Updated at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday Nov. 13.

As California counties continue to process mail-in and provisional ballots, Assemblyman Tony Thurmond, D-Richmond, has taken a substantial lead over Marshall Tuck in the race for California’s state superintendent of public instruction.

Thurmond has not only erased the 86,000 vote lead Marshall Tuck enjoyed last Wednesday, but as of Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. now leads Tuck by a 67,,000 vote margin, according to the latest figures released on Monday afternoon by the California Secretary of State.

The earlier count did not include millions of uncounted mail-in ballots that arrived after Election Day, or provisional ballots issued at polling stations.

The latest figures indicate that Thurmond has 50.4 percent of the vote, and Tuck 49.6 percent.  Thurmond currently has 3,915,268 votes, compared to Tuck’s 3,848,107.   Thurmond increased his lead based on counties tallying over 500,000 more votes over the last 24 hours.

The momentum in the race is now clearly on Thurmond’s side.  Ever since county election officials began tallying the uncounted ballots last week, Thurmond has outpaced Tuck in the vote count.

For the most recently posted results on the race, check out EdSource’s vote tracker here.

An EdSource map of election results shows that Tuck won the majority of votes in 41 out of 58 counties. But Thurmond has gotten majority support in many coastal counties, especially in high population regions of the state like Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Last Friday afternoon, the Secretary of State’s issued a list of 4.6 million outstanding ballots based on numbers provided by each of California’s 58 counties.  About 1.7 million of those appear to have been  to have been counted so far. The Secretary of State is expected to provide more information on Tuesday on the number of remaining ballots to be counted.

The state superintendent’s position remains the most closely contested race for a state office in California, and one of the most expensive.   It is the only nonpartisan position of eight statewide officers.  All but two of the races for those positions have been easily won by Democrats.  The vote tally for insurance commissioner was also initially close. But Ricardo Lara, a Democrat, has pulled ahead of Steve Poizner, running as an independent. Lara continues to widen his lead, which is now at 186,000 votes.

In a tweet yesterday, Thurmond said, “there are still millions of votes to count. Let’s count all the votes and make every vote count!”

And when he was still leading by nearly 86,000 votes, Tuck said, “I think this is a lead that will hold but I’m not sure of it. 86,000 votes is meaningful but not a ton.”

Thurmond and Tuck are both Democrats. Thurmond was endorsed by the California Democratic Party, as well as by many prominent Democratic lawmakers and leaders, but Tuck also garnered endorsements from many Democratic elected officials and others.

They agreed on many key education issues, including the need for more funding and the importance of closing the achievement gap in California schools.

In terms of their endorsements, what most notably set them apart was that Thurmond was endorsed and backed financially by California’s teachers unions, while Tuck was endorsed and backed by charter school advocates, including some of the nation’s wealthiest and most visible charter supporters.

Tuck was a former president of Green Dot Public Schools, a charter school network in Los Angeles.  He insisted that he backs all public schools, not just charters.  Thurmond in turn said he supports charter schools, pointing to several he voted to authorize when he was a school board member in the West Contra Costa Unified School District.

But they differed in their views on the pace at which charter schools should be allowed to expand.

Thurmond said he would support a pause in further expansion of charter schools to deal with the financial impact further expansion could have on districts. Tuck opposed any such pause, but said that districts should be given temporary financial assistance to help them deal with the loss of income as a result of students enrolling in charter schools.

California already enrols a disproportionate number of the nation’s charter school students. One in five of the approximately 3.1 million students attending charter schools nationally go to charter schools in California — even though California has about 1 in 8 of the nation’s public school students.

If Thurmond ends up winning the race, it would represent another high-profile setback for prominent charter school advocates, many of them multi-billionaires who pushing for further charter expansion. Last spring, they spent over $20 million backing former mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in his unsuccessful race for governor against Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.  Several of them contributed similar amounts that ended up going to an independent expenditure committee backing Tuck.

What is still unknown is how long it will take to count all the ballots. “There are a massive number of ballots, and we have 58 very different counties, each with its own way of counting and its own level of resources,” Sam Mahood, a spokesman for California’s Secretary of State Alex Padilla, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Counting that many ballots takes time, and there aren’t many ways to shorten the process.”

