Election Day in the U.S. has been over for more than a week, but there is at least one hotly contested race still ongoing. As I discussed here over the weekend, California Congressman Darrell Issa was holding onto an unexpected narrow lead against challenger, Doug Applegate.
The issue of which Issa is accusing liberals of stealing the election is over provisional ballots. Provisional ballots are ballots cast by anyone who may not appear on the voting rolls when they go to vote. Anyone who requests a provisional ballot is entitled to one and the ballots are not counted until verification that the ballot was cast by an eligible, legal voter. In any given election a certain percentage of provisional ballots are deemed invalid. While typically not enough to matter in most races, in the Issa v. Applegate contest it could be enough to swing the election away from Issa.
At a fundraiser on Wednesday night, the congressman maintained his victory over Applegate, but agreed the race is close. “I won, but now the liberals are trying to steal the election,” Issa said. “The truth is there are still enough ballots left to be counted that I could still lose. I am optimistic that’s not going to happen though.”
While Rep. Issa declared a win last week, the margin and confidence in Issa holding on to his lead has grown enough that those watching the race have started calling it for Issa as well:
We project that @DarrellIssa has won re-election in #CA49.
— Decision Desk HQ (@DecisionDeskHQ) November 17, 2016
But as counting goes on, the Applegate campaign is doing whatever it can to ensure every eligible voters’ ballot is counted. Issa’s campaign has also promised to ensure that only legal voters’ ballots are counted. Both campaigns have legal experts and overseers witnessing the counting of the roughly 60,000 provisional ballots left to count. Late-returned provisional ballots tend to favor Democrats, so this race will continue to be a nail-biter until the final results are certified.