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Nearly 8,000 Uncounted Votes in Close Mission Viejo Election

Over a quarter of the ballots cast in Mission Viejo haven't been counted. As more votes come in, the gap has narrowed between challenger Wendy Bucknum and Councilwoman Cathy Schlicht.

Who won the election for Mission Viejo City Council? New numbers recently released by the Orange County Registrar of Voters reveals the results may change before every vote is counted.

Challenger Wendy Bucknum trails Councilwoman Cathy Schlicht by 247 votes as of yesterday's vote count. That's fewer votes than she trailed by early Wednesday morning after all electronic votes had been tallied. Then Bucknum trailed by 302 votes.

The percentage-difference of the total votes between the two candidates remains the same at .5 percent.

Now 7,918 Mission Viejo votes have not been counted, the registrar website says.

"That was a surprise to me," Bucknum said Friday morning.

In an e-mail to supporters Wednesday, Bucknum said "it looks like we're going to end up a few votes short of our goal of election to the Mission Viejo City Council."

Now her message is different:

"I did send a message out saying it looks like we’re a few votes shy, but I did not have that information about the provisional ballots and absentee ballots."

Schlicht has 23.1 percent of the total vote count and Bucknum has 22.6 percent.

Here are the votes that remain uncounted:

Vote-by-Mails: 5,667

Provisionals: 2,251

Provisional ballots aren't counted until the elligibility of the voter is verified.

Each voter could vote for two of the six candidates for city council on each ballot. So far 57,205 votes have been counted, which make up a maximum 28,600 possible ballots. That means at least 27 percent of Mission Viejo voter ballots have not yet been counted.