Three quarters of the uncounted ballots are mail-in ballots that arrived after last Tuesday’s election date. About 1 in 5 are those cast by people who showed up at the polls to vote, but for a variety of reasons were issued provisional ballots. A much smaller number are same-day registration ballots.

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  1. Gregory Lin Lipford 4 weeks ago4 weeks ago

    Someone needs to investigate and explain how late votes and recounts virtually always go one direction. It’s a statistical impossibility.

    Replies

    • el 4 weeks ago4 weeks ago

      You may need to go back to statistics school. One of the great things about the internet is the chance to watch a lot of people who care about elections - both professionals and hobbyists - play with the tools and create estimates both before elections and during the counting. You can find them on Twitter or on your choice of election-themed blogs and websites. They work out things like the plausible percentage each candidate has to … Read More

      You may need to go back to statistics school.

      One of the great things about the internet is the chance to watch a lot of people who care about elections – both professionals and hobbyists – play with the tools and create estimates both before elections and during the counting. You can find them on Twitter or on your choice of election-themed blogs and websites.

      They work out things like the plausible percentage each candidate has to hit in each county to win, and can say things like “Candidate X is only getting 55% of the vote in county Y, and she’s unlikely to win if she can’t win this area by 65%” because they know the past voting history of the various areas as well as the demographics.

      There are real demographic differences between the people who mail in their votes early, those who mail on the last day, and those who vote in person on election day. This is a pattern that is generally seen in every jurisdiction too, not just California.

      If you’re an educator, you could probably make a pretty fun lesson around estimating election returns and comparing them to the real life results. There’s a lot of use of percentages, spreadsheets, disproportionate fractions, etc. It’s really clear that winning a small area with a few hundred voters with 80% isn’t nearly as good as winning a big area with 20,000 voters by 55%.

      As an example of this kind of analysis, there’s this going on now in the count for UT-04 where Mia Love is the incumbent: https://twitter.com/RobertGehrke/status/1062545235631267840

      You can see the spreadsheet shared and updated that shows the ballots so far, estimated ballots remaining, etc, and view the history to see earlier versions. Something like this is what all the people who call races on election night use.

  2. Caroline Grannan 4 weeks ago4 weeks ago

    I haven't researched the figures for this comment, but it seems obvious that voting by mail has become a much bigger thing -- it used to be viewed as *absentee* voting and intended only for people who were away or incapacitated on election day. Now VBM is just a normal option. I vote by mail because I just find it easier, and my husband walks to our polling place because he likes the process. … Read More

    I haven’t researched the figures for this comment, but it seems obvious that voting by mail has become a much bigger thing — it used to be viewed as *absentee* voting and intended only for people who were away or incapacitated on election day. Now VBM is just a normal option. I vote by mail because I just find it easier, and my husband walks to our polling place because he likes the process.

    Regarding the “100% of precincts reporting,” that’s what the secretary of state and at least my county’s election department post on their websites, so the media has to make a point of calling attention to the vast number of not-yet-counted votes after election night.

    The reality is that only a percentage of people eligible to vote register, and only a percentage of registered voters actually vote. The notion that there’s massive voter fraud is … well, that’s a very flattering tinfoil hat.

  3. el 4 weeks ago4 weeks ago

    The media really needs to change how it reports on election night and stop giving that "100% reporting" line on Tuesday night when the law says that ballots that are delivered as late as Friday will be counted. As more counties and more individuals move to vote-by-mail as the more convenient option, we are simply going to have to be more patient. I was pleased to see in my polling place a pollworker cheerfully explaining to … Read More

    The media really needs to change how it reports on election night and stop giving that “100% reporting” line on Tuesday night when the law says that ballots that are delivered as late as Friday will be counted. As more counties and more individuals move to vote-by-mail as the more convenient option, we are simply going to have to be more patient.

    I was pleased to see in my polling place a pollworker cheerfully explaining to a person who had recently moved how to file a provisional ballot. I’m proud to live in a state where every vote counts, where people aren’t disenfranchised by long lines wasting their time, and where the voting process is meant to be accessible to every citizen.

