Advanced Live Election Results

Thursday, February 29, 2024
Please Note: The advanced election results feature is new to The Ballot Book and represents a commitment to providing deeper insights into election data. While every measure has been taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, like any new feature, there may be unexpected bugs or issues. Your understanding and patience are appreciated as this tool is refined. If you encounter any problems or have suggestions for improvement, please feel free to contact

For those involved in local campaigns, the moment that election results are first posted are the most suspenseful of the entire campaign season. Those who are invested quickly take stock of the results and aim to process what exactly they mean. If a candidate is winning, they want to see how secure their lead is; if a candidate is losing, they want to know how many votes they need to catch up, and just how possible it might be to close that gap. 

While the San Diego County Registrar of Voters provides a good snapshot into election results, I felt it would be helpful to add a bit more data in order to provide added context for races. 

Accordingly, The Ballot Book will be hosting advanced election results for the March 5th, 2024 primary election and beyond.

To get a taste of what these results will look like, I've created a sample page, which aims to give a preview of what the live results will look like. 

Click Here to view the preview.

This page recreates how the results would have looked after the 2nd update (2:00am of Election Night) of results from the November 2022 General Election. These are based on what the actual results were; the only difference is that the number of estimated outstanding ballots (500,000) is just a placeholder. While the actual result may have been around this number, I did not have the actual figure archived, so it's just utilized here to demonstrate the feature.

Here is how the results for a given contest look (again, after just the 2nd update):
2022 Governor results

While the Registrar of Voters provides the total number of votes and the % of the vote, we have added some other figures. Vote Gain represents the number of votes a given candidate has received since the prior update. In the above example, you can see that in this particular vote count update, Dahle has gained some ground on Newsom.

In addition, this will also show how many votes behind a given candidate is. In this case, it shows how far the 2nd place candidate is from the first place candidate. In races with multiple candidates, this figure will show how far behind a candidate is from the person directly in front of them. Here is an example:
2022 La Mesa City Council results

In this case, Kathleen Brand wasn't 1,641 votes away from winning the election, but rather that many votes from climbing in front of Tony Orlando. 

The final added figure is "Votes Needed." This will only appear for races with 2 candidates, as doing so with multi-candidate races becomes effectively impossible to calculate. It's calculated by assessing how many additional votes the candidate needs, given the current vote gap, and then determining what percentage of the remaining votes this number represents, ensuring they gain enough to cover the gap and surpass the competitor just ahead.

It's important to note that this is just a ballpark estimate. It makes two assumptions: a) the estimated of the number of outstanding ballots -- a figure the county provides -- is correct, and b) that the outstanding ballots are geographically distributed in a manner consistent with the distribution of overall cast ballots throughout the county. Here is how we calculate that:

  1. We look at the total number of outstanding ballots across the entire county, once the estimated is made available by the Registrar of Voters.
  2. We determine what portion of the total votes counted so far come from the contest in question. For example, if the contest accounts for 10% of all votes counted, we assume it will also account for about 10% of the outstanding ballots.
  3. We apply this percentage to the total outstanding ballots to get an estimated count for the jurisdiction. For instance, if there are 1,000 outstanding ballots in total and the jurisdiction represents 10% of the vote, we estimate that there are about 100 outstanding ballots in that jurisdiction (10% of 1,000).

This is not a perfect approach, but it can at least help give a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation of how feasible it is to close a vote gap. 

These results will be uploaded each time the county updates its own results; while The Ballot Book will not update instantaneously, it's my intent to ensure the results are uploaded as quickly as possible.