Also left to count are the county's estimated 17,000 paper ballots

Desi Kiss November 09, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Now its time 4 for both the re-elected incumbents to tackle the 5.3 Million City reported deficit for 2012, that both were responsible for running it up, along w/ fellows Kelley, Leckness and Reardon, as well as the 1.65M that the City owes staff to date for leave time plus the unfunded pension liability and the disregard for the decreasing reserve funds. Wake up MV residents! The uncounted votes matter is just an apparent spin by City Hall. Just use your imagination and please add the $ the City owes the State in 2013 from the Re-Development Agency biz! Whoever is being sworn into Office on Dec3, 2012 will have to deal with the real fiscal issues.
Shripathi Kamath November 09, 2012 at 09:59 PM
I hope you stick around Mr. Kiss. At least on the Patch and keep reporting on the city council. If you do that, more people will know you, and you can perform better the next time. Good luck to you in your future endeavors, but I hope you continue with your political pursuits.
Shripathi Kamath November 09, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Oh goodie! Peter, will Patch be sponsoring a "recount party" where we get to comment on the proceedings? Secondly, will you be supplying the chads, or are we responsible for bringing our own?
Desi Kiss November 09, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Mr. Kamath, you bet. It is most likely that I'll be a candidate in 2014. Happy Holidays and thank you again ALL for your vote and support.
Dan Avery November 10, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Any idea as to when they will all be counted?
Peter Schelden (Editor) November 10, 2012 at 12:59 AM
Basically we'll get an update every weekday at 5:30 p.m. until all votes are counted. I'm not sure what order they'll be counted in, etc. I think I read that the results must be final by the first week of December, but I need to verify that.
Shripathi Kamath November 10, 2012 at 02:49 AM
The gap now is 230. And the number left to count is 7,374. So a 17 vote change in the 571 votes counted since yesterday. If this trend continues, then the gap should be something like 10 votes when all the votes are counted. I hope this continues for three weeks, I am kinda bummed that there is no recount in Florida. But I do not envy the two candidates.
Susan Sellers November 10, 2012 at 03:51 AM
Let's hope and pray that Wendy Bucknum gets the votes. No more lies and deception from Schlicht and her gang!
Dan Avery November 10, 2012 at 04:23 AM
Pete, you're really talking ballots and not votes. In Mission Viejo it was pick two per ballot but not everyone does, so the way it was explained to me was that you can multiply the number of ballots by 1.7. Today they counted a little under 1500 absentee ballots, which leaves about 6500 ballots or 11,050 votes. Plus the provisional ballots which is about another 3826 votes. That's a lot of votes left to count. If Shri is accurate on his absentee numbers then it will go to the provisional ballots for sure for the final decision. Any way you want to slice it, an incumbent shouldn't be in this position by a first-time challenger unless...well, I really don't need to finish that one do I?
Rudy Padrol November 10, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Go Wendy Bucknum!!!!
Shripathi Kamath November 11, 2012 at 01:29 AM
The gap is now (11/10/2012 17:24) at 303. 14,632 to 14,329. With 4,504 (was 7,374 yesterday) more left to count. Vote-by-Mails left: 2,214 Provisionals left: 2,290 By Tuesday of next week, we'll know. Damn! I want to see chads!
Leonard Darwin November 12, 2012 at 10:04 AM
Let us hope and pray Sellers goes away !
Leonard Darwin November 12, 2012 at 10:39 AM
Go Wendy go---down the floor--- out the door ! Go Windy go !
Desi Kiss November 12, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Mr. Kamath here is one more item that was hidden from the voters: a proposal to have the City annex approx. 40 acres of unincorporated land along El Toro Rd. Rather the smoke screen was set around the Dog Park and the Kaleidoscope electronic billboard signs. From the approx. 40 acres less than 12 acres are for open space w/ the remainder of 28 acres is proposed for residential zoning to allow Standard Pacific Homes to build 84 single-family homes or perhaps high density apartments. Just use your imagination. In any event the CC configuration will not change since statistically the 300+ votes lead by Cathy will project her as the winner when the dust will settle at the end of the week. So there you have it: 2 more years of status -quo until 2014! Good Luck!
Shripathi Kamath November 12, 2012 at 11:58 PM
Now we have more provisional ballots to be counted than we did on Saturday Vote-by-Mails left: 2,214 Provisionals left: 2,361 Total left: 4,575 Last updated: November 12, 2012 11:30 AM
Shripathi Kamath November 13, 2012 at 01:18 AM
And the gap is now 278 (11/20/2012, 17:04) 15,162 to 14,884. It may come down to how the provisional ballots break. A large number of votes-by-mail have been counted, and they are breaking pretty much evenly over the last few days. Wonder when they'll update the uncounted tally
Shripathi Kamath November 13, 2012 at 01:28 AM
Update District: Mission Viejo Vote-by-Mails left: 871 Provisionals left: 2,361 Total left: 3,232 Last updated: November 12, 2012 5:24 PM
Shripathi Kamath November 14, 2012 at 02:10 AM
Gap is about the same: CATHY SCHLICHT 15,223 WENDY BUCKNUM 14,955 268. No update so far on the votes left
Shripathi Kamath November 14, 2012 at 06:14 AM
District: Mission Viejo Vote-by-Mails left: 644 Provisionals left: 2,361 Total left: 3,005 Last updated: November 13, 2012 6:19 PM Still no counting of provisionals. Not much headway on the count either.
Peter Schelden (Editor) November 14, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Great updating, Shri. I'm guessing it will take a long while to verify all of the provisional ballots, which is most of what's left, so we may be in for a bit of a wait for the final tally.
Shripathi Kamath November 15, 2012 at 01:09 AM
And the water torture continues. Latest (November 14, 17:03) CATHY SCHLICHT 15,247 WENDY BUCKNUM 14,977 270 vote difference, pretty much the same as it has been for a few days, and by the looks of it they have not counted many more ballots, perhaps none of the provisionals. Sigh! I feel badly for Ms. Schlicht and Ms. Bucknum. Maybe the provisionals will finally be more decisive. It may come down to how supporters for each vote (does one's supporters do more absentee, was a late GOTV drive by one campaign, etc.) Say Peter, how did I get stuck on the "watch grass grow" detail?
Shripathi Kamath November 22, 2012 at 09:10 AM
Looks like we have a final (does anyone care?) CATHY SCHLICHT 15,892 WENDY BUCKNUM 15,614 The OC vote site no longer indicates provisional ballots (or at least not enough to make the difference) So congratulations to Ms. Schlicht and Mr. Ury for getting re-elected. And good luck to Ms. Buchnam, Mr. Sachs, Mr. Coleman, and Mr. Kiss. It is good that you folks showed interest in representing us, and I hope everyone appreciates the fact that we are lucky to have residents interested in public office. On a personal note, I'd like to spike the football just a little for an informal bet with Dan Avery. I predicted the winners correctly, and even got the order (mostly) right.

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