.

Even if Sanders does flip California ultimately, he still will likely not have more pledged delegates than Clinton. But with rumors about Wikileaks possibly leaking more of her emails or a potential indictment from the FBI, Sanders supporters are hoping that a flipped state would give the campaign more momentum to hold out until the Democratic Convention, when the political climate might be very different.

To read more about voter suppression issues in California, please see our story below:

And to read more about the latest news about the Democratic filibuster and the support it gained on Twitter, please see: