A dozen local races remain undecided in Orange County a week after the Nov. 2 election, as officials struggle to tally a mountain of uncounted ballots.
An estimated 1,045,000 people voted in Orange County, a figure that probably will boost turnout from 52% on election day to 70% by Nov. 30, when the vote must be certified.
But only about three-quarters of those ballots -- including all of those cast electronically -- were counted in the hours after the election. About half of the rest -- 260,000 absentee and provisional ballots that require special handling -- have been counted over the last week, with 120,000 left to go.
Election officials blamed the mounds of unopened ballots on a rush of new voters who sought to register at the last minute, distracting election workers who otherwise would have been tallying early absentee ballots.
Hanging in the balance are council seats in Costa Mesa, Irvine, La Palma, Laguna Beach, Orange, Placentia and Villa Park, where 500 or fewer votes separate winners from losers.