Tight race continues between David Valadao and Rudy Salas

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Wednesday, November 16, 2022
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It's been a week since Election Day, but election offices in several counties are still working around the clock to process tens of thousands of ballots.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's been a week since Election Day, but election offices in several counties are still working around the clock to process tens of thousands of ballots.

They are votes Political Professor Alana Jeydel says matter.

"We have a number of races throughout the country that are being decided by 100 or 1,000 votes -- really small numbers," she said.

One of those races is between Republican Representative David Valadao and Democratic Assemblyman Rudy Salas for California's 22nd Congressional District.

Jeydel says after re-districting took place, both faced several challenges, especially Valadao as the incumbent.

"This is not the same district that he represented," she said. "If you looks at the maps, they are very different and that makes it tougher for an incumbent to win."

In Kings County, only about 20 ballots remain unprocessed out of the nearly 27,000 received.

Valadao won that county with 56.5% of the votes.

"We prepared by doing a lot of OT early in the process to allow us to prepare for election day when it got here," says Lupe Villa with the Kings County Registrar of Voters.

In Tulare County, Valadao has the lead with 59.7% of the votes, but about 30,000 ballots must be processed out of about 90,000 ballots.

"I would like to certify the election by next week, but that is my goal and we will see what happens," says Michelle Baldwin with Tulare County Registrar of Voters. "May not be until the last week of November."

When it comes to Kern County, Salas is leading with 52.6% of the votes and about 70,000 ballots still need to be processed.

In 2018, Valadao lost the race for the 21st congressional seat against Democrat TJ Cox after ballots counted in Kern County took away his lead and gave it to Cox by fewer than 500 votes.

Jeydel says with Kern County being mostly Democrat, the race could flip in the next few days like it did four years ago.

Election Offices have 30 days to process ballots.

The Tulare County Elections office wants to emphasize if you received your ballot in the mail because it needs a signature, to please return it within a week but the sooner, the better!