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Kamala Harris-Steve Cooley Race Undecided: 2 Million Uncounted Ballots

Kamala Harris Steve Cooley

First Posted: 11/05/10 01:58 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:10 PM ET

This story comes courtesy of California Watch.

By Ryan Gabrielson

Nearly two million ballots remain uncounted at county offices across California, a horde of mail-in and provisional votes that will decide who becomes the next state attorney general.

Just 9,030 votes - a tenth of a percentage point - currently separate Kamala Harris, the Democratic district attorney of San Francisco, from opponent Steve Cooley, Republican district attorney of Los Angeles.

Early results on Tuesday night showed Cooley with a significant lead, large enough to prompt him to declare victory. His campaign essentially withdrew that statement the following morning as Harris inched ahead in the vote count.

Harris' campaign announced on Wednesday its certainty that Harris would become California's top attorney.

However, with so many ballots uncounted, no outcome is certain. The California secretary of state's office was in the process yesterday of asking the state's 58 counties to volunteer that information.

As of last night, about 1.9 million remained uncounted.

It is possible Cooley and Harris might trade the lead multiple times during the next few weeks. Certainly, many of the votes included above will be invalidated. Of those remaining, it is difficult to predict which candidate will benefit from all the post-election counting.

Cooley won several of the counties with large piles of uncounted votes, like Orange and San Diego counties.

If the provisional and mail-in ballots reflect the preferences of the votes already counted, Harris' miniscule lead would disappear and deliver Cooley a 6,000-vote margin of victory.

But Brian Brokaw, a Harris spokesman, argues that the late votes were trending in favor of his candidate in nearly every part of California.

"I'm not delusional, I don't think we're gonna all of a suddenly flip the tide in the Republican strongholds," Brokaw said. "But with Orange County, we're gonna have to see where their provisionals are; there's going to be a lot of votes for us there too."

The counties have until Dec. 3 to finalize their results.

The Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters expects to have finished counting its remaining ballots by early next week. Los Angeles County is scheduled to keep counting throughout most of this month.

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Filed by Billy Silverman  |