A record number of voters and last-minute flood of absentee ballots left millions of votes to be counted Wednesday and several California races too close to call.
Election officials worked through the night and morning to finish counting roughly 10.4 million ballots cast by voters at the polls or in early mail-in voting.
But California officials will spend the next month poring over several million absentee and provisional ballots — which could hold the key to a tight race over a state proposition to revamp redistricting procedures and for a Northern California congressional seat.
Election experts say between 2.6 million and 3 million remain to be tallied among absentee ballots that arrived too late to count, were dropped at polling places or provisional ballots handed out to voters whose status could not immediately be verified.
"If we did succeed in even just keeping pace with 2004 turnout levels, we added half a million voters to the process this election — and the counties felt that," said Kim Alexander, president of the nonprofit California Voter Foundation.