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 4 weeks ago4 weeks ago

      Good points, el.

  4. John Fensterwald 4 weeks ago4 weeks ago

    Peter: I don't know what you are referring to regarding Fresno, but on your other points: The Secretary of State has not certified results yet. It's important not to confuse 100 percent of precincts reporting with 100 percent of the votes. The former simply says that all polling places where people cast votes on Election Day have sent in their results. There are millions of uncounted votes because California makes a strong effort to allow people … Read More

    Peter: I don’t know what you are referring to regarding Fresno, but on your other points:

    The Secretary of State has not certified results yet. It’s important not to confuse 100 percent of precincts reporting with 100 percent of the votes. The former simply says that all polling places where people cast votes on Election Day have sent in their results. There are millions of uncounted votes because California makes a strong effort to allow people to cast provisional votes, which then must be verified, and to receive mail-in ballots postmarked on Election Day for up to three days later.

    The Democratic Party opposed the Citizens Redistricting Commission, as passed by voters in 2008 and extended to congressional districts in 2010. The idea was pushed by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. A nonpartisan, impartial method of drawing district lines by itself won’t change election results for a Republican Party whose voter registration continues its sharp decline.

  5. Peter Grace 4 weeks ago4 weeks ago

    Daniel is entirely correct John. This state, especially in the blue arenas are totally full of malfeasance and skullduggery every day. Just take a peek at Fresno County over the last few decades. How do 19,000 or 1,900 votes suddenly appear out of nowhere for Costa? Also, John your comment on gerrymandering is more to the blue side of the fence than red. Please let's be clear on that one! More important, I … Read More

    Daniel is entirely correct John. This state, especially in the blue arenas are totally full of malfeasance and skullduggery every day. Just take a peek at Fresno County over the last few decades. How do 19,000 or 1,900 votes suddenly appear out of nowhere for Costa? Also, John your comment on gerrymandering is more to the blue side of the fence than red. Please let’s be clear on that one!

    More important, I just saw a LAT’s online piece where there are over 4.9 million ballots still to be counted! Huh? If that is the case, why are they certifying voter results when so many are very close?

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 4 weeks ago4 weeks ago

      I don't know what you are referring to regarding Fresno, but on your other points: The Secretary of State has not certified results yet. It's important not to confuse 100 percent of precincts reporting with 100 percent of the votes. The former simply says that all polling places where people cast votes on Election Day have sent in their results. There are millions of uncounted votes because California makes a strong effort to allow people to … Read More

      I don’t know what you are referring to regarding Fresno, but on your other points:

      The Secretary of State has not certified results yet. It’s important not to confuse 100 percent of precincts reporting with 100 percent of the votes. The former simply says that all polling places where people cast votes on Election Day have sent in their results. There are millions of uncounted votes because California makes a strong effort to allow people to cast provisional votes, which then must be verified, and to receive mail-in ballots postmarked on Election Day for up to three days later.

      The Democratic Party opposed the Citizens Redistricting Commission, as passed by voters in 2008 and extended to congressional districts in 2010. The idea was pushed by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. A nonpartisan, impartial method of choosing drawing districts by itself won’t change election results for a Republican Party whose registration continues to decline.

  6. Daniel Ross 1 month ago1 month ago

    There has been so much voter fraud in California, I don’t trust any results. I was born here in 58 and what I’ve seen is disgusting and disgraceful. From the DMVgate oops illegal voters to the questionable poll operations. Uncle Sam should lower his head in shame for letting this happen.

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 1 month ago1 month ago

      Best I can tell, Daniel, there has been minuscule to no voter actual fraud in California. Real fraud is gerrymandered districts and deliberate disenfranchisement of minority voters — in other states.

    • Ralph Craig 4 weeks ago4 weeks ago

      Show data to support your position…

    • JamesA 4 weeks ago4 weeks ago

      California is one of the few states that lets all its citizens vote and counts every vote cast. Takes a bit longer to count than the vote-surpressing/tossing states favored by the anti-democratic right.